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Grey Highlands considers options after losing appeal  

Credit:  DON CROSBY, Sun Times correspondent, The Sun Times, 7 May 2011 ~~

Grey Highlands is considering what to do following the Ontario Energy Board’s refusal to hear the municipality’s request for a review of a board ruling made earlier this year.

On March 12 the OEB turned down Grey Highlands request for a review of the board’s Jan. 12 ruling saying the request was without merit and that the board didn’t make any errors in its original decision.

On Jan. 12 the OEB ruled that International Power Canada could locate certain of its distribution facilities from the Plateau Wind energy project within some of the public road allowances, streets and roads belonging to Grey Highlands. The board determined that IPC was a distributor of electricity.

On Feb. 16 Grey Highlands appealed that decision arguing that IPC was a producer of electricity and a distributor and that the board had no jurisdiction to determine where on the municipal road allowances IPC could locate its poles and distribution lines.

The municipality argued that the OEB made several errors when interpreting regulations which exempt some distributors from the requirements of the Ontario Energy Board.

In its appeal the municipality also argued that the OEB had over stepped its jurisdiction and also it was wrong in determining that Plateau Wind and Grey Highlands had reached a mutually acceptable agreement over the use of municipal road allowances.

The request for a review of the Jan. 11 ruling was made to the OEB which proceeded by way of a written hearing to determine whether there were grounds enough for an appeal.

In a written decision on March 11, the board ruled that the municipality didn’t present any new material stating that a review is not an opportunity to argue the case and dismissed Grey Highlands’ request for a review.

“The panel finds that the decision and order in the original application did not err in law in its findings with respect to its jurisdiction or interpretation of the definitions considered in the original application . . . the board finds that the motion by Grey Highlands is without merit and that the board did not err in the Jan. 12 decision,” of the panel review the request wrote.

IPC unsuccessfully argued that Grey Highlands motion for a review was frivolous and vexatious and asked that the municipality be ordered to reimburse the company for all of the cost associated with the motion, including legal fees, disbursements that the company has made and will incur.

But the board turned down the request to award IPC costs saying that although Grey Highlands’s case was without merit and while it would be appropriate to require the municipality to pay the costs of IPC and the board associated with the motion it hasn’t been the practice of the board to make such orders in the past.

Grey Highlands resident and wind energy opponent Larry Close said the OEB didn’t deal with the issues brought before it. He wasn’t surprised at the outcome given that the board was reviewing its own decision. He wants the municipality to appeal the board ruling to the Divisional Court.

CAO Dan Best said council is reviewing all of its options after consulting with its lawyer by phone on Friday and is expected to make a decision soon.

“If you look at the thousands of dollars we spent on our study for an amendment to our official plan before the Green Energy Act and then the money that we’ve spent since then dealing with IPC, the question is do we stop and sweep all of that under the carpet or do we go on. We need to know what the best move is,” said Coun. Lynn Silverton during an interview after Friday’s meeting. That decision will be made public on May 9.

Council is also holding a public meeting on May 9 to hear submissions on a proposed motion to revise the 2011 fees and charges bylaw to include entrance permits fees and performance bonds related to industrial wind turbines as well as a bylaw relating to special permits required for oversized and overloaded vehicles related to industrial wind turbines.

The meeting will be held in the council chambers on May 9 starting at 7 p.m.

Source:  DON CROSBY, Sun Times correspondent, The Sun Times, 7 May 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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