Wellington North should develop local guidelines for development of wind energy projects, its Economic Development Committee (EDC) decided last Wednesday. The work would be in concert with policies being developed by Wellington County under an Official Plan Amendment (OPA), but less expensive than the township doing its own OPA. EDC member Jim Taylor, an expert in the field of wind generation, has reviewed the county draft regulations and found what he considers to be shortfalls. Mr. Taylor said the county regulations failed to address specific setback issues with regard to how far a wind turbine should be located from sensitive areas. “There was little or no reference to bird migration,” he said. “They talk about being concerned about being beside our greenlands, but they don’t say how far.” Concern at the EDC revolves around the impact wind turbines might have migratory bird routes at Luther Marsh. The regulations also fail to address a process for public input on wind developments. “There’s no specific information on how you would handle public input,” he added. “In my evaluation there were some weaknesses,” Mr. Taylor told committee members. “The way this (county draft regulations) seems to shake out is the county has put together a broad OPA, but it doesn’t deal with local concerns.” An OPA for the township could cost upward of $30,000 to $40,000, he said, while developing guidelines would be considerably less expensive. “We could do an extensive study or just develop guidelines. It’s less official, but it generally carries the day,” he said, referring to local guidelines addressing local needs with regard to wind energy development.
By Kris Svela, Confederate Staff
April 16th, 2008
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