East Garafraxa Township has engaged a consulting firm to assist with drafting a comprehensive set of policies and guidelines for creating sources of alternative energy in the municipality.
Mayor Allen Taylor said the township council wants to have the zoning requirements in place “before applications start rolling in.”
An open house is to be held at Marsville at 7 p.m. June 24. Tim Cone of Barrie-based Jones Consulting will be in attendance.
Mr. Taylor described Jones as the “pick of the litter” among consultants responding to the township’s request for proposals. Mr. Cone, in a phone interview Wednesday, said wind turbines make good planning sense when properly sited.
Although Frank Entwistle of Mono two years ago left the general impression in Amaranth that Jones opposes wind turbines, Mr. Cone said such is not the case.
He described his firm as professional and unbiased. “If (the turbines) are in the right place, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be there,” he said.
The right place might take several forms. Mr. Taylor said there had been a company that wanted to place turbines along County 109 from Arthur to Grand Valley, including some in East Garafraxa.
He cited one at County Road 3 and the 11th Line. “There was plenty of wind, but nowhere to send the electricity.” The turbine would have been close to Hydro One’s 500 kv transmission line, but too far away from its 230 kv Orangeville line. “You can’t wire into the 500 kv line.”
In a media release, the township acknowledges that both the provincial and federal governments are pressing rural municipalities to approve renewable energy installations.
The challenge, it says, is for the township “to provide opportunities for renewable energy facilities, including large-scale energy turbines, while ensuring that adverse effects are eliminated or minimized.”
One of its goals would be to ensure that the turbines or solar-energy installations are compatible with existing land uses.
This in the past has given rise to arguments that turbines in particular are not compatible with retirement home uses, although a boon to the farming community surrounding the retirement homes.
The Provincial Policy Statement says wind turbines “shall be permitted” on prime agricultural land, but not in a way so as to interfere with farming operations, and the federal government last year announced a financial incentive program to encourage creation of such facilities.
By Wes Keller
12 June 2008
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