A ban on wind energy projects within 200 metres of the Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River shoreline is among the many recommendations in the final draft of official plan changes proposed for the County of Essex.
Bans would also protect national parks, conservation areas and a host of smaller natural areas, particularly those with endangered or threatened species. The recommendations by the Jones Consulting Group divide the county into four different management areas and requires that proponents show their wind farm proposals won’t harm communities or the environment.
New policies would protect “heritage resources and significant cultural heritage landscapes.”
The visual impact of turbines, that could be 120 metres high, has to be weighed for the impact on scenic viewpoints and landscapes. The general impact of the recommendations would be to push large-scale wind farms with many turbines more to the eastern half of Essex County.
Because of such factors as airport locations and natural areas that have protection, finding enough space for multi-turbine projects would be more difficult, but not impossible, in the county’s western half.
Approval of wind farms within “areas of influence of airports” would require specific Transport Canada and Navigation Canada approval.
The proposals go to a public meeting May 7 for comment before any adoption by Essex County council. Official plans of the county’s seven municipalities could be stricter, but not less stringent than what’s ultimately approved for the county’s official plan.
Within a year of the new policies taking effect, the county is also supposed to establish a “dispute resolution protocol.” The protocol would bring together representatives of municipalities, the public and the energy industry to establish a complaint procedure that addresses natural heritage, noise and other issues raised by wind turbines.
Existing settlement areas would be surrounded by a one-kilometre buffer zone in which siting of larger wind turbines would be difficult.
16 April 2008
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding