WAINFLEET – The township wants to hear from proponents and opponents of wind turbines before a proposed moratorium on them is passed.
Two weeks ago, Ald. David Wyatt gave notice he would be bringing forward the moratorium motion after hearing from IPC Energy, developers of a wind farm for the Loeffen family of Wainfleet, and from Skydive Burnaby, its owners Mike and Tara Pitt who have concerns over towers near its drop zone.
Before he brought forward the motion, Wyatt gave council, and residents in chambers, an explanation and rationale for it.
“I’m not here to debate the merits or pitfalls of wind turbines and the need for green energy alternatives. I’m not here to approve of or endorse policies or statues issues by Queen’s Park or Ottawa, whether I personally endorse them or not. I’m not here for the benefit of the Loeffens, nor the Pitts, or for that matter even the Wyatts, but rather I’m here for them all,” said Wyatt.
He said decisions council must make have to be for the overall benefit of Wainfleet, on a long-term basis.
“I don’t mean over the next four, 10 or 20 years, but over several generations.”
Wyatt said turbines are a source of green energy, but questioned whether they would be cost-effective.
“I have heard the negative impacts of the turbines, on health and environmental issues. By the way, if people are really in favour of protecting the birds, protest against the No. 1 killer of birds – glass windows. Neither side has fully explained the pros and cons for Wainfleet that I have seen or heard. My concern is to look after the interests of Wainfleet, other interested parties beyond that are secondary.”
The alderman also spoke about Skydive Burnaby and its attraction in terms of tourism for the township and the business tax it generates. He said the perception the wind turbines are dangerous to skydivers could cause many to stay away and hurt the business.
Wyatt said property values, which he said he believes are far beyond what they should be, could also be affected and that in turn could hurt the township in terms of its tax base.
“If people want to sell me on the benefits of wind turbines in Wainfleet, convince me that they are an economic benefit that matches with our goals and aspirations as a community, that our recreation and tourism business can grow and develop, that our tax revenues will actually increase not decrease. If you want to be part of the community, it has to be a win-win relationship, not you win, we lose.”
Wyatt said his motion was for a halt on wind turbine development – not a stop. He said there are many questions he needs answered and studies done to determine if they are the right course for Wainfleet for now and generations to come.
Ald. Ted Hessels agreed with Wyatt, but wanted to have a meeting where wind turbine proponents and opponents could speak and an open mic session where people could ask questions.
“I want to get all sides and see what Wainfleet really wants. We’re getting pulled both ways here,” said Hessels, who wanted the meeting before Wyatt’s motion was brought forward.
Wyatt’s motion will come before council at its Tuesday, Feb. 8 meeting.
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