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CAW to build turbine

The CAW Family Education Centre is about to become the site of the first wind turbine in Saugeen Shores.

The turbine, expected to be nearly 250-feet tall, is exempt from the law requiring a minimum setback of 550 metres due to its approval prior to the 2009 Renewable Energy Approval Regulation.

The issue was brought forth to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), but they ultimately sided with the CAW. Vice-deputy mayor Doug Gowanlock was hoping the CAW would reconsider in light of the complaints from local residents and the growing opposition to wind power in the region.

“I guess I’m disappointed with the CAW,” he said.

“In spite of all of the concerns expressed, and the results of the last provincial election… certainly in rural Ontario, a lot of the sitting members didn’t come back due to wind power issues.

“I think the public needs to know that there’s a 249-foot high wind turbine going out at the CAW and I think they need to speak to those people who are involved with and support and deal with the CAW about that… I’m not sure the public is quite aware of what this thing’s going to look like.”

Deputy Mayor Luke Charbonneau, who currently resides within 300 metres of the proposed turbine site, also expressed his disappointment in the board’s ruling.

“I think everybody is aware of where the council of the Town of Saugeen Shores is on wind turbines,” he said. “We’ve made that abundantly clear over the years. And we made it clear to the OMB, and the OMB and the province of Ontario have seen fit to overrule us and not respond to us.”

In the past, Charbonneau has written letters to members of the provincial government regarding the issue of wind turbines and the Green Energy Act, but most have gone unanswered.

“We did receive a very brief response from the former MPP Carol Mitchell,” said Charbonneau. “We did receive a letter from the premier, who said that he was going to refer it to the appropriate ministers, but the appropriate ministers have not responded.”

The CAW is expected to proceed with the installation of the turbine at 115 Shipley Avenue as soon as they receive a permit from the building department. Based on the response from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, the department will be required to issue the permit once the proper documentation and fees are submitted.