A few studies will proceed immediately to see if wind turbines are appropriate for Caledon.
The studies Caledon council wants undertaken are for setback, noise and flicker effects. The results will be brought back to a public meeting.
Councillors spent more than three hours on the issue at last Tuesday’s meeting. They heard presentations from concerned residents living near a potential wind project site, as well as a representative from Windy Hills Caledon Renewable Energy.
Andy May told council he was speaking on behalf of five homeowners who live near a potential site in Caledon and he’s the closest homeowner to the wind project location. He said they’ve produced four binders of research information which includes safe and reasonable setbacks.
May said the homeowners believe a public workshop is needed because health and safety issues need to be examined.
“We’re not here to shoot down wind energy,” he said.
He also questioned if Bolton residents were aware of another proposed wind turbine being considered for their community.
Councillor Annette Groves, who represents Bolton, said she wasn’t aware of a wind turbine being proposed for her area.
Another of the neighbours of the proposed Caledon wind project location, Debbie Pendlebury, told Groves that one of the Windy Hills directors said Bolton was being considered as a site at the Dec. 5 wind setback working group meeting.
Dr. Richard Ehrlich, speaking on behalf of Windy Hills, said he wasn’t there as a technical expert, but rather a 20-year Caledon resident who’s concerned about the environment. He was Caledon’s Environmentalist of the Year in 1998.
“We’re in this out of a passion for clean air,” he said.
He added Windy Hills is made up of volunteer community members, not bigwind developers. He doesn’t want to force anything down people’s throats.
“If it’s not feasible, it’s not going to go ahead,” he said.
Ehrlich explained the maximum number of wind turbines being considered is five and they wouldn’t all be on one site. He never heard of a wind turbine being proposed for Bolton. There are only a few spots in Caledon that are windy enough, he said.
Windy Hills director Jim Fonger said it behooves them to look at other sites and a site near the Albion Bolton Community Centre was being considered.
Mayor Marolyn Morrison asked if gravel pit sites have been looked at as locations for the wind turbines.
Windy Hills director Dale Dolan told her the gravel pit owners don’t want them.
Councillor Doug Beffort asked for the matter to be referred because his constituents wanted to discuss it further but his referral lost in a 5-4 vote.
The resolution council passed includes the hiring of a consultant to assess all applicable technical documents and municipal policies and make a recommendation on an appropriate setback for Caledon as a priority. The consultant will be paid from the $50,000 contribution the Town approved for the wind feasibility study.
Councillor Richard Paterak was the only councillor to vote against the resolution. He was troubled by the idea they needed a consultant to do this and didn’t know where they were going to find an unbiased consultant.
“I don’t like wasting money,” he said.
He preferred to labour on without spending money on external forces.
Councillor Gord McClure commented if the wind turbines are going to conflict with five families they shouldn’t go ahead.
Councillor Richard Whitehead said he supports all alternative methods of energy., adding they need to set community standards at the front end of this process.
Morrison said they need to get the information from the consultant because they want to make sure the residents are protected.
By Alan Liczyk
26 December 2007
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