Substation site not final, NaiKun tells Tlell residents

  • Jul. 8, 2009 6:00 p.m.

Representatives of the NaiKun wind farm project say they made a mistake when they put forward three Tlell properties as potential sites for an electrical substation. “Clearly, these are not the right sites,” NaiKun community relations director Susan Bruckner told a roomful of Tlell residents Thursday night (July 2). “These don’t work for you.”Ms Bruckner also told the residents that the decision about where to locate the substation, if the wind farm project goes ahead, will be made by BC Hydro and not NaiKun. NaiKun included three possible sites in Tlell as part of its environmental assessment application to show that it is feasible to bring power to the islands from the offshore wind farm, she said.The three sites – outlined in red in volume 2 of NaiKun’s application – are a portion of the Richardson Ranch property just north of Wiggins Road, a stretch of oceanfront fields south of Wiggins Road, and an area about 10 km further south of that in front of property owned by Morgan Bristol and Dawn Geddie. Mr. Bristol said it was an unpleasant surprise to learn that his front yard was being considered for an electrical substation, and that it was disrespectful for the company not to have informed property owners about what it was doing.”One of the most beautiful things you could do for me today is to take those red lines off the map and move it to Ross’s Pit,” Mr. Bristol told Ms Bruckner. “We are talking about neighbourhoods here in Tlell, all those red lines represent neighbourhoods. I can’t say enough about what a bad choice this is.”Ms Bruckner said she had taken a look at the “Ross’s Pit” area suggested by residents as a more appropriate site, and that it looked good. NaiKun will forward that site suggestion plus all the feedback from Tlell residents to BC Hydro, she said, so they will have the information before making the substation decision. In response to questions about what the substation building would look like, she said it would likely be one storey high and approximately 127 feet by 127 feet. “That’s not acceptable,” Mr. Bristol said. “To put that in our front yard, can you imagine what that would be like?”Anna Gajda, who owns property nearby, said it sounded like the company’s decision to include the three sites in its environmental assessment application was made at the last minute, but it has called the contents of the entire 4,000 page application into question for her. “It was a bad decision, it was a disrespectful thing to do,” she said. “It affects all the credibility of the research that was done for the whole entire review process. It was a shoddy job and it puts into question just how shoddy the rest of the research was.” Ms Bruckner said NaiKun recognizes the residents concerns and she hoped that everyone could move forward. The NaiKun wind farm, if it goes ahead, would see 110 turbines installed in Hecate Strait, eight kilometers from Graham Island, and could provide power to 130,000 BC homes on the mainland. The company has also proposed providing power to the islands through an undersea cable landing at Tlell, replacing the current power supplied by diesel generators. The deadline for public comments as part of the environmental assessment is July 12, although Ms Bruckner said NaiKun will certainly listen to any feedback from islanders received after that date.

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