The question is posed: who do residents and landowners contact for redress of inconvenience and lost income?
I’ve been following the newspaper articles about the legal challenge to the K2 Wind project in Ashifield-Colborne-Wawanosh Township (ACW) and the costs awarded against the families that brought the challenge. The wind companies requested $340,000 in costs. They were awarded $67,000. The three judges who awarded this cost settlement also stated that there is a serious public interest component to this case. This (case) got me thinking about the situation here in ACW and how much the K2 Wind project has disrupted the residents’ lives and businesses (the public interest) for the past year and a half and how much it will impact people in the future.
It seems to me that when the province approves these wind projects it gives no consideration for how the residents and businesses are affected. I have been farming in ACW my entire life. As a farmer operating a large-scale operation, my time is just as valuable as that of the wind company. When I have to deal with delays and interruptions, it impacts my productivity and affects my operation/business.
The arrival of K2 Wind into the Township has had an ongoing impact on my productivity as a farmer. Roads blocked for construction have prevented access to fields and held my workers and me up on an ongoing basis. This plays havoc with schedules and pushes back important things like planting dates which affect crop yields.
Then there is the time lost when I have had to deal with situations where K2 Wind and its contractors have disregarded private property rights by trespassing, breach of bio-security measures, use of toxic cement dust on laneways, blowing/pushing snow and sand onto private land, and disregarding/damaging our private infrastructure like drainage and lanes.
If K2 Wind had followed through on the initial assurances that there would be minimal disruption to the farmers and residents, that would be one thing. But they certainly have not followed through on those empty promises. Some might argue that it is no different from the Township doing roadwork but it is. A government body that disrupts your life for roadwork, for example, is acting for the public good. Rebuilding or fixing a road benefits everyone. The wind companies are private companies acting for their own profit. When they disrupt people’s lives, shouldn’t they be obligated to compensate for that disruption?
I know I am not the only one whose business and daily life has been impacted by a wind project. Apparently the wind companies feel that it is just fine for them to disrupt people’s lives and businesses without any compensation. Are the residents of Ontario not entitled to our rights or do we live in a province with a double standard where wind companies have preferential rights?
So, I pose the question—who do residents and landowners contact for the disruption and inconvenience in their lives and businesses? Isn’t it about time that the government and the wind companies provided us with an answer and established a procedure for that? I challenge the wind companies (and the government agencies that are getting a copy of this letter) to respond by May 15. (Note to the wind companies: a threatening lawyer’s letter trying to muzzle my voice does not constitute a response to legitimate questions.)
George Alton, Kenruth Farms Ltd., Lucknow, Ontario