Hydro One will be allowed to install utility poles along an unopened road allowance in Wainfleet, but aldermen want it known they’re permitting the action “under duress.”
Hydro One made a request to have the poles installed on Side Rd. 22 earlier this year, council heard Tuesday night from township CAO Scott Luey.
The poles will be used to transfer power generated by Wainfleet Wind Energy Inc.’s wind turbines, proposed to be placed on land off of Side Rd. 22, into the hydro grid.
Earlier this year, council turned down a request by Wainfleet Wind Energy Inc. and IPC Energy, working on behalf of the Wainfleet company and its new partner Rankin Renewable Power Inc., to open the section of Side Rd. 22, between Abbey Rd. and Concession 1, for its use to work on the project.
Luey said a Hydro One representative had visited council and asked for its approval to install the poles. Council denied the request.
But Greg Wuisman, Wainfleet’s director of operations, said Hydro One mentioned that if the pole installation faced any undue delay and the utility company experienced damages due to not being able to fulfil its contractual agreements with Wainfleet Wind Energy Inc., it could sue the township.
Luey said Hydro One has made the request at least three times now and believes it has the right to go in and install the poles without Wainfleet’s approval.
Ald. Richard Dykstra wondered why the power company kept asking council when the request keeps being denied.
“If they have a right to do it, why don’t they just do it?” he asked.
Luey said Hydro One and the township have always had a good working relationship and believed it did not want to escalate things if it could be avoided.
Mayor April Jeffs said it’s pretty clear the township doesn’t want the wind turbine project, but its fight is not with Hydro One.
She believed the power company doesn’t want to fight with the township over the poles and cost it money. The mayor suggested council set a stipulation as to what side of the road the poles go on and allow them to be placed.
Ald. Betty Konc didn’t want the poles under any conditions, and suggested council was being strong-armed by Hydro One.
Still, Konc and the rest of council did agree to send a letter to Hydro One allowing it to place the poles on the road, but with the stipulation they be placed on a specific side.
Council also wanted the letter to stress the township felt it was being forced into the decision.
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