SAUGEEN SHORES – Section 2 of the Green Energy Act states that the act shall be administered in keeping with community consultation. According to Saugeen Shores deputy mayor Luke Charbonneau, the province of Ontario is in contravention of its own act, and is therefore is looking to suspend approvals for the Arran and North Bruce wind projects.
“The province has failed to define consultation in the Green Energy Act and so we have applied a common sense definition to community consultation,” Charbonneau said following Monday night’s council meeting. “The province has committed to actively pursue the community’s consent and permission to erect wind turbines or pursue any green energy project in the community. In regard to the Arran Wind Project or the Bruce Wind Project, the province has received no permission of consent from the municipality.”
Charbonneau will bring forward a motion for committee-of-the-whole to discuss at its March 14 meeting. The notice of motion was given to councillors at Monday’s regular council meeting.
The motion calls on the province to provide “documentation explaining in detail how it intends to fulfill its obligations under Section 2 of the Green Energy Act.”
Charles (Chuck) Edey, president of Leader Resources Services Corp., was in the gallery at Monday’s meeting, after spending the day in front of Arran Elderslie council. Leader is the company behind the Arran and North Bruce projects and would be dramatically impacted by a suspension of approvals.
For Edey, it appears the motion being proposed by Charbonneau is not coming at the right time in the process, primarily because the process has barely begun.
“We see that some body is indicating that they believe that there is not enough consultation happening at the first step,” Edey said. “What I see is, is that it’s unusual that, before you start the process, some one says you’re not meeting the consultation process.”
Moreover, Edey does not think town councillors are in line with neither the province’s energy mandate nor the will of its citizens.
“We see through IPSO and a number of other things that the province as a whole is moving to a different energy sector,” Edey said. “What we see is Saugeen Shores has councillors that aren’t representing the representatives.”
Charbonneau strongly disagrees with Edey’s belief about the views of the residents in Saugeen Shores.
“I’m not certain how he gets that idea,” Charbonneau said. “We just had an election. No one who I’m aware who was elected to this council supported turbines. In fact, some who were elected were pretty adamantly opposed to wind turbines.”
Edey may be relying on IPSO or other national polling sources, but Charbonneau says local numbers tell a different story.
“The public, in every poll I read, including one conducted by my friend over there at Shoreline Beacon, indicates that the public is not in support; everyone I talk to on the street is not in support.”
Shoreline Beacon’s poll, which appeared online the week of Jan. 20, indicates 56 per cent of respondents do not believe there is a place for wind power in Saugeen Shores.
Charbonneau added he did not wish to make his motion an issue of the town versus a business, in this case Leader, but rather ensure the provincial government is sufficiently living up to its consultation commitments.
Councillors did not have any discussion in the meeting about the notice of motion. It will be part of a very large agenda at the March 14 committee-of-the-whole meeting.