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Highlands wants bond for turbines

Grey Highlands council is investigating the possibility of making the developers of industrial wind turbines pay a $20,000 bond to ensure that the turbines pass all necessary acoustic tests.
Council at its regular meeting on Monday, March 26 voted in favour of a resolution asking municipal staff to investigate whether or not a performance bond can be mandated by the municipality to ensure that noise concerns about industrial turbines are dealt with.
The resolution instructed staff to look into the possibility of charging a bond of $20,000 per turbine at the time a permit is issued to ensure that all acoustic testing is done as required.
The resolution stated: “That staff be authorized to investigate the validity of including a performance bond related to acoustic testing that must be done by Qualified Acoustic Professional Engineers by the proponent no later than 60 days after the turbine is put into active service.”
The resolution said the bond would be released once the screening process verifies that there are no issues or risks to the community. The McGuinty government’s Green Energy Act took away all planning controls local municipalities had over industrial wind turbines within their borders. Since the Act passed, municipalities faced with industrial turbine proposals that their citizens oppose, have been searching for ways to get more control over the process. Requiring a performance bond would be one method of ensuring that turbine companies comply with all requirements.
“We would not be asking anybody to do anything that isn’t required under the Green Energy Act. This would put some municipal punch back into the equation,” commented councillor Stewart Halliday.
Councillor Paul Allen said he is concerned that requiring the industrial turbine companies to conduct the testing themselves was fraught with pitfalls.
“We’ve all seen that it depends on which side is doing the study. We see different outcomes,” said Allen.
Members of council did not have an issue with looking into the possibility of requiring a performance bond, but they also noted that the municipality would have to abide by the findings of the acoustic studies.
“Are we going to take their advice even if we don’t like it? Or are we going to spend thousands of dollars fighting these and be no better off?” councillor Dave Kell asked.
The resolution to look into the bond issue passed and municipal staff plan to report back to council on the matter at a later date.