Allana Gillam-Wright and Troy Patterson
Kincardine News staff
Wednesday August 16, 2006
Kincardine News – Enbridge has changed its mind on wind turbine setbacks.
The company announced it will go from 50 metre setbacks from property lines to 121 m, at last Wednesday’s Municipality of Kincardine council meeting.
Scott Dodd, the director of Enbridge’s Ontario Wind Project, said it will cost the company an additional $8 million to meet the final of 16 concerns arising from Bruce County council.
“The movement of the turbines creates a different issue. We’re moving into different flow conditions and we’re going to have to re-test everything, so we will have to start from scratch,” Dodd said.
The county had requested the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) elevate the Environmental Screening Report (ESR) for the project to a full Environmental Assessment (EA) because of the outstanding noise and setback issues. Since an agreement on setbacks has now been reached, Kincardine council unanimously agreed to ask county council to remove its request for an EA. The county agreed to do so at an Aug. 10 meeting of its agriculture, tourism and planning committee meeting.
Saugeen Shores Mayor Mark Kraemer and Brockton Mayor Charlie Bagnato disagreed with the county’s actions. Kraemer thinks turbines should be further back from residences than the proposed 350 m.
“We’re not in agreement with the actions of Kincardine or the county on (the setback) issue … but it’s better than 50 metres, so it’s kind of good news, bad news,” Kraemer said.
Eleven of the 121 proposed turbine sites are in Saugeen Shores.
Debbie Boukydis, Enbridge’s manager of public and government affairs eastern Canada, said the company will now move forward with its 110 sites in Bruce Township and worry about the 11 in Saugeen Shores later. The company is now in the process of repositioning the turbines to fit the specifications of the new setbacks and it will start the zoning bylaw applications for each Kincardine site.
“We’re proceeding with what we have in Kincardine. We’re very pleased Kincardine has supported the project. This way we can start going forward.”
Kincardine council directed its planning department to prepare a zoning bylaw, which reflects the agreed setbacks and a bylaw to reflect an “˜envelope’ approach to the location of the turbines. The bylaws will be brought forward at the Sept. 6 meeting.
Sutton told councillors he now considers all issues dealt with.
Dodd described the movement of the turbines as an $8 million direct hit.
“How do you take that hit? You take it to the bottom line as any business does,” said Dodd.
He said an envelope bylaw will allow Enbridge to recoup some of the $8 million because turbines will be able to be positioned anywhere on the property, so long as they meet the guidelines.
“As long as we are 121 metres away from the side lots and rear lots, all of the noise conditions are met.”
Enbridge will have to provide another ESR to the MOE for the extended setbacks. This will set the project back significantly, Boukydis said.
“It’s still our hope to be able to start roads before the snow flies,” she said.
Kraemer said Saugeen Shores has always been the “˜little sister’ of the project, but it doesn’t mean his council will accept the change outright for a project that will permanently change the landscape.
“I don’t want to see any installations west of Hwy. 21. The lake is our biggest asset. I don’t see any reason why we’d want to distort that view,” Kraemer said.
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