Armow Wind developers pledge millions to Kincardine


The developers of the Armow Wind Project will contribute at least $13.6 million over two decades to a community benefit fund.


The Municipality of Kincardine announced last Wednesday that Samsung and Pattern had worked with the municipality to develop the fund. The companies plan to begin construction on the 180-megawatt project this fall. The development will include 92 industrial wind turbines.


As part of the agreement, Pattern and Samsung will contribute $1,030,000 to the Kincardine airport to improve local operations. Another $630,000 will be donated annually for the next 20 years to a community benefit fund.


According to a media release from the municipality, the funds could be used for a multitude of initiatives including infrastructure, such as roads; community services, such as policing and health care; educational programs and job training; energy efficiency initiatives; tree planting; shoreline rehabilitation; improvements to arena, trail systems and parks; and property tax relief.


“We appreciate that the agreement with the Samsung/Pattern team respects the key considerations set out in the Memorandum of Understanding of early 2013,” mayor Larry Kraemer said in the media release.


“As our solicitor has observed, the development agreement should be regarded as ‘state of the art’ in Ontario, and the community benefit package should be seen as a generous contribution with substantial benefit to our municipality.”


Not everyone was in support of the agreement, however. Councillor Jacqueline Faubert said she was not surprised by the proposal for the community benefit fund, because similar proposals are being vetted across the province, but said throwing money at the municipality does little to ease the concerns of residents.


“I’m not sure why I was put in a position to vote on it because it’s clear it’s a choice where there is no choice,” she told The Independent Wednesday. “I anticipate this project will be problematic for residents and the community.”


Council voted to approve a development agreement with Pattern and Samsung, which includes the community benefit fund, in open session following a closed council session on May 21. Faubert said she voted against the agreement out of principle because she has consistently voted against the project since the beginning. She said the province’s Green Energy Act supercedes any voting power at the local level.


Faubert said she expects that there will be continued debate about industrial wind turbines in this municipality and opponents will continue to challenge the Armow project.


In an email to The Independent last week, Huron-Kinloss Against Lakeside Turbines (HALT) vice-president Deborah Morris chastised council.


“Kincardine council has ignored all of our efforts to help protect its citizens from the harms caused by industrial wind turbines,” she said. “They ignored our petition of more than 1,000 names of residents opposed; they ignored our pleas for support; and, aware of all our fundraising and our hard work in the interests of the well-being of our community, they have gone in secret - behind closed doors - to make this diabolical deal.”


For their part, Samsung and Pattern gave assurances that they will be a part of the community.


“Samsung is thankful to become part of this community in Kincardine and proud of the local jobs the project will create,” said K.J. Kim, senior vice-president of Samsung C&T. “Samsung is dedicated to delivering meaningful benefits to communities where we are building clean, renewable energy projects.”   


“We very much want to thank the landowners, community members and the municipality. We are excited about being part of this community and we look forward to contributing to the area, including the community, educational and environmental programs,” said Mike Garland, CEO of Pattern Development.


In related news, Samsung and Pattern have signed a road use agreement with the Municipality of Kincardine, which commits the developers to ensure the safe use of roads during the construction period and full restoration of roads when the work is complete.


As part of a development agreement with the municipality, Pattern and Samsung have agreed to a 3,000-metre setback from primary and secondary urban communities of Kincardine and Tiverton and the lakeshore. Pattern and Samsung have also agreed to bury all low-voltage collector lines located on private property carrying electricity from the project's wind turbines, where feasible; create a tree preservation and replacement plan; follow an emergency preparedness and response plan; and implement a complaint resolution process.