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Council, WEPAT re-visit turbine committee

West Perth council may consider a small committee to deal with industrial wind turbines.

The consideration comes after Perth County council rejected a request for a moratorium on wind farm development from West and East Perth Against Turbines. Mayor Walter McKenzie told council that following the defeat of the request on April 7, WEPAT will again focus their attention on the lower tier municipalities.

“They would like to come to council again,” said Mayor McKenzie.

He told council he had a lengthy discussion with WEPAT member Tom Melady, asking what WEPAT wanted from council.

“I informed him that we are not going to pass a bylaw that talks about distances because it doesn’t mean anything, the Green Energy Act supersedes it. Melady again mentioned a committee,” he said.

“He would like us to set up a committee with a couple of councillors, himself and a few members from WEPAT to provide a direct line of information to council. I understood when we last talked about this, council wanted both sides represented,” said Mayor McKenzie.

He said WEPAT would also like council to consider a bylaw that deals with health issues.

Coun. Barb MacLean said, “I sympathize with them but they have hours of information and we don’t have that time and we cannot override what the county and the province have in place.”

“It is only fair, if we do form a committee, to have both sides of the fence,” said Coun. Larry Wight, adding “We have pounded this turf so long, what else can we do. To me, it is not a lost cause, but we are not getting anywhere.”

Deputy Mayor Bill French said he went to Wolf Island, where there is a wind turbine farm, and talked to residents there. He said he didn’t find any real opposition to them, but noted how inefficient the turbines are.

He said the turbines had not produced any power to the grid in the month of April.

“That is one of the things that bothers me,” said Coun. Wight, “the inefficiency of them and the other is the division it creates between neighbours and that saddens me. I don’t want that here.”

Deputy Mayor French said he didn’t see that on Wolf Island.

“A lot of it is in an area that the farmers have money coming in that they could never get off the land. You have to weigh everything and I wouldn’t want it here,” he said.

More consideration on the issue will be given when council meets with WEPAT.