THE BAPE REPORT IS NOW PUBLIC
Québec, February 9th 2009 –
At the request of Line Beauchamp, Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks, the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE) is today making public its examination and public hearing report on the Projets de parcs éoliens de Gros-Morne et de Montagne Sèche par Cartier énergie éolienne inc. This examination and public hearing mandate began on September 15th 2008. The Commission of Inquiry, in charge of examining the project, was chaired by Pierre Fortin, assisted by Commissioners Lucie Bigué and John Haemmerli.
Following its analysis of the Gros-Morne and Montagne Sèche wind turbine park projects, the Commission concludes that the two projects, which are likely to generate substantial economic spin-offs at the local and regional level, could be authorized, but that certain improvements should be made to ensure that the projects unfold in a sustainable development perspective. These improvements aim to ensure the harmonious integration of the projects in the communities and the natural environment, notably by making sure that they respect existing uses as well as the species and ecosystems present.
The Commission notably proposes that the proponent examine the possibility of moving a number of wind turbines in order to mitigate the possible repercussions on two outfitting establishments located near the wind turbine parks, namely Camp de la Haute Madeleine and Pourvoirie Beauséjour, as well as on vacationers residing inside or on the edge of these parks. In the opinion of the Commission, the appearance of the wind turbines in the natural landscape of the outfitting establishments could have an adverse impact on their appeal. In addition, due to the peace and tranquility of vacation sites and because the noise produced by wind turbines differs from that normally found on these sites, this noise could be audible for vacationers living inside or on the edge of wind turbine parks and result in a significant inconvenience.
As for winged wildlife, the extent of the repercussions is difficult to evaluate due to the very limited knowledge available, in particular on chiroptera (bats). However, the Commission is of the opinion that in the event that the wind turbines proved to be problematic for preserving and re-establishing populations of birds of prey having a precarious status or of chiroptera, all necessary measures should be taken to attenuate the repercussions, including interrupting the operation of the wind turbines during critical periods.
Regarding the establishment of the Gros-Morne wind turbine park in the immediate proximity of the Manche-d’Épée ecological reserve, the Commission asks the proponent to examine the possibility of optimizing the location of the wind turbines and the access roads on the edge of the reserve’s boundaries, to take steps to prevent potential repercussions, to do a follow-up on these steps with the ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et des Parcs and to undertake to compensate or proceed with an adequate and rapid restoration should an incident occur.
Moreover, the Commission considers that all wind turbine park projects subject to the environmental impact assessment and review procedure should include sufficient leeway to integrate any constraint that may arise during their development.
Finally, for the future, the Commission considers that those RCMs likely to welcome wind turbine projects should establish a development framework for the establishment of wind turbines based on a concerted reflection approach making it possible to define a regional vision for the protection, management and enhancement of landscapes. In addition, the RCMs, municipalities and proponents should set up, as soon as an interest is shown for a given territory, a discussion/dialogue committee to promote a harmonious integration of the wind turbine park projects.
During the first part of the public hearing, the Commission of Inquiry held six public sessions in Madeleine-Centre and in Cloridorme. During the second part, two public sessions were held during which the Commission received 21 briefs and heard 20 oral presentations by individuals, groups, organizations and municipalities interested in this project.
AVAILABILITY OF THE REPORT
The examination and public hearing report on the Projets de parcs éoliens de Gros-Morne et de Montagne Sèche par Cartier énergie éolienne inc. is now available. You can consult it at the BAPE documentation centres, at the consultation centres opened in the community as well as on the website of the BAPE at the following address: www.bape.gouv.qc.ca. You can also request the report at the office of the BAPE, either by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by dialing 418 643-7447 or toll-free 1 800 463-4732.
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Source: Louise Bourdages
418 643-7447 or 1 800 463-4732, extension 532