Any renewable energy approval for the IPC/HAF wind energy project would be “premature” says the township of West Lincoln.
Planning director Brian Treble made these remarks in a report to council dated July 16. He said provincial approval would be premature as the proponents have not entered into required agreements with the township in relation to use of township roads and road allowances and a community benefit fund. Treble said to date, the proponents have not even entered into discussions with the township regarding the use of township roads and road allowances. Staff requested council’s permission to notify the province that their support of the project would be premature.
Treble told council last Monday that IPC has met the “bare minimum” of the provincial requirements.
“What is wrong with going above and beyond? Especially in a situation when we have no control,” asked Ald. Sue-Ellen Merritt, who asked that the motion be amended to ask the province for more time to review the application. As part of the approvals process, there is a 30-day public review period before the province begins its review of the proposal. Merritt said that window is not long enough. “Thirty days does not give us enough time to review it again the comment.”
She said the proponents, a consortium made up of IPC Energy, Rankin Construction and Wainfleet Wind Energy, have not been co-operative with the township, noting the council requested information more than a year ago that they still have not received answers on.
“From April 2011 we’ve been asking for all these things,” she said. “And I read through this report, this is not done, this is not done and this is not done.”
IPC’s president says that’s not the case. John Andrews said they have been in front of council more times than any other project developer and that they have even gone when they didn’t have.
“And we made it clear when we didn’t have to be there, that we were there to keep them up to date on the project,” he said.
He said all documents have been on their website and in council’s hands since November 2010, with the exception of the financial documents, which he said are confidential.
“We are under no obligation to give that to anybody,” Andrews said. “I don’t know how much more forthcoming we can be with them. This is clearly a case of councillors, specifically one, who has a bone to pick with the provincial government for taking away certain rights and powers from them and taking this out on the developer. And we don’t appreciate it.”
Andrews said the company does not need to have agreements on road use until the province has given them the green light. He said they have had informal discussions with township staff on the matter but it would be premature to enter into an agreement until they have approval to forge ahead.
IPC has submitted a renewable energy application for its Wainfleet project but hasn’t yet submitted the application for the Caistor Centre project, which proposes five industrial wind turbines in an area described as between Westbrook Road, Twenty Road, Abingdon Road and Concession Five Road in Caistor Centre. He said they expect to have it in the hands of the Ministry of Environment by months’s end. After which the ministry has 50 days to assess whether or not the application is complete. Once it is deemed complete, there is a 30-day public comment period before it moves to the approval stage, which could take up to six months. If the project is approved, the public will have 15 to file appeals.
As for the community fund, Andrews said they found out about it from a source other than the township. Andrews said IPC “is not opposed to discussing anything” but noted they needed more details on the proposed fund. He said they would welcome any discussion on the fund in the future.
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