PICTON – After a heated discussion and three recorded votes, Prince Edward County council called for a provincial moratorium on electricity-generating wind turbines.
The resolution was brought by Councillor Robert Quaiff at the regular meeting of council in response to the province’s removal of wind turbine approvals and overall decision-making from municipal governments.
The resolution also requested independent health studies and a full environmental study be completed to determine the turbines’ possible impact on affected areas.
Earlier in the meeting, County residents Jason Alford and Don Chisholm made brief presentations to council in favour of wind turbine power.
Alford said the negative health claims regarding the turbines are “unsubstantiated” and this is an opportunity for the county to move towards green power production.
Chisholm produced a study circulated Jan. 28 on the health effects of wind turbines, suggesting council review the new study before supporting the motion.
Councillor Alec Lunn brought forward a motion that council support a North Perth County resolution asking the provincial government to complete further health studies regarding the turbines. The motion carried in an 8-7 vote.
“It is time for this council to take a stand on wind turbine de-v e l o p m e nt in Prince Edward County,” said Quaiff, urging council to join the 70 other provincial jurisdictions that have expressed displeasure with the Green Energy Act.
Councillors Bev Campbell and Jamie Forrester both believed the motion was premature. Forrester felt more public input was needed. Campbell suggested referring the motion to a public meeting to be set in early March, which was supported by councillors Barry Turpin and Barb Proctor.
“Seven years ago, county council determined we couldn’t afford to develop our own strateg y,” said Councillor Brian Marisett. “I am not so sure the Green Energy Act is not working.”
This issue has “torn the social fabric of our community apart,” Quaiff said. “We do not need more meetings.”
Councillor Terry Shortt agreed. “The public has had their voice. It is time for the province to hear us.”
Mayor Peter Mertens said there have been plenty of opportunities for the public to be made aware of wind turbine issues over the past several years. He reminded councillors that while he had attended several such meetings, “I did not see many councillors in attendance.”
Campbell’s motion to defer the issue for public input was defeated 9-6.
Quaiff’s original resolution passed, 9-6.
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