Kingsville council agreed Monday to allow large-scale wind farms and create a wind farm zone.
Council held a public meeting Monday night on changing its official plan and zoning bylaws in the former Gosfield North and Gosfield South townships to permit wind energy on farmlands. About 20 people attended and no residents asked to speak at the meeting.
Two of five councillors, Gord Queen and Tamara Stomp, were opposed because they wanted to wait to see what the county’s policy will be. The County of Essex is expected to have a meeting on draft policies for wind farms Dec. 12 at 7:30 p.m. at the Essex Civic Centre.
“It’s been a long time getting to this stage,” Coun. Bob Peterson said.
What’s been called the Gosfield Comber Wind Energy project dates to 2002.
In April, Toronto-based Brookfield Power applied to the town to allow wind turbines in the former Gosfield North and Gosfield South townships.
The company is proposing up to 151 turbines over 22,000 acres in Kingsville and Lakeshore. It would be a 250- megawatt project.
A company representative said if the project was allowed, it would mean 36 to 48 wind turbines for 60 to 80 megawatts of power in the northeast end of Kingsville.
If the project was allowed and the company was successful in its bid to sell the power to the Ontario grid, the turbines could be built in 2009.
The company representative told Kingsville council it would mean a $60,000 per megawatt increase in the municipal tax base, money to landowners and 16 to 20 new long-term jobs on top of construction jobs. The company already has agreements to lease land from area farmers.
William Pol, the consulting planner with the IBI Group, told Kingsville the general policies adopted Monday will help council evaluate applications designed for large scale wind farms. He said the wind farms would not be along the shoreline or near urban areas such as Cottam.
The policies encourage wind turbines at the rear of farm properties with reduced lighting and signage. Pol said the minimum setback from a residential zone would be 600 metres. The minimum distance from a house off-site of the turbine is 300 metres. The turbine would have to be 250 metres or 1.25 times the total turbine height from a home on the turbine site.
The policies are consistent with amendments adopted in July in Lakeshore to its official plan.
Kingsville held an open house Nov. 20 on the proposed changes where about 25 people showed up. Four of five written comments received by the town were in favour of wind power. One letter had concerns about the effect on the Jack Miner Bird Sanctuary.
By Sharon Hill
3 December 2007
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