Niagara-on-the-Lake residents will get their say next month on regulations and policies proposed by town staff regarding the installation of wind-energy turbines.
Following an inquiry from a greenhouse operator two years ago about using the renewable energy source, town council passed an interim bylaw prohibiting the use of the machines until a study of the pros and cons of the wind turbines was completed.
A second interim bylaw, passed a year ago, expires in May.
At a planning advisory committee Monday, councillors approved a recommendation from planning director Stephen Bedford that a public meeting be held April 21 on proposed official plan and zoning bylaw amendments to allow wind-energy turbines in the community.
The response from the public at an open house in July 2006 held by the consulting firm hired by the town to study the issue was largely positive.
Almost all of the residents who spoke at that meeting were enthusiastic about allowing the machines to be erected in the municipality.
However, Bedford said some people continue to have concerns about the machines’ effectiveness, noise and shadows. The last public meeting on the issue was held in May 2007.
Bedford noted that the municipal heritage committee does not support wind-energy turbines anywhere in the urban area.
“As wind turbines do have a negative heritage impact, the final draft has been amended to remove the ability to install wind-energy turbines within any heritage district,” he reported, and “to not permit a wind turbine on a designated building or on a building that abuts a designated building.”
The report proposes, however, that single small, medium and large turbines be permitted in the agricultural areas, but not multiple large turbines.
Bedford concluded in his report that “the draft policies build on provincial policy to support the use of alternative energy supplies and provide a balance between … wind energy turbines to be introduced into the town and providing a regulatory framework that manages their location given the idiosyncrasies of this community.”
By Suzanne Mason
19 March 2008
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