By Rita Marshall, The Mitchell Advocate
West Perth council has concerns over a proposed transmission line from the Grand Bend wind turbine project that will run along Hibbert ward.
At council’s Oct. 9 meeting, CAO Will Jaques informed council that Northland Power is proposing a 230 kV line running for approximately 12 km down Road 183, which is the boundary between Hibbert ward and Huron East. The line would start a little more than a mile and a quarter south of Highway 8 and run to the West Perth / South Huron boundary.
The poles could be about 100 feet in height and located about 100 metres apart. Cables would hang on the inside of the poles, eliminating the need for easements on properties along the way.
Jaques said that Northland Power, the Neegan Burnside and Burnside engineering firms, and West Perth, South Huron and Huron East representatives met Sept. 25. He said that at the meeting, Northland Power seemed “more open” to the idea of compensating West Perth for hosting the transmission line, whether through a “vibrancy fund” and/or road user agreements.
But even with the promise of compensation, West Perth council wasn’t thrilled with the idea of the transmission line.
“There are still a lot of people who are very much it against it,” said Hibbert ward councillor Barb MacLean about the wind turbine project, calling it “too close to home.”
Deputy mayor Bill French said that he had spoken with the mayor of Wolfe Island, which hosts wind turbines and in-ground transmission lines.
“The townships did not get enough for what it’s costing them,” he said, adding that the wind turbine companies “called the shots on almost every road.”
Lyle Parsons, Neegan Burnside project manager for the Grand Bend Wind Farm, told the Advocate that there are several reasons why Road 183 was chosen. He said the Highway 83 to 23 route would have passed through more populated areas and environmentally sensitive areas, as well as being “considerably longer”.
A public meeting will be held in Mitchell by the Grand Bend Wind Farm project on Nov. 28 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Mitchell and District Community Centre. Documents on the project are available at the municipal office and at grandbend.northlandpower.ca.