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Provincial push for wind projects: “That avenue is available” Suncor

LAMBTON SHORES – When push comes to shove, Suncor Energy officials say they may turn to the province to push through their wind farm project in Lambton Shores.

Chris Scott, Suncor’s project developer, was appearing before Lambton Shores Council recently to talk about the company’s Cedar Point Wind Project. Up to 62 wind turbines will be installed in Lambton Shores and Plympton-Wyoming to generate about 100 megawatts of power.

As Scott was explaining the timeline for the project and inviting residents to an April 19 open house about the project, he was asked by Councilor John Russell about a bylaw recently passed by Plympton-Wyoming Council which called for a $200,000 per turbine deposit and a 2 kilometer setback for turbines from homes.

“We weren’t pleased,” says Scott. “It is a planning regime which is with the province to decide what the setbacks are.”

Scott says he worked with Plympton-Wyoming to design its first bylaw on turbines which had a setback distance of 440 meters so he “was surprised” when the new rules were passed.

“We continue to discuss it with them. Obviously it is a concern. It is not our intention to force things down their throat…we’re continuing to meet with the council to understand that action.”

“You’ll talk to them, but ignore them,” shot back Russell.

“That’s not what I’m saying,” says Scott saying the Plympton-Wyoming rules would mean Suncor could not put up a turbine anywhere in the municipality. “Where are the bookends? One is wind turbines or the other is no turbines at all.”

Scott says Suncor wants to work with communities on the wind project but “there are avenues for Toronto to step in.”

“So if another community did it (passed Plympton Wyoming’s bylaw), would that get your attention,” asked Russell.

Scott said the company would certainly have a discussion with the municipality.

“But ultimately, it’s up to the province,” says Russell.

“I’m saying that avenue is available.”

Suncor was not the only energy company to feel the heat from people who aren’t pleased with turbines coming to Lambton Shores.

NextEra Energy officials were heckled by people in the council chambers as it made its presentation and then, as they left the building, they were accosted by angry ratepayers.

“Take your wind turbines and f— off,” said one unidentified man as he poked NextEra Energy’s community relations officer Derek Dudek as he tried to leave the foyer of the Thedford Hall. “We don’t want your f—ing turbines here,” he said poking Dudek’s shoulder more forcefully before walking back into the meeting.