Councillors agreed to take action to ensure wind turbine companies respect the Municipality of Kincardine’s buffer zones, yet were not in immediate agreement on how to proceed.
The discussion took place at the May 16 meeting after Deputy Mayor Anne Eadie expressed frustration in not having support of the Ministry of the Environment.
Eadie suggested making phone calls and sending letters to officially express this concern.
“It doesn’t hurt to send more letters,” she said. “Is the province saying to us, ‘you can be hemmed in with windmills’? I want answers.”
Some councillors looked for a more forceful course of action.
“What is the process? What are we asking? What is council hoping to do about this?” asked Councillor Jacqueline Faubert. Faubert said legal precedent had been set, and the municipality should strongly consider seeking legal counsel.
“If there are law firms with expertise, we should look into that,” said Mayor Larry Kraemer.
Kraemer said MPP Lisa Thompson recently brought to his attention that Collingwood is facing similar headaches with their own airport buffer zones, and the municipality might consider joining forces to pursue legal action.
Kraemer worried the munipality’s interests might be overlooked due to technicalities, with the buffer zones viewed as arbitrary. He also said wind companies only need to prove they consulted with area residents, and could argue open houses served that purpose.
Still, Councillor Randy Roppel felt it was in the best interests of the municipality’s future to ensure decomissioning of wind turbines would be guaranteed.
“If it’s a 25 or 30 year project, who’s going to be here? It’s going to fall back on the municipality,” he said.
Councillors ultimately agreed to request a meeting with the Minister of Municipal affairs and submit letters to NAV Canada. They will also seek legal guidance in moving forward to ensure the municipality’s interests are protected.
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