Distant indigenous peoples’ “support” of wind power project revealed
Some of the First Nations deemed to be in support of the Dutton Dunwich area wind power project by U.S. firm Invenergy are 1,000 km away—yet they are allowed to be in support of the project under the Wynne government process, for points toward a successful bid
McDowell Lake First Nation is north-west of Lake Superior … but able to help a U.S. firm get a southern Ontario wind power contract
London Free Press, April 12, 2016
By John Miner
Now, residents of a Southwestern Ontario township are learning the support of six Ontario First Nations communities — more than 1,000 kilometres away, some not even in the same time zone — helped give a Chicago-based energy giant an edge in its winning bid to build the unwanted wind farm.
One of the native communities is along Hudson Bay, the others in the province’s northwest near the Manitoba border.
It’s another sign that for all the changes Ontario has made to ensure the controversial projects aren’t imposed on areas that don’t want them, as they have been in parts of Southwestern Ontario, problems — and surprises — persist.
“It’s ludicrous for them to do something like that,” said Jamie Littlejohn, a spokesperson for Dutton/Dunwich Opponents of Wind Turbines.
Littlejohn heads a citizens’ group opposed to the project in Dutton-Dunwich Township, southwest of London.
Progressive Conservative MPP Jeff Yurek said he was “shocked” that communities so far away could influence an energy project in his riding, and he wants the ruling Liberals to shelve the wind farm.
Residents in Dutton-Dunwich, in rural Elgin County, are vehemently opposed to Invenergy LLC’s project.
Under Ontario’s new bidding system for wind-energy contracts, participation by a First Nation gives companies an extra edge.
Invenergy, which won one of the coveted contracts for its proposed Strong Breeze Wind Farm in Dutton-Dunwich, found its First Nation support — and investment — in Ontario’s northernmost community and remote reserves near the Manitoba boundary.
One of the First Nations communities participating in the project, McDowell Lake, has only 59 members. …