Northern Bruce Peninsula has joined the list of municipalities that do not support the construction of industrial wind turbines within their boundaries.
Northern Bruce Peninsula council unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday stating the municipality does not support the construction of wind energy developments inside its borders. The resolution is to be sent to Premier Dalton McGuinty, various provincial ministers, MP Larry Miller, MPP Bill Walker, all Bruce County municipalities and the County of Bruce.
“There was opposition by a lot of our residents and certainly the huge majority of them anyway,” Mayor Milt McIver said Tuesday afternoon. “It’s simply the environmental significance of the Bruce Peninsula and the natural beauty of the Bruce Peninsula as well.”
The resolution passed by council outlined the environmental significance of the Bruce Peninsula, including its status as a world biosphere reserve, its two national parks, the Bruce Trail, which runs its length, provincially significant wetlands, provincial parks, nature reserves and conservancy lands, the Bruce County Forest Tract, Niagara Escarpment and countless environmentally sensitive areas.
“The list goes on and on,” said McIver. “There has just been a lot of effort to try to preserve it and that’s the crux of the resolution.”
The resolution came before council after the municipality received a presentation from representatives of the Bruce Peninsula Wind Turbine Action Group at its last meeting on Sept. 24. At that meeting the group presented council with a petition with more than 5,400 names on it asking the provincial government to immediately suspend any expansion of industrial wind turbines on the peninsula.
“We are so happy,” said BPWTAG spokeswoman Lynn Szymezko. “We have been working for almost four years now to protect the Bruce and to protect our unique area and council heard the voices of the 5,400-plus people who signed the petition.”
Members of the BPWTAG were back before council Tuesday where they presented a personal view of how people feel about the Bruce Peninsula and why they are against putting wind turbines on it.
“We have won this, but we have a long ways to go yet,” said Szymezko, who said receiving the support of council is a big step. “Because of the FIT program there isn’t any applications that are active right now, all these wind companies will have to reapply.”
At least two companies have announced plans to erect turbines on the Bruce Peninsula. Tribute Resources has said it wants to put up 125 turbines in South Bruce Peninsula, while Preneal Canada wants to put up to 75 turbines in Northern Bruce Peninsula. Last month, South Bruce Peninsula passed a resolution similar to the one passed by Northern Bruce Peninsula on Tuesday.
“McGuinty has promised not to put them into communities that say they don’t want them and with North Bruce saying we don’t want them, we are hoping Preneal, Windstream and Tribute hear that loud and clear because the same message came from South Bruce,” said Szymezko.
Last week at Grey County council, top officials with the Niagara Escarpment Commission said industrial wind turbines and the escarpment don’t mix.
Both NEC manager Ken Whitbread and chairman Don Scott said they cannot see the NEC approving the construction of any industrial wind turbines within the escarpment plan area, which winds through Grey-Bruce and ends at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula.
Unlike other areas of the province where Queen’s Park has final say over wind turbine proposals, the NEC can approve or reject applications for wind farms within the NEC plan area. The agency also has commenting authority for projects proposed within one kilometre of the NEC plan boundary.
“That was huge,” Szymezko said of the statements from the NEC officials.
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