The deputy-mayor of Saugeen Shores wants approvals for two wind turbine projects suspended over what he contends are shortcomings in the provincial public consultation process.
Luke Charbonneau says the province is in contravention of its own Green Energy Act, which says in Section 2 that the act shall be administered in keeping with community consultation.
“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 after 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 or consent from the municipality.”
Charbonneau will bring forward a motion for council’s 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.
Edey noted the process has barely begun.
“We see that somebody 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, someone says you’re not meeting the consultation process.”
Edey does not think town councillors are in line with the province’s energy mandate or the will of citizens.
“We see through IPSO (polling) 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 [citizens].”
Charbonneau strongly disagreed with Edey’s belief about the views of 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 . . . indicates that the public is not in support; everyone I talk to on the street is not in support.”
Charbonneau said he did not want to make his motion an issue of the town versus a business, in this case Leader. He wants to ensure the provincial government is living up to its consultation commitments.
Councillors did not have any discussion about the notice of motion. It will be part of a very large agenda at the March 14 committee of the whole meeting.
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