What can I say – Industry and govt. working together = citizens take a back seat.
Posted By JENNIFER PRITCHETT WHIG-STANDARD STAFF WRITER
The Calgary-based company building a $410-million wind plant on Wolfe Island has issued a cease-and-desist letter to a citizen it claims is spreading “false and defamatory statements.”
Canadian Hydro Developers Inc. sent the letter in connection with a statement made by Wolfe Island resident Chris Brown, an outspoken
critic of some aspects of the project.
Brown, a local musician, is one of a handful of citizens who sit on a community liaison committee Canadian Hydro set up last year to answer local concerns about the project.
Brown regards the letter as an attempt to gag critics of the project.
“It’s an intimidation tactic,” he said.
Brown said he isn’t against wind power or the Canadian Hydro project on Wolfe Island. He does want to see the 86 turbines that are being erected there placed in areas where they won’t impact wildlife or people.
The cease-and-desist letter goes back to an e-mail Brown sent to former St. Lawrence College president Volker Thomsen and others, following an international wind energy conference at the college in June.
Brown said he hoped “the examples brought to light by the conference can prevent Wolfe Island from becoming an autopsy of grid monopoly and community exclusion.”
Canadian Hydro took exception to his comments, saying they suggest the firm “has no respect for the environmental and regulatory process and fails to consult with the community.
“Canadian Hydro has conducted itself in a responsible manner throughout the approval process,” stated the cease-and-desist letter.
The letter, written by Canadian Hydro’s Toronto-based lawyer Paul B. Schabas, warns Brown of the possibility of future legal action.
“Should you persist in this course of conduct, please be advised that our client will proceed against you and pursue all legal and equitable remedies available to it without further notice being provided to you. Kindly govern yourself accordingly,” Schabas wrote.
When theWhig-Standardrequested an interview with Canadian Hydro about the letter, the firm issued a short statement from Geoff Carnegie, its development manager for the Wolfe Island project.
In it, Carnegie wrote that Brown’s “claim of community exclusion overlooks three and a half years of community consultation by Canadian Hydro, as documented in the Environmental Review Report.
“The purpose of our letter to Mr. Brown was to insist that he act responsibly and utilize the relevant facts in his arguments.” Brown said he refuses to be quieted. “I will continue to exercise my right
to free speech and advocate for a full and transparent public review of this project, just as I will continue to participate in the community liaison group to ensure proper communication between proponent and citizenry,” he wrote in a response to Canadian Hydro.