Bluewater passes $434,000 wind turbine building permit fee
Tyson Dyck, legal counsel for NextEra:“You may also know that under Ontario law there is potential liability, not only for municipalities, but also for individual municipal officials,” Dyck continued, “where there are actions taken that result in damages based on unlawful legal actions, such as the passage of a bylaw.”
Mac Christie, Times-Advocate Staff
VARNA – The Municipality of Bluewater has passed high building permit fees for industrial wind turbines in the municipality, but a legal battle may be looming. Council passed fees which will see developers pay $434,000 per turbine, as part of an updated bylaw March 4 under the direction of Toronto-based lawyer Eric K. Gillespie, whose legal firm drafted the bylaw. The updated fees will charge a $14,000 base permit fee, a $220,000 security per turbine for decommissioning, a $100,000 fee per turbine for matters related to health and property devaluation and a $100,000 fee per turbine for potential legal matters arising as a result of the turbines.
Gillespie told council in his view the bylaw does not conflict with existing legislation, such as the Green Energy Act. “You may . . . hear a point of view that says there may be issues around whether this bylaw conflicts in any way with legislation,” Gillespie said. “It’s our respectful view it does not.” Gillespie noted his firm looked at the bylaw in a practical sense, of how it would be applied in the real world and in the face of a legal challenge. “Thought has gone into how these amounts should be applied and what seems to be reasonable and something that the municipality can stand behind,” Gillespie said. “That is the basis for the recommendation.” He noted that’s why the firm recommended the originally proposed $25,000 per turbine, per year economic development fee be removed from the bylaw and instead levied as a development charge. Based on the expected 20-year lifespan, the fee worked out to roughly $500,000 per turbine. Read article