Colin Winter Letter

Dear FOW,

I just read your 128 page latest submission to FERC. Once again, it is very well-written and detailed, and provides four enormously compelling data-based routes that I would have to think will demand FERC require a more thoughtful response from Dominion.

FOW, I’m a realist and pragmatist – I know your job lies in protecting Wintergreen first and foremost. That said, I really think FOW has made a serious strategic mistake in deciding to flush out the 664 South route from your prior submission.

While this route is no doubt better for Wintergreen, Horizon’s Village, The Spruce Creek development by my friend Richard Averitt, and for the other reasons you’ve detailed, unfortunately, it keeps the pipeline in this beautiful and pristine valley we all share, and in my case, puts my parents, my three young kids of 4, 7, and 9 and my wife directly within the so-called “blast zone” as under your latest proposal, the pipeline will either directly cross our properties and homesites, or run in a nearby neighboring field (depending on the route Dominion chooses)…but either way put my family in the blast zone.

I realize we aren’t Wintergreen residents, but we are stakeholders of Wintergreen as we spend thousands of dollars per year on lessons, annual passes, and food/entertainment. All three of my kids learned to ski there. We rent your condos. I signed up our four year old son Will for two week-long skiing camps this winter at a not insignificant percentage of our annual salary. We have dinner at The Edge nearly every Tuesday and Thursday during the ski season; it’s one of my kids’ favorite things to do after a night of skiing.

The resort is a wonderful attraction and a big reason why we moved to Nelson County, and yet if this pipeline is built and crosses our land, we’ll be forced to sell and leave…and honestly, many other neighbors and residents in the Valley below you will do the same. It will still impact your community; it will still affect your real estate values, it will certainly affect the success of the resort that drives your rentals and mountain economy.

I’ve ardently and outspokenly opposed the current route of the pipeline that currently runs through Wintergreen because of the effect it will have on your residents and community, on your resort and on my neighboring friends in the Rockfish Valley, despite the fact the current pipeline didn’t put our property or my family directly in harm’s way.

The strategic mistake I’d argue is the fact all of the routes you proposed are seemingly superior to the current route running through Wintergreen (objectively including 664 South), however, by opening this can of worms (by detailing 664 South) you’ve all but assured that notoriously lazy/sloppy Dominion will choose the easy route that requires the least amount of surveying and rework, co-location be damned.

The battle will perhaps have been won for Wintergreen in the short term, but I think the war will have been lost for the valley residents and local community that have so regularly supported the resort through good times and bad. If nothing else, you’ve assured the destruction of the life my family has built here over the past eleven years in Nelson.

I’m really disappointed and sad FOW decided to flush out this route, I feel like you’ve abandoned the area community that has always supported you, and allowed a viable option for Dominion to far superior alternate options that would have prevented the pipeline in our shared valley.

At this point, the document has been filed, and what’s done is done. However, perhaps FOW will have important conversations with FERC or Dominion down the road; you are no doubt a strong and impressive force to be reckoned with…I’d beg you to continue to push the Route 64 option as the best and *only* choice due to the co-location aspects of that route and to spare the Valley we all share and love.

Colin Winter