Brockton wants to make sure it has policies in place in case the municipality becomes the next hot bed for windfarms.
“Nobody knows anything about wind in Ontario,” an emphatic Mayor Charlie Bagnato told council Monday night while urging his colleagues to agree to his suggestion that the municipality hire a consultant to undertake a study “to define a planning approval framework for commercial wind energy facilities within Brockton”.
The mayor argued the time was right to begin the process. “It takes up to 18 months to get a windmill now, that’s how backed up they are,” he said, adding the turbines made to capture wind energy are made in Europe. “We have this time, so let’s get things in order so we look like we know what we’re doing.”
Coun. Dave Inglis was the lone councillor to express concern about hiring a consultant. “We don’t have the money in the budget for this,” he said, adding that with so many other areas facing the same wind issues, council could simply see how the issue is being handled in other areas for free.
Last month Bruce County council approved 15 changes to its Official Plan that govern wind farms. Also in July, wind farm developer Enbridge Inc. won an OMB hearing that opened the way for the company to begin installing 110 wind turbines in Kincardine Township.
But windfarm opponents say not enough has been done to protect area residents from the noise, loss in property value and other issues related to wind turbines.
Windfarm opponent Tony Clark, who criticized the county’s OP amendments as having “no teeth,” predicted there will soon be more than 1,000 turbines in Bruce and 200 in Kincardine alone.
The county’s planning department will also conduct visual impact studies and look at the noise issue on newly installed turbines. Those studies are expected to begin next year.
Bagnato said it was the ongoing controversy at the county which propelled him to want Brockton to have policies in place before someone comes wanting to install windmills in Brockton.
“We need to do due diligence on this. We’re not delaying anyone by doing this,” he said. The mayor also said that by the time tenders are sent out and a consultant is hired, “the first bill” would probably not arrive until 2008.
The motion to hire a consultant carried unanimously.
By John McPhee
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