North Island windfarm gets new name and a makeover

Port Hardy District Council accepted a presentation on the renamed Cape Scott Wind Farm from Jay Wilgar of International Power. He was joined by James Griffith of Seabreeze Power, which has merged with International Power since initiating the project as Knob Hill in 2003.

PORT HARDY — The North Island’s Knob Hill Wind Farm is dead, but only in name.

Port Hardy District Council accepted a presentation on the renamed Cape Scott Wind Farm from Jay Wilgar of International Power. He was joined by James Griffith of Seabreeze Power, which has merged with International Power since initiating the project as Knob Hill in 2003.

The pair displayed a large map of the project on the wall of council chambers. In addition to the name change to Cape Scott Wind Farm, the map showed proposed changes to the access route and transmission-line route to a BC Hydro sub-station in Port Hardy.

“The access road will now run through the Nahwitti Valley; before, we were looking at a southern route,” said Wilgar. “The environmental assessment will have to be amended because of the change.”

The new partnership group has submitted its application with the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office and expects a public review period between April and August of this year. Construction could begin later this year, and the facility is expected to be commissioned in February 2014.

Councillor Lawrence Woodall asked Wilgar and Griffith what levels of employment the project could be expected to provide.

“At its peak, during construction there will be between 150 and 170 (workers) on site,” said Wilgar. “Some of the people will be from this area.”

Wilgar went on to note the facility will staff 10-15 employees when completed, with additional non-skilled workers involved in keeping road access and transmission lines clear and other basic labour.

“We’ll all be watching closely,” Mayor Bev Parnham said after thanking Wilgar and Griffith for their presentation. “I’m looking forward to the public open house.”

Tanker ban sought

Katie Terhune of Living Oceans Society also made a presentation, requesting council support a federally legislated ban on oil tanker traffic on B.C.’s coast.

The request comes as a response to Enbridge Corporation’s proposed tanker terminal in Kitimat, the terminus of a proposed bitumen pipeline from the interior.

Terhune, who made the same presentation to Port McNeill Council at its meeting one night earlier, highlighted the risk of large-scale spills, the cost to B.C. taxpayers of such accidents, and the lack of economic benefit to the local area.

“We appreciate your presentation,” Parnham said. “I know Enbridge is going to make a presentation before council as well, and it will be valuable to have as much information as possible.”

Harbour fees

Council voted to forward a proposed fee change for users of the boat harbour, including a two per cent cost-of-living increase, to budget committee for review and recommendation.

Idle-free zones

Citing difficulties in enforcement, council declined to establish a bylaw legislating idle-free vehicle zones, but approved “leading by example” by establishing a District policy for District vehicles and property.

Signage on District property will encourage drivers to shut off engines when in the vicinity, and district vehicles must be turned off when not driving. The vehicles will be affixed with decals noting they are subject to the idle-free policy.

“The school district did this,” Parnham said of establishing an idle-free zone. “They found the best enforcement is the kids themselves, reminding parents to shut off their engines and putting up signs saying things like, ‘Caution – young lungs at work.'”