The RM of Montcalm has moved ahead with their plan to change the minimum setback for wind turbines from 300 metres from a residence to 500 metres, despite opposition at a public hearing earlier this month.
CAO Mitch Duval said the hearing attracted 18 people, of which only three spoke up on the planned changes.
Asking for more
All three also wanted increased setbacks, but asked for more than council was prepared to give.
Frank Paetkau, a landowner two miles east of the municipality but in the same project that affects Montcalm told the board he had yet to read a positive article on the windmills.
He asked for a 1.5 km setback, with a variation process if the turbine company wanted to go closer.
Todd Braun also objected to the 500 metre designation.
He presented council an information package, that was also presented to the RM of Rhineland at an earlier meeting.
Braun asked Montcalm council to establish a minimum 1,000 metre setback.
Maurice and Jocelyn Bonin agreed, presenting a letter that also asked for a 1,000 metre setback, while requesting a noise bylaw for the windmills.
Despite the objections, council gave the motion second reading.
What happens now depends on several factors.
“Because we had objections, there’s a procedure that has to go forth to the municipal board,” Duval said.
All those who objected at the meeting will have 14 days to send objections to the municipal board. If the board approves of the motion, the way will be clear for the RM council to give it final reading.
Reeve Roger Vermette said their decision to stick with the 500 metre setback was based on facts.
“We did our research a few months ago,” Vermette said. “Anything over 250 metres was good for sound.”
Vermette said they used the newest available Canadian data to come to their conclusion.
As to the suggestion of having a noise bylaw specifically for turbines, Vermette said it’s unnecessary.
“There’s already noise bylaws,” he said.
Vermette said there’s no way everyone will be happy on the issue, saying some had asked for setbacks of as much as 2.5 km.
“We figured .5 km, half a kilometer, or about one third of a mile is enough,” he said.
Vermette said St. Leon, Manitoba’s only current wind farm, originally had setbacks of only one and a half times the height of the turbine, or 120 metres.
By Greg Vandermeulen
22 February 2008
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding