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Council calls for wind studies, 2K setbacks

KAWARTHA LAKES -The city has called for a moratorium on industrial wind turbine development until the effects of low frequency noise and vibration are known. At the very least, it wants two kilometre setbacks, not the 550 m now being recommended.

Energy Farming Ontario and wpd Canada are proposing to build a combined 15 industrial wind turbines in the former Manvers Township.

The moratorium and setbacks were just two recommendations in a sweeping resolution passed by the city Tuesday, following a deputation from Manvers Wind Concerns.

While the city does not have the power to approve or block proposed wind farms, it can provide its comments to the province as part of the Renewable Energy Act (REA) approval process.

A large group of Manvers Wind Concerns supporters applauded council’s stance, which also included: that the province be requested to consider amendments to the Green Energy Act and REA approval process “for meaningful consultation” with municipalities and local communities and that there must be support as a condition of approval and a call for full environmental assessments of Class 3, 4 and 5 projects.

Manvers Wind Concerns’ Dave Bridges and Paul Reid reiterated a lot of the group’s already published arguments against industrial wind turbines during their deputation.

Ward 15 Coun. Gerald McGregor said the motion went a long way in addressing current concerns and thought it could have been even stronger.

He said the city had a role to voice its opinion to the province and the ministry of the environment on the issue. “They’re human. They make mistakes. We have a job to do here. Our staff are doing that, putting the challenges forward.”

Ward 2 Coun. Emmett Yeo said he answered to the Municipal Act, not the Green Energy Act, and it was his duty to protect and represent ratepayers, not the province.

Ward 16 Coun. Heather Stauble said “if we don’t speak up, it doesn’t get on the record.”

Only Ward 9 Coun. Andy Luff and Ward 14 Coun. Ron Ashmore voted against, with Luff saying it was a provincial, not a municipal matter. He said he realized there were a lot of concerns, “some valid, some not and different opinions” but thought some sort of compromise would be worked out. For example, he said the industrial wind turbines may end up not being as big or having blades. He added that the underlying theme for him personally is the future of the planet. “We cannot keep going the way we are going.”