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Setbacks deferred; C-K Council seeking more information

A motion to implement municipal wind turbine setbacks was deferred for more information on Monday.

East Kent Coun. Jim Brown had requested various mandatory distance requirements, depending on whether the property was residential or commercial in nature.

While there are already guidelines from Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment, Brown said much more needs to be done before any more wind farm applications come forward.

“I don’t believe we have formal enough zoning in place – we have to have something firm,” he said. “We should have these setbacks in place before we go any further.”

Brown suggested a minimum of 1.5 kilometres from a residential or institutional zone; 750 metres from an off-site dwelling; 500 metres from a commercial zone; and four kilometres from the Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair shoreline.

He said he travelled the municipality conducting his own research to compile these figures.

However, other councillors believed a more detailed method is needed.

“Find the rationale and the scientific basis for these particular distances,” said North Kent Coun. Bill Weaver. “There was a number just chosen and put down.”

Acting chief administrative officer Gerry Wolting said the municipality couldn’t defend setbacks if they are not based on science.

“We would not be successful in any appeal,” he said.

Chatham Coun. Doug Sulman entered a motion to defer the recommendations and that no wind farm applications come before council until a report is completed on the potential proliferation of wind turbines.

The timeline for the report is before the Ontario Power Authority proceeds with its next round of request for proposals (RFPs).

“In my view, we have to set some standards,” Sulman said. “Are these the right numbers? I don’t know. We need to find out more information.”

Council did approve a 30-day notification period before any meeting in which the holding pattern on a potential wind property could be removed.

Trevor Terfloth

The Chatham Daily News

6 May 2008