Huron Kinloss Mayor Mitch Twolan wants a more coordinated approach at the county level toward wind energy development.
“The eight municipalities are all taking different directions. So my suggestion today was to have a discussion and come up with a stand at a county level. Hopefully we can get some discussion going early in the new year,” Twolan said.
“I think if we’re all on the same page somewhat at least we have a path going forward.”
In Huron Kinloss International Power Canada is proposing to build approximately 50 new wind turbines. That’s in addition to 38 existing turbines in the Ripley area.
“We have a lot of people who are opposed to the project and there’s a lot of concerns out there. With regard to the lack of consultation, municipalities and elected officials most of the time are the last to hear about these proposals coming into our own back yards,” Twolan said.
“We have to answer questions from our taxpayers we don’t have all of the answers because we haven’t had any meaningful consultation. That’s the frustrating part.”
“The eight municipalities all have different positions ranging from we don’t want any turbines at all. At the staff level we just want to get some indication from council to what level they want us participating in those discussions with the wind turbine developers and with the local municipalities,” head of planning Chris LaForest said during a meeting of the agriculture tourism and planning committee meeting on Thursday.
Arran-Elderslie Mayor Paul Eagleson said given that the Green Energy Act has removed regulatory planning approval from the municipal and county government if the county wants to develop a protocol it must consult with the municipalities.
Smith agrees that any guidelines developed by the county would recognize the positions of the eight municipalities.
“It’s a pretty touchy issue with many of us . . . any protocol isn’t complete until it meets the satisfaction of the local municipalities,” he said.
For LaForest a protocol would give some framework to dealing with wind developers and make the best of a poor situation.
“It’s obviously a recognition from council that this is not perfect and the question came up that since we don’t have any statutory powers what’s the point of having a protocol, and its a very good point,” LaForest mused.
“What we’re simply trying to do is work within what many of our local politicians feel to be less than perfect regulatory framework for commercial wind,” LaForest said.
South Bruce Peninsula Mayor John Close agrees that having a protocol gives the county some talking points when dealing with wind energy developers.
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