Solar company addresses camp’s concerns
|By Mark Arike - Staff Writer | May 25, 2017
The director of Camp Can-Aqua in Cardiff wasn’t happy to find out that a ground mount solar project will one day be installed near the property.
“I am sending a letter to express my disappointment, frustration and concern with regards to the planned solar project ...” wrote Andrew Martin in a two-page letter to the Municipality of Highlands East on May 2.
“I am a believer in progress and understand that there is always occasion where community should go before the individual. I also believe that solar energy is a big part of our future. This being said, the lack of communication and failure of notification on behalf of the township reflects a lack of courtesy and
professionalism,” said Martin.
Abundant Solar Energy, a Canadian company based in Toronto, has 15 solar projects on the go in Highlands East. The company is leasing some of these properties from private individuals while others, such as the property beside the camp, belong to the municipality.
Council has passed support resolutions for each, earning the company priority points through the Feed-In Tariff (FIT) Program. It was developed by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) to “encourage and promote greater use of renewable energy sources.” It provides guaranteed pricing structures for renewable electricity production.
Rob Hitchcock, business developer manager for Abundant Solar, attended a recent council meeting to address White’s letter.
“Andrew’s concerns ... were mostly about communication and how he found out about the project,” said Hitchcock, adding that the company adhered to the regulations of the IESO. While going through a step involving the Ministry of Environment, the company notified adjacent property owners about the project earlier this year.
“That’s the only requirement ... in terms of communication, to property owners,” he said.
In his letter, White address the proximity of the project to the camp, saying it will be built “directly beside” its main entrance. He pointed out the camp will be expanding by building a full-service sugar shack and winter activity park at the end of the property.
A chain-link fence and landscaping will be completed around the ground mount, which will be situated on five acres. Visual barriers are required by the IESO, said Hitchcock.
Hitchcock said he would be happy to meet with White during a site visit. He also said the company might be able to work with the camp on some renewable energy projects and education.
“I think there’s lot of win-win possibilities with the camp.”
White told The Highlander he hasn’t been able to speak with Hitchcock much, but said he was satisfied with how the matter is being handled.
“I’m curious to see how things are going,” he said.
The camp is located on Beaver Lake Drive. It can accommodate up to 160 children.
MARK ARIKE is a reporter for The Highlander.