The county may lean towards drafting a utility easement agreement with Dufferin Wind Power Inc. for use of its rail corridor, but municipal officials haven’t reached that point just yet.
Dufferin Wind Power Inc., owned by a North American subsidiary of China Longyuan Power Group Corporation Limited and Farm Owned Power (Melancthon) Ltd., asked for permission to run a single pole hydro line along the county’s rail lands from its proposed 100 MW wind farm in Melancthon to the Orangeville transformer station in Amaranth.
“We need an answer from the county,” Jeff Hammond, senior vice-president of Dufferin Wind Power Inc., told the county’s General Government Services (GGS) committee on Monday (April 23). “We really do need to move forward with this.”
The company has proposed two options to transmit electricity from its planned 49-wind turbine project. The first would be a 33 km low voltage power line running through Melancthon, Amaranth, and Mulmur to connect to the grid in Mono. The second would use the abandoned rail corridor.
The company recently held three public information centres (PIC) in Shelburne, Melancthon and Amaranth. According to Hammond, the majority of people preferred the rail corridor option.
“Nobody really liked the right of way. Now, that is not to say there weren’t people who were very positive about using the railroad either,” he said. “For the most part, people felt the railroad solution was less of an impact.”
With the company approaching the county last November, the clock is ticking for the county to weigh in, Hammond explained. He urged the committee to recommend county council begin drafting an agreement, and negotiate a price for its easement proposal.
“We don’t think we could get to a decision unless the county and the committee has something to actually vote on,” Hammond said. “I don’t think you can make an informed decision, until you see the devil in the details.”
The company is willing to pay the county’s legal costs to draft that document, whether an agreement is ultimately signed or not, Hammond said. Shortly afterwards, Warden Walter Kolodziechuk suggested drafting an agreement, but members of the committee pulled back the reins.
“It’d be totally inappropriate for us to go off half-cocked and do anything without having the feedback of our solicitors,” interjected Orangeville Mayor Rob Adams.
Instead of recommending an agreement be drafted, the committee asked Dufferin CAO Sonya Pritchard to provide county council with an update from its lawyers regarding the ongoing negotiations. Council is expected to consider the matter on May 10.
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