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Highlands wants turbine project rejected

The Municipality of Grey Highlands is sending a letter to Minister of the Environment Jim Bradley asking the province to deny approval for the Flesherton/Silver Springs Wind Energy Project proposed by Flesherton Wind Energy Inc.

Grey Highlands council at its regular meeting on Monday, August 27 passed a resolution to send a letter to the province asking that approval for the wind project near Flesherton be denied.

Grey Highlands council said the project was first undertaken before the Green Energy Act came into affect. Councillors said in order to locate wind turbines in the area around Lake Eugenia where the proposal would be located – official plan and zoning amendments are required.

Prior to the Green Energy Act, which removed municipal planning authority on green energy projects, Grey Highlands had enacted an amendment to its official plan that would not have allowed wind turbines in the area where they would now be located should the province give its blessing to the project.

In the resolution council said the proponent did not approach the municipality until well into the process and has been told the proposed sites are unsuitable for turbines.

The resolution passed by council states that the project was commenced before the passage of the Green Energy Act, which would make the planning policies in place at the time the prevailing rules for the project.

“This should come as no surprise to the people that want to put turbines in that area,” councillor Steward Halliday said, referring to municipal correspondence to the proponent that said in order to locate turbines in that area of the municipality planning amendments were required. “In essence, nothing was ever approved,” he said.

Halliday said locating turbines around Lake Eugenia is a non-starter.

“We need to make the province aware of the circumstances and ask the Minister to re-consider. We wouldn’t put turbines in Beaver Valley or on top of Old Baldy,” he said.

Deputy Mayor Paul McQueen supported the resolution.

“You can’t have your cake and eat it too,” McQueen said, noting that if the project wasn’t being forwarded under the Green Energy Act – then it should have to follow planning policies that were previously in place.

The resolution passed and the municipality will be forwarding a letter to the province about the matter.