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Wind farm idea not sitting well with nearby First Nation

Thursday June 9, 2011
Rick Garrick/Wawatay News
Fort William First Nation Coun. Georjann Morriseau speaks about concerns the community has regarding Horizon Wind Inc.’s proposed Big Thunder Wind Park development plans during a May 30 meeting at the Fort William First Nation Community Centre.

Fort William First Nation community members have given a firm and loud rejection to the Big Thunder Wind Park development plans.

“Look at the crowd – this isn’t over,” said Wyatt Bannon, pointing out the more than 200 people from the community and Thunder Bay who protested Horizon Wind Inc.’s proposed plans to build 16 wind turbines on the community’s traditional lands south-west of Mt. McKay during the company’s May 30 meeting at the Fort William First Nation Community Centre. “I think we sent a clear message to (Horizon). We don’t want them and we are going to stop them.”

Horizon had set up the two-hour meeting to deliver a presentation on their plans, which call for the eventual development of 16 wind turbines to produce 32 MW of clean and renewable energy for more than 9,000 homes. The first phase of the project calls for the construction of eight wind turbines, which would produce 16.5 MW of power.

Community members stood up at the beginning of the meeting and prevented Horizon representatives from delivering their presentation while they brought up a number of their concerns, including possible impacts on Mt. McKay and the community’s reserve lands and traditional lands from blasting, land clearing and construction of the wind turbines as well as the operation of the wind turbines. Mt. McKay is a sacred site that continues to be visited by people from across Turtle Island.

“As the custodians and keepers of this mountain, it is our responsibility to ensure that doesn’t happen and to protect it for everybody who uses it,” said Fort William band councillor Georjann Morriseau. “We do berry picking, naming ceremonies, we offer our offerings to the Thunderbird and the keepers of the water. People come from far and wide to visit that site right there.”

Concerns were also raised about possible damage to the waters of Loch Lomond, a spring-fed lake located behind Mt. McKay near the proposed development. Loch Lomond had been a source of municipal water for the City of Thunder Bay until 2008. Some community members asked if blasting would affect Loch Lomond’s water levels.

“There is a pristine water source up there – Loch Lomond,” Bannon said. “That needs to be protected.”

Possible impacts to moose migration routes in the area were also raised during the meeting.

“Their first stage of the project will cut a path straight in the middle of a moose corridor, where all the moose come from,” he said. “It’s going to devastate the moose hunting.”

Bannon and many of the community members believe the area’s moose populations will suffer if their migration routes are disturbed. Many families in the community rely on moose as a food supply.

“They feed their families, they feed the community with that meat,” said Morriseau. “We need the moose to continue to thrive and continue to produce for our people.”

Although the Horizon representatives left the meeting without providing any immediate comments, comments were e-mailed the next day expressing concerns that community members had been misinformed about the project.

“I was particularly surprised at the response from the community given that Fort William First Nation has been pursuing their own renewable energy projects for some years and is known to be a progressive community,” said Anthony Zwig, CEO and president of Horizon Wind Inc., in the e-mailed comments. “I do however believe that there is a way forward and we want to start by ensuring that people get the opportunity to receive accurate project information. Only then can they truly make their own decisions whether they are in support or against the project.”

Fort William First Nation recently signed an agreement with SkyPower Limited, Canada’s leading developer of solar energy, for development of a 10-megawatt solar park on its lands.

Horizon addressed some of the community’s concerns in the e-mail, noting they have moved turbines three football fields away from Loch Lomond, they have identified moose habitat was four kilometres away from the nearest turbine, and blasting will be designed, checked and approved by a qualified engineer to ensure safety and proper procedure.

The company was also concerned that its project coordinator was denied the opportunity to make a presentation at the meeting explaining the project, its location and its potential impacts.

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To Horizon You can fool

To Horizon
You can fool some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time. Hooray for Wyatt Bannon and his people

I salute the FW First

I salute the FW First Nation!! Horizon's ill suited project would destroy a pristine, environmentally sensitive area, will kill peregrine falcons (Horizon has all ready applied for an endangered species exemption that will allow them to kill, harm or harass endangered species)and kill thousands of birds and bats. Not to mention, it is being built on top of an escarpment directly above 1000 homes and 4000 people without credible bird and noise studies or fire mitigation plans. Horizon actually has applied for a number of project phases with the Ontario Power Authority totalling 79 MW and 40 turbines. The province of Ontario has been operating an electricity surplus for the last 2 and 1/2 years and in the Northwest region, where this project is planned, we are operating at a 60+% surplus!! It is an unneeded, unwanted, highly subsidized, inefficient (14% efficiency according to OPG)source of intermittent electricity. From James Lovelock, an UK environmentalist with over 200 scientific papers published and a leader in the strategy to decrease CO2 emissions: "WERE THESE WIND FARMS TRULY EFFICIENT AND CAPABLE OF RESOLVING OUR POWER NEEDS, I MIGHT BE PERSUADED TO GRIT MY TEETH AND ENDURE THEIR UGLY INTRUSION, BUT IN FACT THEY ARE ALMOST USELESS AS A SOURCE OF ENERGY. IT WOULD TAKE 1,000 SQUARE MILES OF COUNTRYSIDE TO PROVIDE ENOUGH LAND FOR A 1 GIGAWATT WIND-ENERGY SOURCE. THE WIND BLOWS ONLY 25 PER CENT OF THE TIME AT THE RIGHT SPEED (14% acc. to Ont stats) TO GENERATE A USEFUL AMOUNT OF ELECTRICITY; THEREFORE THIS MONSTER WOULD NEED THE BACK-UP OF A NEAR FULL-SIZED FOSSIL-FUEL POWER STATION TO SUPPLY ELECTRICITY WHENEVER THE WIND BLEW TOO MUCH OR TOO LITTLE."
Industrial wind energy is not green; it ruins natural environments and habitats, ruins ridgelines and vistas and for thousands of people (but not for me and my family - we're moving) around the globe who live in the vicinity of them, their lives.

My message was not posted

My message was not posted yesterday. Horizon has actually applied for 79 MW and 40 turbines on this pristine wilderness on the top of a mountain escarpment, adjacent to an ANSI region, near peregrine falcon nesting and hunting habitat, in a large sugar maple forest and on traditional hunting lands. The wind turbines would also be towering over 1000 homes and 4000 people and an elementary school. This windfarm is unneeded as the province of Ontario according to IESO stats has been operating at a 30% surplus in electricity for the last 2 and 1/2 years. Our region, the Northwest, has been operating through this period at a 60%+ surplus in electricity. Wind energy in Ontario, according to OPG stats is operating at a 14% efficiency and is highly subsidized by taxpayers. So we have an unneeded, inefficient, highly subsidized, unwanted, industrial project destined to be built on an environmentally sensitive wilderness with an endangered species present and on traditional hunting lands.
To quote James Lovelock, an environmental scientist from the UK spearheading CO2 reduction in Europe and with over 200 scientific papers to his credit: "Were these wind farms truly efficient and capable of resolving our power needs, I might be persuaded to grit my teeth and endure their ugly intrusion, but in fact they are almost useless as a source of energy. It would take 1,000 square miles of countryside to provide enough land for a 1 gigawatt wind-energy source. The wind blows only 25 per cent of the time at the right speed (14% acc. to Ont stats) to generate a useful quantity of electricity; therefore this monster would need the back-up of a near full-sized fossil-fuel power station to supply electricity whenever the wind blew too much or too little".
Further, Horizon has based its environmental assessment on inept, incomplete and non-credible bird studies, has applied for an endangered species exemption (allowing them to kill, harm and harass peregrine falcons) and has NO fire mitigation plan. There is nothing right about this project. I applaud Fort William First Nation and their resolve.
Dr. Patrick Manduca, Thunder Bay, ON

YOU Really have to give

YOU Really have to give credit;to Mr.Wyatt Bannon his ability to shake things up!

Otherwise;IT IS VERY sad to say, the FWFN "Chief and Council"; with exception of,Council: Leo Bannon Jr. and Council: Leo Bannon Sr,were about, to allow this intrusion, in fact in 2008 to 2011, the Chief and Council, were recieving; incentive payment`s; to host session`s/community voting meeting`s,which had little turn out or advertisement to FWFN people, by FWFN or Horizon Wind,they had only interest in pushing the deal ahead!

THE Documentary WINDFALL;is perfect example of what these "wind energy companies",pay people on the sly to endorse and allow them to place the wind turbine`s chosen,in location`s, and seperate entire communities,by tearing them apart!

"MONEY incentive`s are big factor in such deal`s going ahead,behind people`s back`s!"

THAT,is a factual statement;threw the very dedicated hard work of ,a few people such as Mr.W Bannon,the community are, now aware of the intention of leadership to allow this deal and is coming together ,against environmental endangerment to these sacred area`s!

"The other threat to FWFN watershed",that is priority with respects to Watershed protection, need`s to be addressed with,THE FWFN Chief and Council and that is current toxic mess/illegal dump area Squaw Bay RD.

The" Illegal dump location", has years of dumped toxin`s meerly buried under the ground with no leachate liner to prevent run off of toxin`s into watershed!

This is HIGH priority, to be cleaned ,as it currently is threatening" Lake Superior" watershed.

It was, a great start in December 2011,the hiring of round the clock security, by the Fort William First Nation Leadership.
THEY /FWFN Leadership,have recently made the choice; to discontinued this action of prevention of more damage,as of next week the Squaw Bay Illegal Dump will have; No Security/No prevention of further toxic damages!

The enormous danger ,of this becoming a deposit area again, especially now, with the excess of material`s, from recent flooding in City of Thunder Bay.

As people of ,all races,that all share the need and fate!
" WE Can Not", ignore this risk to yet another watershed area", and just hope that it get`s attention.
It is,as crucial environmental situation,as that faced to the proposed area, for Wind Energy!
It need`s to be addressed immediately!

It is, serious a concern to everyone, since we all share fate of the contamination of water sources, the Canada Government; should be testing and imposing strict regulation`s on First Nation`s,as well as anyone else, that does not comply to environmental standards or take steps to prevent damages of this severe nature!

It is great to see, this up coming Council in running" Wyatt Bannon", will be all over anything environmental with respect`s to FWFN land`s,health and protection!

With the examples of the past,it is hopeful the next election`s,will bring forward, some change within the community, that include the environmental protection`s,which the past and current elected,have chosen to ignore!

This display`s a fresh new hope for this First Nation!

Thank You to people on FWFN ,that are willing to fight for the next generation`s!

Everything depend`s on one another for survival!

This is ,a "WIN" WIN" situation,if we all work together!

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