NOTICE OF OBJECTION TO ZERO EMISSION PEOPLE’S PROPOSED WIND TURBINE COMPLEX KNOWN AS SETTLERS LANDING, PONTYPOOL, ONTARIO
I herby file objection to the proposed construction of the Settlers Landing Wind Project due to concerns relating to information made available to residents of Pontypool at and prior to the second public meeting conducted by Zero Emissions People Inc. Zero Emission People, as they endeavor to complete all requirements of the REA application process, have shown little regard for wildlife habitat and fragile environmental elements during their interpretation, assessment and application of field studies conducted by their field biologists, engineers and planners. This objection will focus on the following improprieties:
a) Disdainful disregard and lack of application of set backs related to significant woodlands.
b) Destruction and clear cutting of significant woodlands to permit turbine construction within the “significant woodlands” with meaningless woodland rehabilitation protocol.
c) Irreparable damage to wildlife habitat if any of the proposed five turbines are permitted to be constructed.
d) No consideration shown for the number of species of breeding birds on the SPECIES AT RISK LIST IN ONTARIO (SARO LIST) which would be displaced by the proposed removal of many forms of habitat through turbine construction.
e) Little concern for the conservation of the large number of breeding birds which return each season to the unique habitat of hills, woodlands, hedgerows and grassland found in the proposed project area.
f) Little action evident in regards to the significance of the spirit of the Oak Ridges Moraine legislation and how it should impact the industrial development proposed in Pontypool by Zero Emissions People.
g) No regard shown for the position taken by the residents of Pontypool concerning the industrial development proposed by Zero Emissions People.
h) No respect shown for the objectives and requirements of the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act proposed and passed by the representatives of the people of Ontario.
In discussing the above improprieties references will be made to: The Natural Impact Study Report conducted by Zero Emissions People, The Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan, The Species at Risk List (MNR On.), A study of the immediate habitat ,(which Zero Emissions proposes to use for an industrial turbine facility), by Field Ornithologists of Ontario, The 5 year Ontario Bird Atlas study of the Settlers Landing locale, Approval and Permitting Requirements Document for Renewable Energy Projects, and Green Energy and Green Economy Act
Lack Of Application Of Required Set Backs For Significant Woodlands
Turbine Location, T5 ;
The proposed location of Turbine T5 is within the Eastern center of woodland wo11. (refer to figure 3-2 Natural Heritage Features Evaluated For Significance Map). At the onset of the application process for Settlers Landing in 2009 and for public evaluation of the project, a set back of 120 meters from any “Significant Woodland” was required by the REA process. The term “Significant Woodland” regarding woodland 11 had been questioned by M. Ince and Associates in the early stages of the application process, but it has been found to qualify as significant under two sets of criteria ; (a) under the ORMCP Technical Report and (b) under the Natural Heritage Assessment Guide. An additional assessment as a Significant Woodland was made by MNR itself during the construction of the Oak Ridges Moraine Legislation. At that time a mapping of all woodlands determined to be significant was given to the City of Kawartha Lakes Engineer by the Ministry Of Natural Resources of Ontario. Woodland 2011 is found on that map. (refer to map-The City Of Kawartha Lakes Oak Ridges Moraine Policy Area SPA-7 Schedule 6 Significant Woodlands).
Therefore, woodland 11 (wo11) may subsequently be determined to be a significant woodland. Being a significant woodland requires that a turbine installation be at least 120 meters from the woodland. Zero Emissions People not only have requested that the REA process approve an incursion into the 120 meter set back zone ,but have requested that the turbine location be approved in the heart of the Eastern portion woodland 11.
This mature woodland consists of Sugar Maple, White Birch, American Elm, Red Oak, Black Cherry, Bass Wood, White Ash, Red Trillium, Red Raspberry, White Spruce, Colorado Blue Spruce, Scotch Pine, Red Pine and other varieties. It is a diverse woodland. It is also a woodland habitat for many species of birds during breeding season. Species of birds will be reviewed in a later discussion regarding habitat to be removed.
Zero Emissions People propose to clear the forest land for a 330 foot (100 meter) diameter circle around turbine #5 and turbine #3. This will be a complete removal of all vegetation plus clearing for roadways, connection cable and “lay down” areas. The total area which Zero Emissions would like to clear is 17564 square meters or 18 percent of the woodland. The REA process and set back requirements require that turbines #3 and #5 be at least 120 meters away from this woodland, NOT within the woodland! The subsequent clearing of this significant woodland cannot be permitted to take place! This is an Oak Ridges Moraine Woodland and it is to be PROTECTED by set back restrictions!
Zero Emissions People have proposed to compensate for the clearing of this forest by planting seedlings (1000 stems per ha) in 2.7 ha of open agricultural space. And have conceded to monitor the growth for the first two years. Some of the trees in woodland 2011 are over 90 years in age and seedling rehabilitation must not be accepted as mitigation which is considered reparation for irreparable damage to this habitat. In the Woodland Rehabilitation Protocol ZEP (Zero Emissions People) have also stated that if it is not possible to rehabilitate the impacted property (that forest which has been cleared for the turbine) then they will plant seedlings in another part of the township. This new plantation will be added to a woodland which is 40 ha or greater. THE PROPOSED CLEARING OF THE WOODLAND WOULD CAUSE IRREPARABLE AND PERMANENT DAMAGE TO THIS SIGNIFICANT WOODLAND AND THE HABITAT IT PROVIDES.
No amount of mixed Coniferous/Deciduous seedling planting will compensate for the removal of a large portion of this mature woodland habitat. No form of turbine construction can be allowed to take place within the significant woodlands. Also no turbine construction can be permitted to take place within the 120 meter set back approved for significant woodlands. The ONLY rationale which ZEP can provide for supporting turbine construction within the woodlands or 120 meter set back is that they cannot locate five turbines on the leased area unless they break these set back rules established by the province as a requirement in the REA process. The receptor radii and 120 m set backs from significant woodlands provide no location available for turbine locations. It then stands to reason that if ZEP is unable to position enough turbines on this location to produce a profitable return, then the company must look elsewhere for a suitable location. The problem associated with turbine placement and the area available on this property was evident in 2009 at the onset of the REA process when receptor overlays were applied to mapping showing woodlands and their required 120 meter set back as they existed when studies were initiated. If one refers to the map entitled “Settlers Landing Wind Park Draft Site Plan Map 2of 2” it is also apparent that turbines numbered T2, T1 alt, and T4 are all also encroaching on the 120 meter set back required by a significant woodland.
Zero Emission People must be required to search for property which will enable them to plan a turbine project which will permit placement of turbines as required by the REA process and by the legislation passed by the province and the people of Ontario.
Please refer to the map produced by M.K Ince of Zero Emissions People, “Settlers Landing Wind Park Draft Site Plan 2 of 2, for turbine placement proposals, significant woodlands and receptors. (UTM coordinates of turbines placements seem to be quite inaccurate but general the location on maps are close to accurate.)
Please refer to Schedule 6 Significant Woodlands “The City of Kawartha Lakes Oak Ridges Moraine Policy Area SPA-7” for MNR designation of significant woodlands.
Please refer to” DRAFT Natural Heritage Site Investigation Report- “Settlers Landing Wind Park” – Site Investigation Natural Heritage Features for referencing location of Woodland 11 ( W011) and Woodland 10 (W010).
Please refer to “DRAFT Natural Heritage Site Investigation Report- Settlers Landing Wind Park – Ecological Land Classifications Map 4 of 4” for referencing woodlands, 120 meter set backs, and turbine placements with photo imaging of area.
Please refer to “DRAFT Evaluation of Significance Report- Settlers Landing Wind Park- Evaluation of Significance – Map 2 Of 2 “ for referencing of location of significant habitats, woodlands , set backs, and infrastructure of project.
Please refer to titled images showing significant woodland areas proposed to be cleared for Turbine #3 and Turbine #5.
Woodland # 11 (Area Proposed To Be Cleared For Turbine #3)
Location Of Proposed Turbine #3 In Woodland 11. 100 Meter Diameter Clearing Of Woodland Would Be Required To Provide For Foundation Location
Portion of Interior Of Woodland 11 Near Proposed Turbine #3 . 100 Meter Diameter Clearing For Turbine Proposed
Woodland 11. (mature deciduous forest at back of grassland) Location Shown For Proposed Turbine #5. 100 Meter Diameter Of Woodland To Be Cleared For Turbine
Portion Of Mixed Deciduous/Coniferous Woodland Near Proposed Area To Undergo 100 Meter Clearing For Turbine #5
Clearing Of Woodlands To Permit Construction Of Turbines Within The Woodland And Mitigation Action Proposed To Permit Contravention Of Required Respect of Significant Woodlands
The clearing of the ground area surrounding the foundation sites for Turbine#3 and Turbine #5 will result in nearly 20% of the woodland’s forest cover removal. This removal of forest with the placement of two turbines within the two significant woodlands creates a situation where no mitigation measure can compensate for the removal of forest and habitat. The area around the turbine must be kept clear as is required of the access roads and distribution cable locations. If there was to be a temporary removal of grassland or an area of sapling growth one may argue that if it was not a habitat for wildlife, then replanting may, over time, result in a mitigation measure which may reconstruct the habitat over decades. The applied for action is forest removal with construction of an industrial facility within the woodland. No replanting on that site is possible. Neither should it ever need to be since ,according to the REA restrictions, the significant forest is not to be constructed within, nor construction of a turbine permitted within 120 meters.
ZEP has suggested several mitigation procedures in their “Woodland Rehabilitation Protocol” (please refer to ZEP Rehabilitation Protocol in DRAFT Natural Heritage Environmental Impact Study Report). ZEP has stated that ideally woodland regeneration will take place on the impacted property, with a location adjacent to woodland WO11 strongly preferred. They have also stated that if this is not possible that the regeneration will take place within the same Township. A location immediately adjacent to the woodland is less than likely since it will remove grassland which is now a significant habitat to grassland breeding birds such as the Grasshopper Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Bobolink (SARO LIST), Meadow Lark (SARO List), Clay Colored Sparrow, and Vesper Sparrow. Another alternative is not likely either since it will remove 2.6 Hectares of valuable cropland of one of the two farmer/owners.
The mitigation measures which ZEP has suggested are
1) Native saplings will be planted in the same ratio as they are found in the woodland
2) They will monitor the growth for the firs two years with monthly visits and photographs taken during each visit.
3) For the next ten years, they will visit between April and June. However, if OMNR is satisfied that regeneration efforts are sufficient then the monitoring will end.
4) ZEP will compare the growth of the saplings to the diversity of those present in the woodland and send a report to OMNR.
This mitigation plan may sound impressive at first glance but it is really meaningless since:
1) The clearing of the woodland and its habitat can never be mitigated since one is unable to replant within the destroyed woodland subsequently creating a total loss of this woodland and habitat.
2) The proposed replanting of the woodland in another location would require a minimum of 90 years to recreate the soil structure /type, maturity of the trees and ground level vegetation.
3) The mitigation action proposed would create a tree farm/plantation situation for many decades and would not recreate the habitat it now offers. The REA process, when evaluating woodlands for significance, does not consider tree plantations as significant! In this case of proposed mitigation the woodland is removed permanently. The damage to the woodland, habitat and wildlife which was living within the confines of the woodland habitat of W011 is irreparable. It is permanent and must not be permitted.
It must also be noted that ZEP, on page 28 of the Heritage Impact Study Report (included in this paper) that they propose to replant next to woodland #10 and not next to woodland #11. We were told, at the second public meeting, that this was a mistake in the Heritage Report and that the replanting would take place next to woodland #11. Their “mistake” may still be found on their web site and is only one of many confusing issues and missing studies presented in their public information meetings.
The replanting of agricultural land with deciduous/coniferous saplings must NOT be accepted as a mitigation action which would compensate for the blatant transgression of the legislation as set out in the REA process by the Province of Ontario. The wind proponents are not to be permitted to build industrial turbines within the set back as established in the REA process. This company has proposed not only to build within the set backs but to build within the significant woodlands! There is no mitigation action which will compensate for this other than the refusal of the government to permit such deforestation within the Oak Ridges Moraine.
What is very disturbing to the citizens of the Pontypool area is that we were told by the “ZEP environmental information contact”, at several public meetings held by ZEP, that “The MNR has already signed off on it.” It being the clearing of woodland #11 .!!!!!
Woodland #11 has been determined as a “significant woodland”. All industrial wind turbine construction must remain outside the established set backs for significant woodlands. No mitigation proposals need be considered since no construction will take place within any significant woodland. Once again it must be noted that the only reason for Zero Emissions People to propose mitigation for removal of a significant woodland is that without construction of two industrial winds turbines within the significant woodlands, no wind turbine project containing four or five turbines is possible at Settlers Landing. If Zero Emissions People have concluded that there is no practical profit to be earned with less than five turbines (set backs prevent this number), then the project should be dissolved and a location discovered where urban development and significant Natural Heritage Features do not present obstacles to construction.
Construction the Settlers Landing Wind Turbine Project Will Cause Irreparable Damage To Existing Wildlife Habitat
I wish to preface this portion of the objection presentation by stating that there appears to have been a less than complete examination of the Settlers Landing site for significant wildlife habitat included within the project boundaries. Six visits were conducted in the southern area by biologists during the bird breeding season. Most of the visits were too late in the day to find and note the breeding birds on site. Keep in mind the fact that the six visits were shared between two locations. The North location between Waite Road and Ballyduff Road, which was later removed from the study area, and the Southern site between Drum Road and Telecom Road. It would seem, from the biologists field notes, that the majority of the time was spent in the location which was later removed from the project. When one wishes to survey the species of birds breeding in a location it is necessary to arrive just after first light in the morning and continue until mid to late morning, at which time the singing males on territory go silent (whip-poor-will and woodcock excepted) . Identification and location of birds by song is mandatory when conducting a breeding bird census. Females of breeding species of birds will be silent on nest. Later in the breeding season both sexes may be quietly finding food and secretively returning to their young with it. Since birds which have been placed on the SARO List (Species At Risk List/Ontario) were to be surveyed, it was imperative that the biologists were on site within the times of day which would permit them to observe the breeding species on site. They were not present on site during required times for an efficient survey of bird breeding population, subsequently most breeding birds in significant habitat were not seen, let alone heard. Please find below the dates, time and duration of visits to the Settlers Landing sites conducted by M.K Ince and Associates Ltd.
2011/05/26 12:30-7:30 p.m. 7 hours – all hours too late in the day
2011/06/13 6:00-9:00 p.m. 3 hours- too late for survey of most
Birds and too early for Whip-poor-will
2011/06/14 11:20-8:40 p.m. 9 hours – too late in day
2011/06/15 10:00-8:45 p.m. 10 hrs 45 min- too late in day
2011/06/16 10:00-1:30 p.m. 3hrs 30 min -too late in day.
2010/06/11 1:40-3:10 p.m. 2hrs 30 min- too late in day.
From the content of the field notes it appears that only three of the visits during breeding season noted above were conducted at the current Settlers Landing proposed site. The only birds mentioned were Red Shouldered Hawk, Kestrel, Night Hawk (SARO List), Goshawk and Bobolink (SARO List).
The portion of the Oak Ridges Moraine, near Pontypool, provides a special habitat to wildlife not found in many other areas of the Moraine. Due to the very sandy and rocky soils of glacial origin and due to poor initial patterns of tilling and cultivation, much of the topsoil was eroded. Subsequently agriculture in this area became more concentrated upon grazing livestock. Most of the hilly moraine was reclaimed by woodlands and old pasture or cropland evolved into rangeland. Much of the Settlers Landing area had not been row cropped for over 16 years until 2012. It was and much of it still is grassland habitat for many species of birds.
The Settlers Landing site has been a location that has been monitored for breeding bird populations for 16 years. Members of the Ontario Field Ornithologists have surveyed this site during the Bird Atlas of 2000 and on many other occasions. An Ontario Field Ornithologist resides on property which is part of the Settlers Landing site and (with other Ontario Field Ornithologists) submits these results of years of study on the site. Woodland #11.woodland #10, the significant woodlands in the NW corner of the Payne farm ( location of 3 turbine sites), and the contained grasslands are home to 90 species of birds during the breeding season .
8 of these birds are on the SARO List – Ontario Species At Risk List. Zero Emissions People have only noted two species on the SARO list —- inadequate surveying by any standard. Some finding regarding breeding species in the area are listed below.
-The location has become home to at least one breeding pair of red bellied woodpeckers which is a species of bird slowly expanding its range from the U.S. into Canada over the last 30 years.
-Red Headed Woodpeckers which are on the species at risk list have been located on the site during the five year 2000 Bird Atlas and intermittently again to present date.
-One of only a few Saw Whet Owl nests which have been able to be photographed in Ontario was located on property bordering the Settlers Landing site.
-Whip-poor-wills have been heard at night in woodland #11. They are on the species at risk list.
-7 species of woodpeckers nest in these woodland, an unusually high number of species for any one woodland area.
-Eastern Meadowlarks and Bobolinks nest in the grasslands of the site.
-Hooded Warblers(Species at Risk List) have been found during breeding season on the site.(2001,08,010) Most recently a male on territory June 9, 2014)
-Golden Winged Warbler (SARO List) singing on territory June 7 2014 in an area which would be located less than a blade length of proposed turbine #2. Brewsters Warblers nest found in this location in June of 2011.
-All three of the accipiter hawks present in Ontario have been found breeding on the site over the last 16 years. The Goshawk, Sharp Shinned Hawk and Coopers Hawk.
-A large breeding population of the reintroduced Wild Turkey nests on the site with up to 200 of these birds finding winter roosting sites in the Western portion of woodland #11. This location is the exact location of the proposed forest removal for the installation of Turbine #3.
-Several pair of Clay Colored Sparrows nest in a location between proposed turbine locations #5 and alt #1. The Clay Colored Sparrow is an uncommon sparrow found mainly in the Moraine of Southern Ontario.
-Upland Sandpipers, a declining species, is found breeding in some of the farmland bordering the site and at times on site.
-Osprey have been nesting on a tower platform on the Settlers Landing site for at least 4 years. This bird was also “missed” by the field biologists employed by Zero Emissions People.
-A large population of Pileated Woodpeckers nest yearly in the woodlands of the site and surrounding woodlands.
*** Three other species of birds which are going to be reviewed for placement on the SARO list are found in abundance in the habitat located on the lands within the site. Wood Pewee and Grasshopper Sparrow. A third candidate for the list, the Wood Thrush, also is present in the woodlands on the NW of the Settlers Landing site.
The Following is a list of bird species found within the Settlers Landing site during breeding season.
Turkey Vulture Wood Duck
Osprey Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk Copper’s Hawk
Northern Goshawk Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel Ruffed Grouse
Wild turkey Killdeer
Upland Sandpiper American Woodcock
Rock Dove Mourning Dove
Black-billed Cuckoo Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Eastern Screech Owl Northern Saw-whet Owl
Common Nighthawk ** Whip-poor-will **
Ruby-throated Hummingbird Red-headed Woodpecker **
Red-bellied Woodpecker Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downey Woodpecker Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker Pileated woodpecker
Eastern Wood Pewee Least Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo Blue Jay
American Crow Common Raven
Horned Lark Tree Swallow
Cliff Swallow Barn Swallow **
Black-capped Chickadee Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch Brown Creeper
House Wren Eastern Bluebird
Veery Wood Thrush
American Robin Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird Brown Thrasher
European Starling Cedar Waxwing
Blue-winged Warbler Golden-winged Warbler**
Brewster’s Warbler Chestnut-sided Warbler
Magnolia Warbler Black-throated Blue Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler Pine Warbler
Ovenbird Mourning Warbler
Hooded Warbler ** Scarlet Tanager
Eastern Towhee Chipping Sparrow
Clay-colored Sparrow Field Sparrow
Vesper Sparrow Savannah Sparrow
Grasshopper Sparrow Song Sparrow
Rose-breasted Grosbeak Indigo Bunting
Bobolink Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark ** Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird Baltimore Oriole
Purple Finch House Finch
American Goldfinch House Finch
** Denotes bird on Species at Risk List- Ontario
Zero Emissions People propose to remove, permanently, the habitat within which many of these birds breed by removing much of significant woodland #11. No mitigation action will replace the habitat for these bird species. These birds will be removed from the breeding cycle as they are territorial and this action will turn the adults into non-breeding adults. Much of the grassland area within which the species of grassland birds breed will also be removed for lay-down areas, access roads and underground cabling. One may argue that some of the habitat will still be available for some of the species to breed but this is not possible since the introduction of two 500 foot spinning towers into significant woodland #11 creates a disturbance which will prevent most species from using the woodlands as habitat. Habitat is not only removed through physical removal but it can be and will be removed through introduction of new elements to the woodland and grassland such as the two 500 foot industrial turbines. This destruction of this habitat must not occur since it would be permanent and unreparable.
Osprey nest located on Settlers Landing site:
An Osprey nest has been constructed on a service platform on the West communication tower located at the North end of the Settlers Landing site. This nest has been used for four years and young have been raised successfully at this nest site. The MNR has instructed , through the Forest Management Guide For the Protection of Osprey Nests, that there are certain restrictions to activities within certain set backs when a nest of the osprey is discovered.
– The area around the nest will be protected by designating it as an area of concern.(2.2)
-There is a 150m reserve and a 150-300m zone of modified operations. (2.2)
-Harvest operations (tree removal i.e. clearing for turbines, or roadways etc.) are to stop. (2.2.1)
-0-150 m in all direction= No harvest, renewal or tending operations. No pedestrian activities (with exception of monitoring and research) during critical breeding period.
-No new roads are to be constructed within: 0-150m around primary nests; (2.3)
The critical breeding period of Osprey in Ontario is April 1- August 15 in Southern Ontario, as described by MNR.
These restrictions need to be considered and all requirements regarding activity within the 300m zone must comply with MNR restrictions.
*** This nest was quietly removed by somebody in October of 2013.
**** When the birds returned in 2014 to rebuild, the nest was destroyed again!
The habitat proposed to be destroyed, within the Settlers Landing site, is also home to many species of mammals. Mammals which have been observed within the boundaries of the site include: White Tailed Deer, Eastern Coyote, Red Fox, Black Squirrel, Gray Squirrel, Red Squirrel, Chipmunk, Black Bear, Fisher, Ermine, porcupine, skunk, Eastern Mole, Vole, possible gray wolf during some winters. Some of these mammals require large tracts of forest and rangeland. Settlers Landing proposals would destroy large areas of habitat required by many of these mammals.
Bat Maternity Colonies Within Settlers Landing ??
M.K. Ince and Associates have stated that they will conduct bat studies in June of 2013. The studies have not been completed, subsequently residents of Pontypool and the proposed Settlers Landing Wind Turbine Project area have not been able to review and make comment related to the study results and study procedure. The application of Zero Emissions People should not be accepted for evaluation until such studies are completed. It seems quite clear that the REA process requires that all studies must be made available to the public prior to the second public meeting. This has not been done. The studies, in fact, are more than three months away. I would ask that if the application for construction of the Settlers Landing Wind Turbine Project has been delivered to the province by Zero Emissions People for evaluation that it be returned to ZEP until it is complete and until they have held a meeting to present the findings of several of their studies which have not as yet been completed.
Settlers Landing Proposed Wind Turbine Project Is Located Within An Area Of High Aquifer Vulnerability
Much of the Eastern portion of the proposed industrial turbine project area is located within an area of high aquifer vulnerability as determined by MNR during the mapping prepared for the Oak Ridges Moraine Legislation (see SPA-7 Schedule 8 Aquifer Vulnerability) . Zero Emissions People conceded at their second public meeting that they had not dug test holes for soil and water level tests etc. until the week prior to the second meeting. The result of this test was not available to the public prior to the second meeting nor was the result available at the meeting. The results of such tests will contain critical information needed to prepare proposed engineering strategy which must be presented to the residents of Pontypool at a public meeting for consideration and for comment. Of much significance is the fact that water seepage to the ground level, on lands directly to the South of proposed turbine site # 2, is located within 120 meters of proposed site construction. This seepage is located upon an area designated as “High Aquifer Vulnerability”. Excavation and design for turbine foundations in this area will be affected. There appears to have been no comment made by ZEP regarding this situation. A second concern is the pond located just west of proposed turbine location #4. The pond, on property of a non-participant, supports a variety of aquatic life and is a source of water for mammals and avifauna. This pond also appears to be fed by the seepage of water to near ground level in the area. I request that a review of the placement of turbines #5, #4 and T alt. 1 be conducted since their construction will affect the integrity of the aquifer in this location.
THE SETTLERS LANDING INDUSTRIAL WIND TURBINE PROPOSAL AND ITS COMPATABILITY WITH THE SPIRIT AND PHILOSOPHY OF THE OAK RIDGES MORAINE LEGISLATION.
The Ontario Government’s vision for the Oak Ridges Moraine is that of “a continuous band of green rolling hills that provides form and structure to south-central Ontario, while protecting the ecological and hydrological features and functions that support the HEALTH AND WELL BEING OF THE REGION’S RESIDENTS AND ECOSYSTEMS”. (Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan, page 3 “The Vision For The Oak Ridges Moraine”) The Conservation Act goes on to list nine objectives on page four, at least four of which seem to be in contradiction with the Settlers Landing wind turbine development.
A) protecting the ecological and hydrological integrity of the Oak Ridges Moraine.
B) ensuring that only land and resource uses that maintain, improve or restore the ecological and hydrological functions of the Oak Ridges Moraine Area are permitted.
C) maintaining, improving or restoring all the elements that contribute to the ecological and hydrological functions of the Oak Ridges Moraine Area, including the quality of its water and its other resources.
D) ensuring that the Oak Ridges Moraine Area is maintained as a continuous natural landform and environment for the benefit of present and future generations.
The legislation goes on to state on page 5 that, “Development near these key natural heritage features and hydrologically sensitive features is only allowed if it will not adversely affect these features” ( page 5, Protecting Moraine Integrity). The natural heritage features which the legislation refers to includes SIGNIFICANT WOODLANDS among many other features. The set backs of the legislation are not the critical subject here but the statement – “is only allowed if it will not adversely affect these features.” – is of the highest priority. It is quite obvious that the construction of wind turbines within the significant woodlands WILL ADVERSLEY AFFECT THE FEATURE—SIGNIFICANT WOODLANDS. It is understandable that the set back for significant woodlands (120 meters), was intended to protect vegetation which collectively formed a significant woodland.
The set back was established to protect root systems and tree structure from damage caused by constructing access roads, possible turbine failure, leaching of contaminants into soil of woodlands etc. The point in question, regarding the Settlers Landing proposed wind turbine installation (T3 and T5), is not whether a turbine placement 120 meters or more from the significant woodlands will harm the woodlands found on the site but whether or not installation of the turbine within the significant woodlands will adversely affect significant woodlands. It is quite evident that the significant woodlands will be adversely affected since ZEP is proposing to destroy all woodland vegetation for 100 meters surrounding each turbine placement! The Oak Ridges Moraine Legislation does not permit this nor does the REA and Green Energy Act permit this. The Settlers Landing wind turbine project must be rejected based upon this blatant disregard for the Oak Ridges Moraine Legislation as well as for the disregard shown for the spirit of the Green Energy Act as it intended to protect significant aspects of the Oak Ridges Moraine Legislation – the Significant Woodlands of the Moraine being one of those protected natural features.
The Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act also requires the action of, as stated in objectives of the Act on page 4 (item A on page 20 of this paper) , “protecting the ecological and hydrological integrity of the Oak Ridges Moraine”. Certainly the clearing of forests for roads, turbine pads, connecting cabling and transfer stations does not protect the ecological integrity of the Oak Ridges Moraine. Again, this is not a question of set backs adhered to but a transgression of the Oak Ridges Moraine Act and its objectives. The removal of grassland and forest habitat of 100 species of avifauna, many reptiles, mammals and other wildlife does not protect the ecological integrity of the Moraine! But this is what is proposed by ZEP. The Approvals Committee must not reach any consensus other than a complete refusal of this turbine installation proposal since it promotes such a disdainful regard for the ecology of the Moraine!
Item B on page 20 of this paper quotes the objective found on page 4 of The Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act which states, “ensuring that only land and resource uses that maintain, improve or restore the ecological and hydrological functions of the moraine are permitted. Zero Emissions People intend to clear Significant Woodlands, grade and pave with aggregate surface access roads, clear the grassland vegetation and habitat for lay-down areas and cabling, and excavate into areas which are designated as areas of High Aquifer Vulnerability. These activities, if permitted to take place within the site area of Settlers Landing, will not advance the objective/requirement as stated. The activities proposed will destroy the ecological and hydrological functions and no mitigation proposals will suffice. The proposed activities are a contravention of the objective as stated. Approval would demonstrate a willful disregard for the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act which was prepared and passed into law by the people of Ontario. This objective of the act is very clear! Only land use which improves, restores ( to status of decades past to a natural state) the ecological and hydrological functions are to be permitted.
Item C on page 22 of this paper ( objective (c) of page 4, Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act) again states that “maintaining, improving or restoring all the elements that contribute to the ecological and hydrological functions of the Oak Ridges Moraine Area, including the quality and quantity of its water an its other resources. Constructing access roads through Significant Woodlands, and grassland habitat does not fulfill this objective. Clearing large areas of a Significant Woodland for two turbine placements does not fulfill this objective. Removing the habitat for 101 species of birds does not fulfill this objective. Removing breeding habitat for 7 species of birds listed on the SARO (species at risk list/ On.) does not fulfill this objective. Excavating for turbine foundations within an area of High Aquifer Vulnerability does not fulfill this objective. Excavating for turbine foundations within 120 meters of water seepage and pond areas does not fulfill this objective. Every construction proposal within the proposed Settlers Landing wind turbine project site involves activity which contravenes objective “C” of The Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act.
Objective D of page 22 of this paper (objective (d) of page 4, Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act) requires the following action , “ensuring that the Oak Ridges Moraine Area is maintained as a continuous natural landform and environment for the benefit of present and future generations”. It is very evident that the aforementioned activities of Significant Woodland removal, removal of many forms of wildlife habitat, compromising of the aquifer, and breaking of the continuity of the moraine by access roads and 500 foot steel industrial buildings does not bring to fruition this objective. It ,in fact, produces the opposite outcome of that which was intended by objective “D”. The benefit of a “continuous natural landform and its environment” is removed from present and future generations. Not many areas of the Oak Ridges Moraine offer the amount of woodland and rangeland as is found in the Pontypool.
Much of the land in, Pontypool, which was dedicated to agriculture in the 19th century was found to be of grades too steep and soils to sandy for successful production. Thus much of the land surface of the Pontypool area of the moraine was reforested during the planting of the Agreement Forests and subsequent programs based upon the research by Drury and Zavitz. These 100 year old reforests and natural areas which provide forest land habitats must be protected as the objectives of the Oak Ridges Moraine require. ZEP proposes clearing areas of these forests for turbine placements.
In summary, the spirit and philosophy of the Oak Ridges Moraine Legislation cannot be carried forward if the Government of Ontario permits the rape of the Oak Ridges Moraine by five hundred foot wind turbine installations. Wind turbine “farms” and the Oak Ridges Moraine Objectives cannot coexist. More suitable locations for these unproven energy production mechanisms must be located , away from fragile ecosystems which have been protected by the representatives of the people of Ontario.
In conclusion, it must be stated that in the case of the proposed Settlers Landing Wind “Park” the results of even a cursory evaluation of the benefits and disadvantages of this proposal are quite obvious. The negligible contribution of the installation to an already annual Ontario energy surplus does not warrant the destruction of the ecosystems suggested by ZERO EMISSIONS PEOPLE. The proposed removal of the habitat of over one hundred breeding species of birds is not warranted. The proposed removal of large areas of “significant woodland” is not warranted. The proposed removal of the habitat of 7 species of birds found on the SPECIES AT RISK LIST- ONTARIO is not warranted. The threat to a fragile aquifer of High Aquifer Vulnerability is not warranted. The blatant disregard for every set back requirement within the Green Energy Act relating to ecology is not warranted. The removal of forest surrounding a bat breeding ground is not warranted. The incursion into a protected active Osprey nest zone is not warranted. A proposal which cannot co-exist with the spirit and objectives of the Oak Ridges Moraine Legislation must not be permitted to become a reality. Any form of ecological prioritization, regarding the Settlers Landing proposal, will cause the scales to be heavily weighted on the side of ecological concerns and not that of inefficient energy production.
The sentiments of the people of the Pontypool/Bethany area are quite obvious. At every public meeting held by WPD and ZEP there has been an overwhelming expression of anger regarding the wind turbine proposals. During the last Public meeting held by ZEP, two informal polls were taken spontaneously and of the hundreds of people standing with arms raised to cast their vote not one was in favor of the wind turbine installation proposals. This has been the case for three years of public meetings. The only residents in favor of the installations of wind turbines seem to be those who have signed on with the turbine companies and they have not attended any meetings. The residents of this area are concerned that the negative health effects experienced by the people of Southwestern Ontario and Europe will also be experienced by them if turbine “parks” are permitted to surround their community. Two community schools will be surrounded, North and South, if the wind company applications are approved by the Province of Ontario and the residents are subsequently concerned about the health of children attending these schools. Residents are concerned about property values which are often the retirement “nest egg” for middle income residents. Property values have already seemed to decline as realtors are required to disclose that listed homes are within study areas of various turbine companies. The people of the City of Kawartha Lakes have also spoken as the city has stated that it is not receptive to the construction of the proposed wind turbine sites surrounding the Pontypool/Bethany area. The proposed wind turbine sites are not located within lands which are sparsely settled. These proposed turbine sites are located close to the thickly settled village of Pontypool and in the midst of many residences which have been constructed on one or two acre lots subdivided from original 100 acre plus lots. Consequently this provides for a much more densely settled area surrounding these sites than would be found in Southwestern Ontario where wind turbines have been constructed on large farms where participants and neighboring residences may be separated by much greater distances. Many residences, in Pontypool and Bethany, would now become receptors for turbine noise, turbine flicker and property devaluation whereas the motivation for residence within these homes was enjoyment of rural qualities of life provided within the Oak Ridges Moraine.
I respectfully request that the Province of Ontario find in its assessment of the application of Zero Emissions People for construction of the Settlers Landing site that is not suitable for reasons as presented here and that the proposal re refused.
Osprey Nest Location Within Settlers Landing Proposed Wind Park