Category Archives: Municipalities

Council’s improper closed meeting with wind developer outed

IMG_6307Over the past five years there have been many questionable ‘meetings’ in the Adelaide-Metcalfe council chambers, especially when wind turbines are involved. For starters, the mayor and the deputy-mayor have close relatives who have signed wind option agreements, and they never declare a conflict of interest. Then there was the time the police were called to stop a resident from video recording the open meetings. Oh yes and when the CAO’s husband physically struck out at a resident taking a picture of them entering a closed meeting with Suncor. Items have been left off agendas, mis-reported in minutes…the list goes on, and frustration builds.

So to say the residents are skeptical, leery, untrusting of this council, is an understatement. And for good reason. Even the ombudsman’s office has had their fill of this council. With 6 “Best Practices”, and 3 “Violations” found in the last year and a half, this little township of 3000 is practically topping the province for infractions— beating out the big cities (oh yes, even London).

If a resident happens upon an improper closed meeting, it’s usually by fluke. And so it was with the most recent revelation with the Ad-Met council, when a closed meeting on January 25, 2012 was discovered in the “Municipal Correspondence” section of the wind developer WPD’s submission (See pg. 130). Yep, check those out for your local project!

The Township CAO/treasurer Fran Urbshott, was contacted by the office of the Ombudsman and an investigation has been initiated, as all but one of the township councillors and the mayor were there— a quorum present and the public was not invited, let alone notified….nor were minutes taken….the township has no record of the meeting, thankfully the wind company does. Read the rest of this entry

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NextEra Energy invited your township council out for drinks

Oh yes, after they are done their AMO conference, of course. This invite below was recently sent to Ontario township councillors in advance of the conference.

I mean, what better way to conduct a business meeting between township officials (representing the people) and Wind Companies? No public around to watch and listen, and alcohol to help influence decisions! Win-win, eh?
Nextera

Warwick Township Not a Willing Host

notawillinghost

Middlesex Centre NOT a willing host

not-a-willing-hostMiddlesex Centre
WHEREAS the Premier of Ontario has recently conveyed the Government’s desire to limit Industrial Wind Turbine (IWT) Projects to communities that are willing hosts;

AND WHEREAS Council for the Municipality of Middlesex Centre has received a clear message from its residents that they are not willing to host to IWTs in Middlesex Centre;

AND WHEREAS Council for the Municipality of Middlesex Centre applauds the position taken by the Premier and the Government; A community of diverse citizens, rooted in rural and urban traditions, united through involvement, cooperation, and mutual respect

AND WHEREAS Council represents all citizens within the Municipality, both those in favour of wind projects and those opposed. As a result, Council needs to maintain a fair and balanced viewpoint; Read the rest of this entry

Lambton Shores ‘not a willing host’ to turbines

LAMBTONSarnia Lambton Independent
Lambton Shores Council has joined dozens of municipalities which say they are ‘not willing hosts’ to industrial wind turbines. Municipalities have had little say in the planning of the projects since the province brought in the Green Energy Act. It overruled any local planning authority. At the time, then- Premier Dalton McGuinty said it would stop people from objecting to the projects simply because they didn’t want them in their backyards.

But since then, rural communities have organized lobbying groups trying to impress upon local government and the province there are health concerns associated with the industrial turbines even as big energy companies began planning projects around the province. In Lambton Shores, 267 of turbines will soon dot the landscape including two major projects by Suncor Energy (46 turbines), NextEra Energy’s Jericho project with 92 turbines.

Lambton Shores has been carefully pouring over the projects, hoping to offer comment to the Ministry of the Environment on areas where residents are have voiced concerned, such as how far the turbines are from homes, stray voltage, and the health effects from sound vibrations. Lambton Shores has asked for a moratorium on wind development until a health study by the federal government is complete, but so far the province hasn’t responded. Read article

St. Clair not a willing host for turbines

st. clairSarnia this Week
ST. CLAIR TOWNSHIP – St. Clair Township is not a willing host for wind turbines. That’s the declaration councillors made – unanimously – after a recent discussion to establish a by-law about where they can be placed within the municipality. Deputy Clerk and Coordinator of Planning Jeff Baranek made a presentation to council suggesting it adopt a by-law to establish building permit fees for industrial wind turbines.

“You can’t make revenue off building permit fees,” he said, “but you can ensure all costs… are harboured by the developer.” Baranek’s suggestion was a $10,000 fee per turbine plus $100 per metre to the highest point of the structure. He mentioned that some municipalities – most notably Bluewater – are issuing other fees, like a $220,000 decommissioning fee by that municipality, but such a cost was not among his recommendations. He did, however, suggest that council adopt a two-kilometre setback from any property line, which he said would essentially “sterilize” the township. Read article

Rural politicians pan wind development fix

We said NOLondon Free Press
Local politicians and leaders of community groups took turns Thursday piling on the Wynne government, saying new rules for wind farms fall far short of what’s needed. The rules, revealed by Sun Media this week and outlined Thursday by Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli, promise to increase consultation with affected municipalities.

“Unless we can get full veto, I just don’t know if it’s going to be very good for us,” Middlesex County Warden Brad Richards said. “Don’t do it halfway.”

The Liberals still have their work cut out for them in rural Ontario — where they were nearly wiped off the map in the 2011 election — because residents there are going to be “very, very suspicious” about the changes, said political scientist Peter Woolstencroft of the University of Waterloo. “People will question the commitment.” The best way to win over rural Ontario would be to give both sides — the province and municipalities — a veto over large projects, Woolstencroft said.

Many communities in Middlesex County already have wind farms, and more are planned.Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said municipalities will be consulted before major projects proceed. “It’s true that there’s not a veto power involved in this process, but we always have to balance the greater good with the local good,” Wynne said. “I hope it meets the needs of the municipality but we’re going to work on it.” Read article

Health study should be complete before province moves ahead, Plympton-Wyoming mayor says

Health Studies Before Wind TurbinesSarina Observer
Is the Ontario government trying to make peace with rural communities on the controversial issue of industrial wind turbines? It’s certainly a question being asked after the province recently announced plans to improve how large energy projects are sited in Ontario. In a recent letter, the Ministry of Energy asked the Ontario Power Authority and the Independent Electricity System Operator to help develop a new regional energy planning process.

Under this new protocol, municipalities, the energy sector and other stakeholders are expected to be formally consulted about proposed projects, according to the Ministry of Energy. However, officials aren’t sure yet how this process would work under the existing Ontario Green Energy Act. “We are working closely with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Ministry of Rural Affairs and the Ministry of the Environment on developing a strategy to increase local control when it comes to the siting of future large green energy projects,” a Ministry of Energy spokesperson wrote in an email. “That process would be consistent with an improved regional energy planning process — communities must have a stronger voice and real engagement in decision making.”

While Ontario municipalities have been calling for greater oversight, Plympton-Wyoming Mayor Lonny Napper isn’t sold on the proposed process. Read article

Enniskillen says its an “unwilling host” to turbines

enniskillin-wind Marriott PhairSarnia Lambton Independent
Enniskillen Township council says it can’t be clearer about its opposition to wind turbines in the community declaring itself an “unwilling host.” Concerns have risen in the municipality in the past two months as three wind energy companies go door-to-door in the municipality, trying to find landowners willing to have industrial wind turbines on their property. The three companies could plant as many as 51 turbines in the countryside around Petrolia.

A community group, CORE – Conservation of Rural Enniskillen, has been formed and has been pressing council to take a stand against the project.

Mayor Kevin Marriott says council has been opposed to the projects but recently took the added step of passing a motion declaring itself to be an unwilling host to the wind energy centers. “I heard this was happening in a few municipalities across the province,” Marriott says, adding council unanimously supported the move.

The motion pleased CORE spokesman Chad Burke. “I believe that our mayor, our council, is doing everything they can do to keep industrial wind turbines out of our township,” Burke says in an email. Read article

Plympton-Wyoming eyes changes to turbine bylaw; meets with Suncor

courtSarnia Lambton This Week
PLYMPTON-WYOMING – The lawyer representing Plympton-Wyoming in its court battle against Suncor’s wind project says the municipality may clarify its bylaw after a recent court decision. This, while the municipality and Suncor meet to try to resolve some of their differences about the Cedar Point Wind Energy Center. Suncor has a plan to build a 100 megawatt project with up to 46 turbines in Plympton-Wyoming and Lambton Shores. Suncor is following the rules set out by the Green Energy Act, including keeping the giant turbines 550 meters from the nearest homes.

But Plympton-Wyoming Council was concerned about that distance saying there are reports of people becoming ill from the sounds and shadow flicker so close to the turbines. It passed its own bylaw under the Municipal Act to have the turbines two kilometers away from homes. Mayor Lonny Napper says the bylaw was passed to protect residents’ health – which is a duty of politicians under the act.

When the province passed the Green Energy Act, it over-ruled every other type of legislation including local municipalities planning authority, but Napper and other municipal politicians believe the Municipal Act doesn’t fall under the Green Energy Act. Suncor disagrees and is taking Plympton-Wyoming to court to challenge the two kilometer limit and two other bylaws which impose high fees for development and a $200,000 deposit per turbine to deal with the cost of removing the towers in the future. Read article

Plympton-Wyoming looks for guidance from Wainfleet decision

Wainfleet Rally 2 (1)By Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
A court ruling that went against another municipality’s wind turbine setback bylaw could end up helping Plympton-Wyoming, says its lawyer. Suncor Energy has taken Plympton-Wyoming to court over wind turbine provisions in its bylaws, including a two-kilometre setback like the one in the Niagara-area municipality of Wainfleet Township an Ontario court recently said was invalid.

“The decision gives some guidance that wasn’t available previously,” said lawyer Eric Gillespie. He was hired by Plympton-Wyoming to help it defend its bylaws against Suncor’s challenge. Gillespie said the judge in the Wainfleet case said municipalities have the ability to pass bylaws concerning industrial wind projects, so long as they don’t conflict with the province’s legislation.

“The decision also provides direction regarding the way that some of the provisions of a bylaw should be put together,” Gillespie said. “Both of those elements will likely assist Plympton-Wyoming as we move forward for with its bylaw.” Read article

Township council motion calls Enniskillen an unwilling host

CHTHAM KENT ONTARIO  BORALEX FRONT LINE WIND FROM HWY3 TABLOT TRAILBy Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
Enniskillen Township has joined a growing number of Ontario municipalities declaring that industrial wind farms aren’t welcome within their boundaries. Mayor Kevin Marriott said his council passed a motion this week calling itself an unwilling host, and he was at Queen’s Park in Toronto Thursday when Liberal and New Democrat MPPs defeated a Tory bill — 40 votes to 33 — that would have, among other measures, returned some local municipal control over wind projects.

Several wind companies have been active in Enniskillen Township, looking for land to lease for turbine projects, and a citizens’ group has formed there to oppose them. At a press conference in Toronto before Thursday’s vote Marriott spoke about the division that wind turbines create in rural municipalities like his. “The Green Energy Act has been nothing short of a nightmare for our community,” he said of the provincial legislation that took away local municipal planning control over renewable energy projects.

“We feel like our democracy has been stripped away.” Read article

Liberals, NDP ignore wind turbine concerns

QP

Petrolia Topic
A local contingent of municipal leaders and residents of Sarnia-Lambton watched at Queen’s Park in Toronto on April 18 as Liberal and NDP members of the Ontario legislature voted to continue the march of industrial wind turbines across rural Ontario. The Ensuring Affordable Energy Act, a bill presented by Ontario PC MPP Lisa Thompson, was debated in the legislature before the Liberal and NDP members teamed up to kill the act and its central purpose of returning decision making authority for industrial wind turbine developments to local municipalities.

The Act was drafted in response to a groundswell of criticism the Liberal and NDP parties have received since they passed and implemented the Green Energy Act (GEA) in 2009. Several municipal leaders, including Enniskillen Township Mayor Kevin Marriott, joined in a full day of efforts to persuade members of the Liberals and NDP to amend the controversial GEA by voting in support of the solutions presented in Thompson’s bill. Read article

Mayor still confident in wind turbine stance

plympton wyomingPaul  Morden, Sarnia Observer
Plympton-Wyoming officials plan to consult with their lawyer over a recent court ruling that went against another Ontario municipality’s two-kilometre setback for wind turbines. Plympton-Wyoming is being sued by Suncor Energy over wind turbine provisions in its bylaws, including one that also calls for a two-kilometre setback.

The province only requires wind turbines be built at least 550-metres away from neighbouring properties and its Green Energy Act took planning approval powers for renewable energy projects away from municipalities. A Superior Court of Ontario judge ruled Friday the setback bylaw in the Niagara-area municipality of Wainfleet Township is invalid.

“We’ll be meeting, sooner than later, with our legal team and get some advice as to where we should go from here,” said Plympton-Wyoming Mayor Lonny Napper. “I don’t think it would change our stance any.

“I think we felt very confident with the way we presented our bylaws.” Suncor plans to build as many as 62 wind turbines in Plympton-Wyoming, Lambton Shores and Warwick Township as part of its Cedar Point Wind Power project. Read article

Enniskillen mayor skeptical of openness on Green Energy Act

Kevin MarriottManitoulin Expositor
During the Ontario Liberal leadership campaign, Kathleen Wynne promised to give municipalities across Ontario more say when it comes to wind farms, after the Green Energy Act of 2009 took that power completely away. To date my correspondence with the new premier leads me to believe that she is not planning to live up to that promise. It would seem that the common trend of making promises during campaigns and then reneging on those promises once in power is happening yet again.

On March 26 Lisa Thompson MPP (Huron-Bruce) introduced a private member’s bill called “Ensuring Affordable Energy Act” which would give municipalities like ours, and many others, democracy back where it belongs. The residents of many communities have been torn apart by whether or not to build wind turbines in their neighbourhoods. Whether or not you believe that wind turbines are the right answer to Ontario’s future energy needs, there are communities that are willing hosts and there are communities who are not.

There is much anticipation that on April 18, 2013, both Liberal and NDP members will support a return to democracy in Ontario’s rural areas by supporting this bill. With the political climate at Queen’s Park if these two parties do not support this bill, then a spring election would be more than welcome. This is not a bill that concerns whether or not Ontario should support green energy; it’s about having something very important and fundamental to Canadians restored and maintained, namely democracy.

I strongly suggest everyone to contact their MPP and ask them to support this very important piece of legislation.

Kevin Marriott
Mayor Township of Enniskillen

Bluewater asks County Health Unit for health study on wind turbines

Health Studies BEFORE Wind TurbinesLakeshore Advance
At Bluewater’s April 2 meeting, councillors passed a motion to ask the Huron County Health Unit to undertake an independent health study on industrial wind turbines. In a phone interview last week, Councillor John Gillespie said the request would take the form of a letter to the Health Unit, which will be made public after municipal staff draft it.

“We’ll wait and see what comes from the Health Unit,” he said adding, the organization’s mandate says it will investigate concerns of the community through research studies, but ultimately it will be up to the organization to decide if it is something they can do. “It was an idea I had in relation to the role of what the Health Unit might be able to do in relation to industrial wind turbines,” explained Gillespie. “With the mounting evidence locally and in southwestern Ontario with residents living close to wind turbines having issues like sleep deprivation because of low frequency noise and shadow flicker, I thought it would be good to examine the issue on a broader scale,” he said.

Bluewater has three wind turbine developments proposed for the municipality, which are at various stages in the Ministry of the Environment’s renewable energy approval process. “It was appropriate to ask under the circumstances,” he added. Read article

Bill 39: Ensuring Affordable Energy Act on April 18th

lisa-thompsonDate: April 18
Time: 3:30pm-3:45pm
Place: Queen’s Park, Toronto

Hello:
I am writing to you today to inform you that I will be debating Bill 39, the Ensuring Affordable Energy Act on April 18th.

This bill contains six key pillars:

  • Wind turbines will only be placed in willing host communities, and municipalities will be given full veto over wind turbine projects in their communities;
  • Wind power must be affordable—meaning the cost per kilowatt hour must line up with other sources of generation;
  • The costly feed-in tariff (FIT) program will be eliminated;
  • Municipalities will have the ability to decide whether or not they want to promote wind energy;
  • The Niagara Escarpment and the Oak Ridges Moraine will be protected from wind turbines; and
  • Municipalities will receive their planning powers for renewable energy back

I know that issues with wind turbines are important to you. This is why I am inviting you to join myself, and the PC’s for second reading debate on this important piece of legislation. It is estimated that debate would begin on this bill at approximately 3:30-3:45.

If you would like to attend second reading debate, please RSVP directly to Ashley Hammill in my office at ashley.hammill@pc.ola.org. RSVP’s are necessary as security needs to have the names forwarded to them prior to your arrival.

The Ontario PC Party and I appreciate your ongoing support, and we will work hard to ensure this bill is passed.

Regards,
Lisa Thompson, MPP

Enniskillen will wait to impose a two km zone for wind turbines

enniskillen-windHeather Wright, Sarnia Lambton Independent
Enniskillen Township politicians say they’re considering a bylaw to keep wind turbines two kilometers from homes. But Mayor Kevin Marriott says council is waiting to see what happens with two prominent cases in the Ontario courts before acting. There are three wind energy companies going door-to-door in the municipality trying to sign farmers to wind leases. The projects could mean up to 51 turbines in the community.

A new group, CORE – Conservation of Rural Enniskillen – has been formed to encourage residents not to sign on, making it difficult for the wind companies to get the land base they need. So far, the companies have not secured contracts with the provincial government to sell power.

That’s why Marriott and his council told members of CORE at a recent council meeting they’re taking their time on imposing a two kilometer limit – which would be directly opposed to provincial law. Marriott says communities such as Wainfleet and Plympton-Wyoming which imposed the limit are facing legal challenges and are currently in court. A decision on the Wainfleet two kilometer set back is expected in weeks.

“When we hear that decision we thought we’d be in a better position to proceed with setback (requirements) like Plympton-Wyoming’s,” says Marriott adding a larger exclusion zone would be one of the best ways to stop wind projects in the community. “Two kilometers would pretty well eliminate any place in rural Lambton,” says Marriott. Read article

Former mayor joins anti-wind turbine group

O'NeilBy Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
It was the Ontario government’s decision to close the Lambton Generating Station that convinced Larry O’Neill to tear up his Liberal Party membership card. The veteran municipal politician in Enniskillen Township, past county warden, former provincial Liberal candidate and long-time party worker calls himself an independent these days.

The Liberal government’s decision to shut down the coal-fired plant didn’t make sense to O’Neill, just like its Green Energy Act and its rush to build wind farms in rural communities doesn’t make sense to the retired farmer and Chemical Valley worker who spent 16 years in municipal politics.

“I’m just boggled by it,” O’Neill said. “This has got very little to do with a clean environment for Ontario, and it’s got all to do with big money.” He’s worried about the impact wind turbines have on the health of people living next to them. “The question I have for the people who say there’s no health issue with them, is, ‘Would they want a house within 500 metres of one of them?’” O’Neill said he’s also concerned about the impact on residential property values, and the quality of life in rural communities. “I totally oppose the things.” Read article

Warden worried about second wave of wind energy; 900 turbines possible in southern Ontario

CHATHAM KENT ONTARIO ENBRIDGE WIND FROM HWY3 TALBOT TRAIL15Sarnia Lambton Independent
Lambton County Warden Todd Case is worried southwestern Ontario will be flooded with industrial wind turbines when the provincial government offers energy contracts to large companies soon. He wants the provincial government to rethink the green energy agenda before awarding any more contracts to produce power.

Case was recently in Windsor at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Sustainability Conference. He visited a wind turbine plant in the city where the talk was about the province’s next round of announcements for the Feed In Tariff (FIT) projects to large energy companies. Case says industry leaders expect that next round will place hundreds of turbines in southern Ontario and that has him worried.

“There are rumblings from the government there will be about 900 expected in (the region) the second process,” says Case. Read article

Plympton Wyoming Residents air concerns on wind turbines

Sarnia ObserverPWWAIT1

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne urged to meet with rural leaders

Kevin MarriottBy Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
Enniskillen Township Mayor Kevin Marriott says he knew getting a moratorium on new wind farms in Ontario was a long-shot when he hand-delivered his request to the Premier Kathleen Wynne. It was in a letter he gave her when they met up Monday at the Grain Farmers of Ontario March Classic conference in London.

A past-director on the board of the grain farmers commodity group, Marriott was serving as a master of ceremonies at the conference Wynne had agreed to attend. The opportunity to speak directly to Wynne came along as wind company agents have been knocking on doors in Enniskillen and looking for landowners willing to lease land for wind farms. “I put some thought into it last weekend when I knew I might have the chance to talk her and give her a letter,” Marriott said.

It says wind energy development is dividing rural communities. It also ties turbines to high electricity prices the mayor says hurt Ontario’s manufacturers and jobs. Along with asking for a moratorium on new wind projects, while federal health officials study its impact on human health, Marriott’s letter urges Wynn to meet with rural leaders. He said the premier appeared open and willing to consider the request when he spoke to her Monday, but he added, “She stopped short of promising anything.” Read article

Rural municipalities fight wind farms with high fees

NO NexteraJohn Spears, Toronto Star
Two rural Ontario municipalities are putting expensive new hurdles in front of wind farms in their communities. Councils in Bluewater, on the Lake Huron shoreline, and West Grey, about 165 kilometres northwest of Toronto, have passed bylaws squeezing more money from prospective wind developments.

Politicians say they’re trying to protect the interests of their communities, where many people greet large-scale wind farms with apprehension: West Grey, for example, has formally declared itself an “unwilling host” for big wind farms. But the wind company in both cases, NextEra Energy Canada, isn’t going quietly.

It has dispatched lawyers from Torys LLP to both councils to argue that the bylaws won’t hold up under Ontario law. “We believe the law is on our side,” said NextEra spokesman Steve Stengel in an interview from the company’s head office in Florida. In a letter from Torys to the Bluewater council, the company argues that the new rules “would unlawfully impose financial obligations on NextEra.” Read article

Windfall of donations for Plympton-Wyoming/Suncor court battle

plympton wyomingHeather Wright, Sarnia-Lambton Independent
They’re putting their money where their mouth is. The anti-wind group WAIT in Plympton Wyoming is accepting donations to help pay for the municipality’s court battle against Suncor Energy. Suncor is in the final planning stages of the Cedar Point Energy Project which will place about 28 industrial turbines in Plympton-Wyoming.

But Plympton-Wyoming Council balked at the project and its lack of input because of the Green Energy Act. Council passed its own bylaw under the Municipal Act to “protect the health of our people,” according to Mayor Lonny Napper. The bylaw called for turbines to be 2 km away from homes instead of  550 meters mandated by the Green Energy Act and placed large fees on each turbine for decommissioning.

The municipality was served notice of a court challenge by Suncor earlier this month. Plympton-Wyoming has vowed to fight the move, hiring lawyer Eric Gillespie who is known for his work with anti-wind activists. The move was applauded by WAIT and now it will be supported financially as well. “The council is meeting next week to figure out how they are going to pay for the legal battle, says WAIT spokesperson Elizabeth Bellavance “in the meantime, WAIT is going to accept funds on behalf of the municipality.”

WAIT has a bank account set up at the Southwest Credit Union in Wyoming to accept any donations. Donations can also be sent to WAIT at Box 219, Plympton Wyoming, N0N 1T0. Read article

Wind turbine petition heading to Queen’s Park from Plympton-Wyoming

plympton wyomingPaul Morden, Sarnia Observer
Anti-wind farm activists in Plympton-Wyoming say they plan to deliver a petition with more than 2,500 signatures Friday to Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey. The group, We’re Against Industrial Turbines in Plympton-Wyoming (WAIT-PW), has been circulating the petition since forming to oppose Suncor Energy Products’ plan to build up to 46-turbines across a wide stretch of rural northern Lambton County.

The petition calls for wind turbine development to stop “until citizens are property consulted and informed, and the local government processes respected.” Members of WAIT-PW group plan to meet up with Bailey, a member of Ontario’s PC opposition, at 4:30 p.m. outside the municipal office on Niagara Street in Wyoming. “I intend to take those petitions and present them in the House to the minister of energy and formally let him know what the people of Plympton-Wyoming, and the surrounding area, think of their wind turbine program,” Bailey said. Read article

Letters from MPP McNaughton

Plympton-Wyoming hires environmental lawyer

161_gillespieePaul Morden, Sarnia Observer
Plympton-Wyoming has hired a lawyer to defend its wind turbine bylaws from a court challenge by Suncor Energy Products. Mayor Lonny Napper said Toronto-based environmental lawyer Eric Gillespie is representing the town in the suit, launched recently by the company planning to build up to 46 turbines as part of its Cedar Point Wind Power project in Plympton-Wyoming, Lambton Shores and Warwick Township.

Plympton-Wyoming’s bylaws include tough rules for wind farms, including a 2-km separation from neighbouring homes. Ontario only requires a 550-metre setback.

“He came highly recommended,” Napper said of Gillespie who has experience in wind energy cases. “We had a meeting with him and we’re very pleased with the outcome.” Napper said court dates haven’t been set yet. “We’re not pulling back,” he said about the town’s resolve to defend its bylaws.

“We feel stronger about this now than we ever did before.” Read article

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.”

NexterrorBulliesMac 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

Wind companies active in Enniskillen Township

enniskillenBy Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
The “divisive” wind energy debate is heating up in Enniskillen Township, says Mayor Kevin Marriott. Representatives of several wind companies have been approaching Enniskillen landowners, Marriott said. “I would say there are three (companies) involved” with projects proposed for sites across the rural central Lambton County township that surrounds Petrolia, he said.

Wind farms were proposed for Enniskillen several years ago but the issue had gone quiet until recently, he said. “A year ago we thought we were lucky, and now we’re kind of right into the frying pan here.” Marriott said township council hasn’t taken a position yet on wind turbines, or been formally approached by any wind companies. “I’ve been told they are in the neighbourhood talking to landowners, trying to get a feel for what the consensus would be before they do actually approach council.”

Marriott is attending the Rural Ontario Municipal Association conference in Toronto this week where he said township officials are attempting to learn more about the issue. The recent Ontario throne speech, following the swearing-in of new Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne, promised communities would have a say in the location of new energy projects. “We don’t want to rush into a decision until we find out what the premier has up her sleeve,” Marriott said. Read article

Wainfleet rally pics

CHCH News:

wainfleet