Platinum ERT decision expected today
Decision by Environmental Review Tribunal expected Monday 158
Tim Verbeek has grown increasingly frustrated watching two wind turbines be constructed, despite the fact his family business has an appeal concerning the structures before the Environmental Review Tribunal.
A decision is expected Monday over the turbines, and Verbeek, whose family owns Platinum Produce greenhouse located south of Highway 401 on Communications Road, said it appears a concerted effort was made to get the two turbines erected before the decision is handed down.
The turbines in question are part of the South Kent Wind Project, a joint venture of Pattern Energy Group and Samsung Renewable Energy Inc.
Verbeek told The Chatham Daily News he findings it “coincidental” the two turbines that are in the appeal were built before others in the area.
However, Pattern and Samsung are well within their rights to construct the turbines, said environmental lawyer Eric Gillespie, who is representing Platinum Produce in its appeal to the ERT.
Gillespie said sometimes when an ERT appeal is launched, there is an automatic stop of the permit.
“In this case, the Ontario government decided to let them go ahead anyway, even if there is an appeal,” he added.
But this isn’t the first time the lawyer has seen this happen.
Gillespie, who represented the appellants that challenged the approval of the Kent Breeze Wind Farm near Thamesville in 2011, said Suncor Energy continued with construction of the project despite the matter being before the ERT.
“This is where many people would say there is a major disconnect between the government and the people living where these projects are moving ahead,” he said.
“The government has given an appeal right, but still allows wind companies to proceed as if there is no appeal,” Gillespie added. “That has been very difficult for many people to understand.”
The Daily News covered the Platinum Produce issue in December when Verbeek raised concerns then about construction of the turbines proceeding.
The location of the two turbines near the greenhouse was amended, because they were located inside the minimum setback of 550 metres of a bunkhouse used by workers at the greenhouse.
Pattern Energy previously told The Daily News it’s reason for proceeding with construction is it has Ministry of Environment approval to proceed on the amended layout for the project.
Platinum Produce is still objecting to the two turbines being located near the greenhouse, with one being within 240 metres. The model of turbine being used in the South Kent Wind Project can hurl chunks of ice that can buildup on the blades, up to 275 metres.
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