West Grey council has delayed a decision on an application by a wind energy developer to put towers up on two properties in the municipality. The delay allows three years to study wind conditions.
The data collection is required to determine the suitability of the area for the development of wind energy projects and also to secure funding for any future wind energy development.
The request was made on behalf of FPLE (Florida Power Light Energy) Canadian Wind ULC to set up a temporary tower at Part Lot 56, Conc. 2 north of Grey Road 4 in the former Bentinck Township on property belonging to Paul and Connie Reay.
The second tower is for Part Lot 25, Conc. 1 north of the Durham Road in the former Glenelg township on property belonging to Ruth and David Hartley.
Coun. Carol Lawrence reminded Mayor Kevin Eccles of a promise made to council several months ago for discussion on the implications of wind energy development in West Grey before any decisions are made on direction or policy.
“Without the discussion, is this application misleading people?” asked Coun. Bev Cutting, who added council hasn’t agreed on any policy to guide the development of wind energy.
Eccles said developers are aware the municipality doesn’t have any policies governing wind energy and any plans they make are at their own risk.
Andrew Saari, who along with his wife Hilary, recently bought a property next door to the proposed tower site in the former Bentinck township, told council they wouldn’t have bought that property if they had known of the possibility of having a wind turbine farm in their back yard.
“We feel we were not properly informed . . . and had we known these details, we would not have relocated here,” said Saari, who said he plans to object to any proposed wind development project. The couple have recently moved from the Chapleau region of northern Ontario.
Resident Bob Miller asked council why Grey County doesn’t have policies for wind energy development that would apply across the county rather than each municipality having to establish their own regulations.
Eccles asked staff to have a spokesperson for FPLE Canadian Wind ULC make a presentation at a committee of the whole meeting. That would form the basis for a discussion on where the municipality wants to go on alternative energy development.
In the meantime, both applications to install meteorological towers have been deferred.
By Don Crosby
Sun Times correspondent
27 August 2007