Thirty community members showed up to watch the proceedings of a committee of three, March 24, at the Dixon’s Corners Community Centre.
The meeting was the first meeting of the South Branch Wind Project’s Community Liaison Committee, which has the objective of helping EDP Renewables better understand the concerns and comments of South Dundas residents regarding the South Branch Wind Facility.
So far, the South Branch CLC consists of three volunteers, Bill Byker, a Glen Stewart area farmer, Pieter Biemond, a local retired dairy farmer, and Chris Bazinet, who works for the Municipality of South Dundas as manager of public works. The committee meeting coordinator and facilitator is Francois Lauzon of Stantec Consulting’s Ottawa office.
Biemond, hopes that this committee will have a role that will help to heal the community, that has experienced much division over this project. “That is my biggest concern,” he said.
The committee meetings are not an open forum to re-visit old concerns about the project, but instead a platform to facilitate two-way communication between EDP and members of the public.
With this open form of communication, EDP will be better able to identify areas for improvement, as we strive to gain local acceptance of this facility, explained Ken Little, project manager.
“We want the dialogue from these meetings to be meaningful and useful,” said Little. “The aim is a productive two-way conversation.”
At the meeting, Little said that since the start up of the project, so far, one formal noise complaint has been logged with the Ministry of the Environment.
A local resident, who lives less than one km from a turbine, did report that the noise from the turning blades is similar to that of an airplane, and that since the project has been producing power, he is frequently awakened overnight.
According to Little, later this month, the facility will undergo a noise audit to check whether or not the noise is within the allowable thresholds for the project.
The CLC is hoping that more volunteers will come forward to join the committee.
Ideally, those who volunteer would be residents or landowners from within a kilometre of the facility, or at least residents of South Dundas.
Members of the business community or those affiliated with local government or local government agencies, interest groups, conservation authorities or community groups, would also be welcomed to the committee.
The CLC meetings are open to the public for observation, with the possibility of hearing brief depositions from members of the public who have arranged to make presentations.
The committee will meet about four times over the next two years.
The CLC will next meet in June or July. Once a meeting is scheduled, the details will be advertised.
In the meantime, anyone interested in joining the committee, or learning more about it, can contact firstname.lastname@example.org