Even though there are no wind turbines planned for properties in the township of Killaloe, Hagarty and Richards, that hasn’t stopped concerned residents from voicing their opinions to Mayor Janice Visneskie and the councillors.
The mayor, who is also the warden of Renfrew County, said at last week’s KHR council meeting that she’s hearing both positive and negative comments about wind farms. Her concern for KHR is “whether our roads will be used and what protection we have if they’re damaged.”
She has been asked as warden to step in to stop the turbines, but made it clear she has no jurisdiction. “I’m getting letters saying, ‘You have to stop them,’” she said. “I don’t have the power to do that. It’s a municipal decision.”
Local municipalities wanted to have the ability to make their own decisions on official plans and zoning. Changes to the official plan do have to come to County Council at some point for approval, but “it’s on the basis that we allow local municipalities to make those decisions,” she said.
Applications made to the county for zoning were incomplete and therefore returned, which means the process has not even begun at the county level. Visneskie said the issue will eventually come before County Council and said she would keep KHR council updated.
“My own feeling is if there is not enough of a benefit to the municipality or the county from these wind farms then I wouldn’t think of looking at it, but I don’t have enough information. The only issue for our municipality is road use.”
Councillor Kathy Marion said she’s heard of health issues with lines leaking voltage into the ground; she’s also heard that where leakages occur, there are no worms in the ground or mice in the area. Wind farm opponent Bryan Tyrell, who was in the audience, said leakage was apparently a common problem.
“Our municipality cannot stop another municipality from going ahead,” said Mayor Visneskie. “Our authority stops within our own municipality.”
By Heather Kendall
30 July 2008
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