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New wind phenomena on the horizon

Two persons who took part in this week’s Melancthon II Ontario Municipal Board hearing at Horning’s Mills might have served precursors of things that are bound to happen at future such meetings.

The first of those, participant Thahoketoteh, a proud Mohawk who prefers not to use his “colonial name” of Doug Fisher when speaking to affairs of the Six Nations Confederacy, raised the issue of land claims in the Haldimand tract and, by an implication, possible claims to a share of the wind resource.

Similarly, Leo Blydorp, a party to the proceedings, argued that siting of a turbine could interfere with his potential use of his own property to develop a wind farm of his own.

Thahoketoteh, who said he was speaking for the Confederacy, agreed with Hearing Officer Norman Jackson that his interest might be in obtaining a partnership in the wind resource. And Mr. Blydorp argued that he should be compensated for the potential loss of the wind resource.

Lawyer Tim Bermingham said that, at common law, there is no such thing as a property right to wind, sunshine or water.

“Up until now,” responded Mr. Jackson. He said Mr. Blydorp had referred to another municipality where neighbours of a wind farm were to be compensated (Helix in Southgate), and suggested the question is “a new phenomenon” that could lead to claims for compensation in future.

In his presentation, Mr. Blydorp had compared the wind resource to oil and gas. He described wind generation as “a wonderful resource,” and said there’s an opportunity to “do things right. Every landowner should be treated fairly – no one first, and no one last.”

The Mohawk position differs, in that it might be a growing, rather than a new, issue or “phenomenon.”

Although Mr. Jackson accepted a copy of the original Haldimand Proclamation as an exhibit for the hearing, he said the claim to lands on the tract is a federal issue, and the OMB is the wrong forum.

By Wes Keller
Freelance Reporter

Orangeville Citizen

2 August 2007