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Property owners with turbines will face law suits, opponents warn  

Credit:  Tom Wilkinson, Editor West Niagara News, westniagaranews.ca 25 April 2012 ~~

Signing contract for wind turbine will pave the way for opponents to sue property owners
Tom Wilkinson Editor West Lincoln property owners who allow wind turbines on their property may face law suits from those opposing them, West Lincoln council heard on Monday night. Council also heard that West Lincoln can do more to keep wind turbines out of the township. Several residents took the opportunity to speak out against proposed wind farms in the township. “There is something fundamentally wrong when a small number of land owners in a rural community can enter into a lucrative contract with a private for profit corporation and none of the rules apply,” said Catherine Mitchell and John Dykstra. AD{WL65318599} Sterling silver charms from $30 The two residents, who have been at council many times to protest the advent of wind energy production in the township said that municipal laws must be able to control private, for profit companies that propose to industrialize agricultural land. “Unless the municipal council gets control over the industrialization of agricultural lands the agricultural base of this community will be destroyed,” they said. They reiterated that Wainfleet council had passed a bylaw requiring a two kilometre setback from the nearest dwelling. “This is a legal bylaw and is not in contravention of the Green Energy Act,” they said. After similar requests to invoke a two kilometre setback, West Lincoln director of planning Brian Treble has said that passing such a bylaw would have no effect on wind farm developments, as the Green Energy Act bypasses local zoning. Mitchell and Dykstra read from a legal opinion from Guelph lawyers Garrod and Pickfield. That law firm believes that municipalities can still exert regulatory power when it is for the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of the municipality, for health or safety and for protection of persons and property. Where wind turbines could become a public nui- PANDORA Gift Set April 26 th -May 13 th sance, cause noise, vibration or dust problems or threaten trees and woodlands, municipalities can exert regulatory control. Mitchell and Dykstra told council that the municipality must have the power to control wind corporations and setback. “If council cannot control the industrial development in West Lincoln, then your future jobs will be to rubber stamp initiatives that originate outside this community, regardless of the impact on the citizens of West Lincoln.” Helen Kszan, of St. Anns, also spoke to council about her opposition to wind energy. She said the Green Energy Act has put the burden on residents to prove that wind energy does not pose a health risk. She said that in May, 2011, eight turbines near Thamesville went into production and a local family immediately began experiencing health problems. The closest turbine to the family was 1,146 metres away. The turbines are 85′ high and produce 2.5 megawatts of electricity. “Here in West Lincoln the proposed turbines by the NRWC are 124 meters in height and 3MW,” said Kszan. “Our setback distances are 50 per cent less and the tower is 45 per cent higher. Can the neighbours living next to host farmers rest assured that a single person will not suffer health problems?” Kszan outlined several instances in other municipalities where both developer and host farmer were facing multimillion dollarlawsuits over wind energy. ” In Jan. 2012, the Wiggins couple from Stayner filed a two million dollar lawsuit against the developer and host farmer for the devaluation of their property,” she told council. She said that earlier this month, twenty plaintiffs from Stayner filed lawsuits against developer and the host farmer for $17,000,000 for property devaluation. “Farmers suing farmers is a nasty business,” she said. “It is not unreasonable to assume that lawsuits will be filed in West Lincoln and will be done so without animosity.”
She told council that at a recent Lambton Farmer’s Union meeting, the outgoing president had said that once contracts are signed, host property owners can be sued. He said that even being able to see a wind turbine from an adjoining property could be grounds for a lawsuit.
“The human rights of rural people are being violated all across Ontario and now a long standing fifteen year plan to construct a new hospital in Grimsby has been axed by the Liberal government,” she said. “Will the South Lincoln High School be on the chopping block next?”
Kszan said that no past-council had faced such a challenge as the current West Lincoln council does.
“It is incumbent on council to explore and use every avenue through the Municipal Act to protect the citizens of West Lincoln. It is your mandate to do so.”

Source:  Tom Wilkinson, Editor West Niagara News, westniagaranews.ca 25 April 2012

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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