NPCA-NRWC deal unfair
Port Colborne Leader
Re. NPCA and NRWC ink $500,000 deal on turbine construction, July 23:
This story totally amazed me. It also made me feel sick to my stomach. I, too, have had dealings with the NPCA. It didn’t end nearly as sweetly for me or my family as it did for the NRWC. Twenty five years ago we moved into our house, and our property borders the old railway track that is now the trail.
Our only source of water comes from a pond situated right beside the trail about 50 metres from the roadway but 100 metres from the house.
At the time it was explained to us that occasionally we would need to get water delivered to the pond up the track and that the township knew this, approved and would actively help us if needed. In the 25 years we have lived here we have needed to get water at the end of approximately six summers.
True to their word the township did help us and would even clear the track if necessary for the water truck.
Then the township gave the track to the NPCA and it was named the “Gord Harry trail” after our then mayor.
Of course the first thing they did was put up a gate right at the roadway. A few years after this we needed water so we approached the NPCA to get the gate open. They as you can imagine, said no, and the farce began.
We approached them several times and even went to one of their meeting where we explained why we couldn’t get the water truck in any other way because of the layout of the land, drainage ditches, a swampy area etc. and that even if we could get them in the water trucks, because of health and safety concerns, were not permitted to cross the field in case they picked up manure etc. which could then be dropped on other properties. They would not budge and always said no.
At the time of this meeting we had then been out of water for 35 days. We then asked MPP Peter Kormas for help and he went to bat for us. Their answer, no. Peter then got the then Minister of Natural Resources, David Ramsey, involved and he sent a fax to them on our behalf. Still no. Our lawyer sent them a letter stating that as the law stands, we would more than likely win a “prior access” lawsuit and be granted an injunction to stop them blocking access. Again no.
Of course we all knew they had the money to drag that out for years, bankrupting us in the process so we dropped that. The bottom line is, the NPCA and its board can do what it wants and doesn’t answer to anyone. Though I’m sure they’ve won some Brownie points with the current Ontario Government.
As for us… thank God for the good people of Wainfleet who rallied behind us, dropping off all and any containers that could hold water. These containers lined our drive and covered our yard so that we could get water and “bucket” it out to the horses.
We, on the other hand, spent a small fortune on memberships for our family of six at the Welland YMCA so we could shower, gas to get there every day and laundromats to wash our clothes etc.
Our water did eventually come back naturally but we were out of it for 97 days. Not easy for a family with four kids. If only I’d known I could have saved all that money and gone to that meeting waving my cheque book.
Of course I don’t have $500,000 to spare like the NRWC. But I also wasn’t asking to access 635 metres for 20 years, only to use 50 metres three to six times one dry summer.
Wainfleet resident seeks answers in trail access dispute
Saturday, September 22, 2007 12:00:00 EDT AM
Len Greenaway's pond is low, his well is dry and his horses are thirsty.
Relief is just a stone's throw away - if it were not for an ongoing dispute with the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority. The NPCA literally has the key to solve Greenaway's water problems - but the solution comes at a cost that Greenaway refuses to pay.
What it comes down to is access to property, liability issues and existing policies.
But to understand the problem, one would have to go back a few years when the township turned over an abandoned railroad line - which has since become the Gord Harry Trail - to the NPCA.
Greenaway's property on Burnaby Road abuts the trail. In the past, he has used the trail as a means of getting a truck close enough to his cistern to offload water. The cistern is relatively small in capacity and in dry times it requires frequent filling.
There is a gate that restricts motorized vehicles from using the trail and it is locked. Greenaway approached the NPCA about his problem recently and learned that he would have to pay $50 for a staff member to unlock the gate so the water truck could travel the 183 metres (200 yards) to off-load water into his cistern.
NPCA policy also requires a $2,500 security deposit from people who want to use the property and they must be insured.
A NPCA board meeting was held Wednesday night to discuss the situation now facing Greenaway.
It was decided that a staff member would open the gate if Greenaway was willing to pay a fee to cover the expense of sending someone out to Burnaby Road to unlock the gate and then lock it up again once the truck was done.
"The board was concerned about the frequency of deliveries," Darcy Baker, director of land management for the NPCA, said Thursday. "We're doing everything we can to minimize staff time. Mr. Greenaway can get a load of water today if he wants it." *No consideration of leaving a key with Mr. Greenaway!
Baker said the board is not willing to absorb the cost of sending staff to Greenaway's farm every time he needs water. They are also not prepared to allow the truck access during the winter months. Greenaway has not been asked for a deposit, as per policy.
"The board has taken a position and the Greenaways are not satisfied with it," Baker added.
Greenaway said normally he can get the water truck to the cistern through one of his paddocks and it is only during rare weather circumstances that he needs to use the trail as a point of access.
"I'm drowning here and the conservation authority won't throw me a life raft," Greenaway said. "The cost of a staff member coming here to open the gate is more than the cost of the water. I can't afford it."
He said he currently has no water in the house and there is no water for the seven horses owned by his family. He has been watering the horses with five-gallon jugs of water that he brings from town.
"If this keeps up I am going to have to move out of the house," he said.
Wind company sweetens trail use deal
NRWC offers $500k for use of NPCA land
Grimsby Lincoln News
Niagara Region Wind Corp. is offering the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority cash for trail use.
NRWC, which proposes to build a 230-megaWatt wind farm in the West Lincoln and Wainfleet area, has resubmitted a request to the NPCA for use of the Gord Harry Trail to access two of the 77 proposed turbines, this time with more financial compensation. NRWC will pay the NPCA $20,000 annually for the 20-year duration of the project and make an additional $100,000 donation to the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Foundation in exchange for use of 635 metres of the trail.
The NPCA board of directors will receive a staff report at this Thursday's meeting outlining the new offer. The NPCA had previously voted to allow NRWC to cross the trail only, following a recommendation from the Township of Wainfleet which deeded the trail land to the conservation authority.
Staff's recommendation is to approve the new request and authorize staff to enter into a land use agreement with NRWC should the approval of the project be upheld by the tribunal.
NRWC wants to use the trail for construction and maintenance of turbines 23 and 49 and routing of underground collector and fibre optic lines.
The project was approved in November but has been delayed following an appeal to the Environmental Review Tribunal filed by Mothers Against Wind Turbines. A hearing was held in December and a decision is expected next month. Representatives of MAWT will appear before the NPCA at Thursday's meeting. Loretta Shields of Niagara Region Field Naturalists is also scheduled to speak at the meeting which begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Ball's Falls Centre for Conservation. The meeting is open to the public.