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EZT urges halt to wind projects

HICKSON – East Zorra-Tavistock is the second township in Oxford County to ask for a wind energy moratorium until conclusive health studies can be completed.

Mayor Don McKay said council made the decision earlier this month after hearing Norwich Township had done the same thing earlier this year.

“To ask the province to ensure there is safety, there is no harm in that,” McKay said.

But after discussion, EZT councillors did change the original wording in Norwich’s request. The original request asked for a change from the province’s 500-metre setback to a two-kilometre setback.

“We didn’t support the two-kilometre setback. We’re asking the province to investigate. We can’t suggest the solution,” he said.

Under the current version of the province’s Green Energy Act, municipalities have no decision-making power when it comes to green energy projects. Norwich council was prompted to formally write the province after meeting multiple times with members of the East Oxford Community Alliance (EOCA).

The EOCA is a grassroots organization comprised of concerned citizens and neighbours of a 10-turbine wind development proposed for Gunn’s Hill in Norwich Township.

Joan Morris, a founding member of the organization, said the group is encouraged other municipalities are starting to question potential human risk involved with wind developments.

“East Oxford Community Alliance continues to be active and is considering all options available to protect the community and local residents from effects that are occurring in the vicinity of every industrial wind development. This includes the possibility of legal action or appeals if our members choose to do so,” she stated in an e-mail to the Sentinel-Review. “We know Norwich Township council’s resolution requesting a moratorium has been received at the premier’s office, along with similar requests from many municipalities, and the provincial government will eventually be forced to acknowledge the destruction these projects are having in Ontario communities.”

ProWind Canada Inc. is the company working to develop the Norwich Township project and a similar project in the Innerkip-area.

The Norwich Township development received a Feed-In-Tariff contract last summer and is currently working on a report to be submitted to the Ministry of Environment. Once that report is approved, construction will begin.

The project in Innerkip has yet to receive a FIT contract.