Meaford council is uneasy about being green.
Discussion about participating in green energy projects dominated a brief council meeting that lasted little more than an hour Monday.
In what began as a discussion about a potential solar energy lease for municipal buildings, the council members debated the merits of participating in pilot projects involving all aspects of green energy sources.
“I have continuing concerns about participating in the FIT program,” Coun. Mike Poetker said. “I was told by a local installer that several large projects in the local area have been cancelled because there simply is no more capacity in the Hydro One system.”
“If that’s the case, should the CAO be wasting his time on this?” Poetker said.
“We can’t determine that about the capacity without putting in an application,” answered CAO Frank Miele.
Councillor Barb Clumpus also weighed in on the issue.
“It would be wonderful if we can take the community off the grid,” she said, “but we have to be careful that we understand the ramifications of an agreement.”
Councillor James McIntosh also had reservations about pursuing alternative energy projects, even if they are only for show.
“It’s disappointing the Green Energy Act has turned things into the equivalent of the land grab in the Wild West,” he said. “But right now we have to play the game in the FIT program. If we don’t get that money, someone else will.”
Deputy-mayor Harley Greenfield bluntly told his council compatriots that they “had agreed to research green energy” and the motion to proceed with a potential lease agreement for solar panels was part of that process.
“There’s more misinformation out there than real information,” said Greenfield. “That’s mostly the fault of the province.”
The discussion followed on the heels of public questions about the solar panels and the possible installation of a new form of wind turbine at the harbour.
Mayor Francis Richardson defended that concept, saying the work was in its “introductory investigative stage.”
“The one at the harbour would be for people to look at. It’s a completely different concept, and it wouldn’t be there as a permanent installation. We’re not planning on installing it on a long-term basis.”
Following the debate, the council decided to proceed with exploring possibilities for green energy alternatives, rather than just limiting itself to solar and wind power.
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