GREY HIGHLANDS – International Power Canada is threatening to sue the Municipality of Grey Highlands for delaying the building permits for its industrial wind turbine project.
IPC Vice-President David Timm spoke to Grey Highlands council at its regular meeting held on Friday morning (April 29).
Timm told council that IPC has done a lot of work on its turbine project and that the delays by the municipality are threatening to cost the company a lot of money. IPC wants to build 11 industrial wind turbines as part of its Plateau Wind Power project.
“We call upon the mayor and council to cease its attempts to frustrate the issuance of these permits and to allow its officials to process our applications in accordance with applicable law,” said Timm. “If the permits are not issued promptly we will be forced to seek relief through the courts,” he said, adding that IPC would seek damages from the municipality.
IPC is objecting to the Municipality of Grey Highlands’ recent move to put in place whopping increases for the costs of building permits for industrial wind turbines. Grey Highlands council recently passed a bylaw to increase the permit fee from $9,000 per turbine to $35,000 per turbine, plus $100,000 as a performance bond per turbine.
Grey Highlands will also hold a public meeting on May 9 to consider a major hike in the turbine entrance permit fee and related securities.
Timm said IPC applied for its permits in June 7, 2010 and the company believes its project is not subject to the new fee schedule recently adopted by the municipality.
“My comments today are intended to express our frustration and serious concern with respect to the actions that council has taken to prevent the issuance of building and entrance permits for the construction of the Plateau project,” he said. “We have consistently sought to work with the municipality by responding positively to council’s requests only to have further impediments placed in our way. When we acquired this project from Chinodin Wind there was no indication that the municipality did not want wind power development,” said Timm.
IPC, Timm said, has consistently sought to follow the Grey Highlands planning requirements for the project – even though the company is not required to do so under the Green Energy Act. He also pointed out that IPC negotiated a generous road use agreement only to see it rejected by council.
“The costs of these delays are now very significant and will begin to rise exponentially with the arrival of the wind turbines in June/July,” said Timm. “These exorbitant new fees and related actions seem to us to be very much targeted at frustrating the Plateau project,” he said.
Members of council did not respond to the Timm’s presentation. Later in the meeting council did go in-camera to receive information from its lawyer about the wind turbine issue.
“The municipality doesn’t have any response at this time to the accusations,” CAO Dan Best said during a brief interview during a break in the meeting.
Local resident Lorrie Gillis attended the meeting and watched the presentation from IPC.
“This is not community consultation. This is bullying of the municipality. It’s forcing this upon people that don’t want it,” said Gillis.
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