Wainfleet council and residents aren’t going down without a fight.
At council on Tuesday councillors denied a proposed bylaw that would have leased an unopened road allowance along Sideroad 22 to Wainfleet Wind Energy Inc. The road allowance would have been used by WWE Inc. to provide road access to two wind turbines and a switching station they plan to build south of Abbey Road. WWE Inc. is planning to build a total of five turbines in the township.
“This is one David that’s going to stand to the Goliath of Dalton McGuinty,” said Alderman David Wyatt, pointing out that IPC Energy is only working within the regulations and legislation passed by McGuinty’s provincial Liberal government.
The gallery was packed as citizens came to listen to a presentation by Tom Lewis and John Andrews, from IPC Energy, as they provided an update on the Wainfleet wind energy project.
Lewis pointed out that they were speaking at council under no obligation and requirement, but doing so in order to be as open and transparent as possible.
He announced that this month Rankin Construction Inc. agreed to partner with WWE Inc. to construct the turbines and provide community support.
“This maintains continued local ownership of the project,” he said, adding that Rankin Construction is respected and locally.
Two delegations, Wainfleet resident Andrew Watts and Wainfleet Ratepayers Association member Judith Atkinson, expressed their opposition to the project as a whole.
“We’re asking for our legal rights be respected and protected,” Atkinson said. The Ratepayers Association called for the township to enact a bylaw that would require 2 km setbacks for turbines and a guarantee that residents would be compensated 100 per cent of any devaluation of property values as a result of the wind energy industry.
Ald. Betty Konc directed staff to work with the Ratepayers Association to craft a proposed bylaw, but planner Grant Munday cautioned that such a bylaw would have no base under provincial legislation as the Green Energy Act dictates provincial setback standards.
Both Watts and Atkinson argued that a growing number of experts and researchers are expressing concern about the health impacts to residents who live near large turbines. They also pointed to a move away from wind energy in numerous European countries.
Wainfleet Wind Energy Inc. is planning its final public meeting to be held sometime this spring. If all goes to plan they will begin construction early next year and the turbines will be operations in the summer of 2013.
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