End run?

Posted: April 7, 2017 at 9:14 am   /   by   /   comments (4)

Barge accident reveals that Picton Bay serving as supply route for IWT project on Amherst Island

Is the developer of an industrial wind turbine project doing indirectly what it isn’t permitted to do directly? That is one of the many questions being asked in the wake of a barge sinking in Picton Bay. The barge was being used by contractors to move aggregate—gravel and other material—to Amherst Island. Even as that barge lay submerged at Picton Terminals—another barge remained busy ferrying trucks and equipment back and forth between Picton and Amherst Island until Transport Canada halted traffic in and out of the facility last week.

The developer, Algonquin/Windlectric doesn’t yet have the necessary approvals to build a dock on the mainland as it awaits a zoning change.

Perhaps most troubling is that the developer only produced its Marine Logistics Plan five days after one of the barges facilitating the transport of gravel and material to Amherst Island partially sank releasing fuel into the shallow bay—resulting in the shutdown of the water supply for Picton and Bloomfield.

As of last Thursday, the County’s Engineering, Development and Works commissioner Robert McAuley had not seen a Marine Logistics Plan.

“I want to see if the [Picton Terminals] docks were identified as the source of the barging,” said McAuley. “And what measures were supposed to be in place before they started a week ago. Have they done a runaround? That is why I am saying ‘show me the report’. If Picton Terminals isn’t identified why are they coming into Picton Bay? These are questions I am asking of the ministry. Did the ministry agree this was the route? Why didn’t they think to ask us?”

It turns out the Ministry didn’t ask. It didn’t have to.
Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change spokesperson Gary Wheeler says a Marine Logistics Plan was not a requirement under the developer’s Renewable Energy Approval. He says that plan addresses marine issues in the project area only. It does not govern water safety issues beyond that, only to insist that marine traffic follow “all Transport Canada regulations”.

“The marine logistics plan is not required to identify the path of every vessel delivering materials to the project location,” said Wheeler.   “The ministry does not dictate where the company is allowed to source its materials from.”

This is a concern to Shire Hall officials as well as residents relying on the waterway for their drinking water.

Michele Le Lay heads the advocacy group the Association to Protect Amherst Island (APAI). Her group sent a letter to Kathleen Wynne last week urging the premier to intervene in the situation, given the spill in Picton Bay.

She believes the province’s waterways were overlooked by the Green Energy Act because very few industrial wind or solar projects have been constructed on islands.

Le Lay says APAI has been asking for the Marine Logistics Plan and emergency response plan for several months.

“Suddenly the Marine Logistics Plan appears on March 27,” said Le Lay. “After the spill in Picton harbour.”

She was dismayed to learn that it is silent on the health and safety of the homes and businesses that line the shore.

“There is no mention of using the waterway between Picton and Amherst Island,” said Le Lay. “There are no safety measures for all the shore wells along the route. There is another water plant in Bath. Those barges go right by it.”

Algonquin Power spokesperson Alison Holditch told The Times that “Windlectric has met its commitment through the REA process to provide a Marine Logistics Plan, to the satisfaction of the MOECC.”

Holditch echoed the MOECC statement that the marine logistics plan governs marine activities within the project area only.

“Windlectric requires all of its contractors and their subcontractors to abide by applicable law and regulations, whether inside or outside of the project’s boundary,” said Holditch.

The County’s Works official worries, too, about the use of County roads by the developer without any agreement in place. Loyalist Township has such a agreement with the developer detailing which roads it will use and what will happen if something goes wrong. Windelectric is currently hammering out a similar agreement with the county of Lennox and Addington.

Yet it has no such arrangement governing the use of Prince Edward County roads, even as aggegate is being transported through the municipality and onto barges at Picton Terminal.

“It has been a concern all along,” said McAuley. “I don’t think we anticipated they would be coming in here. Had we known we would have taken a more active role in the Algonquin Power renewable energy approval.”

MOECC’s Gary Wheeler say the Road Use Agreement with Algonquin / Windlectric applies only to roads and travel on Amherst Island.

This is perhaps strictly factual, but Le Lay says the developer was required to get approvals for use of roads in Loyalist Township and are negotiating terms with Lennox and Addington currently.

“It covers every road in Loyalist Township that the company intends to use,” said Le Lay of the traffic plan. “It defines which roads they will use. They have not yet reached an agreement with Lennox and Addington county.”

Algonquin’s Holditch says that Windlectric isn’t required to enter into a road use agreement with Prince Edward County.

Until such time there would seem little to stop a stream of trucks through the County and flotilla of barges steaming back and forth to Amherst Island as 27 industrial wind turbines emerge from the small island.

Comments (4)

  • April 17, 2017 at 5:35 pm Richard Mann

    For an update on the Health Impacts of Wind Turbines, here is a talk by Carmen Krogh, speaking at University of Waterloo.

    DATE: Wednesday, March 29, 2017
    TIME: 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM
    LOCATION: DC 1302, University of Waterloo.

    TITLE: Industrial wind turbines can harm humans
    PRESENTER: Carmen M Krogh

    The topic of the risk of harm to human health associated with wind energy facilities is controversial and debated worldwide. On May 7, 2014, Carmen Krogh presented a seminar at the University of Waterloo which considered some of the research dating back to the early 1980’s. A snapshot of some of the current research available in 2014 was provided. The research is challenged in part by the complexities and numerous variables and knowledge gaps associated with this subject. This presentation will explore some of these research challenges and provide an update on the growing body of evidence regarding human health risk factors. Included will be the emerging research indicating risks to those working in this field.

    Carmen M Krogh is a full time volunteer and published researcher regarding health effects and industrial wind energy facilities and shares information with communities; individuals; federal, provincial and public health authorities, wind energy developers; the industry; and others. She is an author and a co-author of peer reviewed articles and conference papers presented at wind turbine scientific noise conferences. Ms Krogh is a retired pharmacist whose career includes: senior executive positions at a teaching hospital (Director of Pharmacy); a drug information researcher at another teaching hospital; a Director of a professional organization; and a Director (A) at Health Canada (PMRA). She is the former Director of Publications and Editor in Chief of the Compendium of Pharmaceuticals and Specialties (CPS), the book used by physicians, nurses, and health professionals for prescribing information in Canada.

  • April 17, 2017 at 11:13 am Richard Mann

    Here is a “time line” showing the history of Wind Turbine Noise problems, going back as far as 1979. Each entry provides documentation:

    1979 “First complaints received from a dozen families within a 3km radius of turbine”.
    1981 “Wind turbine operation creates enormous sound pressure waves”
    1982 “Closed windows and doors do not protect occupants from LFN”
    1982 “NASA research on human impacts provided to wind industry”
    1985 “Hypothesis for infrasound-induced motion sickness”
    1987 “Wind industry told that dB(A) unsuitable to measure LFN emissions from wind turbines”

    2004 “Wind industry knows noise models inadequate” (from Vestas)

    2011 “Vestas knew that low frequency noise from larger turbines needed greater setbacks”

  • April 17, 2017 at 11:12 am Richard Mann

    The problem is Wind and Solar are not reducing C02 and our government will not admit this costly failure. Ontario’s professional Engineers, those tasked with generation, transmission and billing, have reported the problem. our government continues to build more wind and solar.

    Reference: “Ontario’s Electricity Dilemma – Achieving Low Emissions at Reasonable Electricity Rates”. Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE). April 2015.
    (Archived at:

    Page 15 of 23. “Why Will Emissions Double as We Add Wind and Solar Plants ?”

    – Wind and Solar require flexible backup generation.

    – Nuclear is too inflexible to backup renewables without expensive engineering changes to the reactors.

    – Flexible electric storage is too expensive at the moment.

    – Consequently natural gas provides the backup for wind and solar in North America.

    – When you add wind and solar you are actually forced to reduce nuclear generation to make room for more natural gas generation to provide flexible backup.

    – Ontario currently produces electricity at less than 40 grams of CO2 emissions/kWh.

    – Wind and solar with natural gas backup produces electricity at about 200 grams of CO2 emissions/kWh. Therefore adding wind and solar to Ontario’s grid drives CO2 emissions higher. From 2016 to 2032 as Ontario phases out nuclear capacity to make room for wind and solar, CO2 emissions will double (2013 LTEP data).

    – In Ontario, with limited economic hydro and expensive storage, it is mathematically impossible to achieve low CO2 emissions at reasonable electricity prices without nuclear generation.

  • April 8, 2017 at 10:59 am Betsy MacKinnon

    Mr. Mohsen Kryvani MOECC contacted by phone said that filing the plan after the accident was not breaking rules since they only made a commitment to file…not a requirement. Basically compliance is voluntary…..and resistance is futile (to MOECC).

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