Dufferin Wind Power Inc.’s announcement of a $5 million gift to Melancthon is misleading and premature, according to the municipality’s mayor, Bill Hill.
On Friday (Nov. 8), Connie Roberts, corporate communications for the company, announced the $5 million endowment to Melancthon during Dufferin Wind’s opening of its Shelburne project office.
“Dufferin Wind power is very happy to announce that there is a $5 million gift to the community that is in front of Melancthon council right now,” Roberts said. “It’s something the company feels very strongly about and is pleased to announce it.”
Aside from the cash covering the 20-year lifespan of the proposed 49-turbine wind farm, few details were provided on the endowment.
“I can’t offer you a whole lot of detail right now until after its been reviewed by Melancthon Township,” Roberts said.
Hill said the money isn’t a gift, but a dollar amount included in a draft agreement with the municipality. The agreement was presented to Melancthon council the day before Dufferin Wind made the announcement.
“There is no $5 million gift that we got. There is no $5 million gift we’ve agreed to,” Hill said. “I’m quite surprised and shocked at the way this was presented to you through Dufferin Wind, but they do continue to surprise us.”
Hill said council, as well as Melancthon’s legal, engineering and planning teams, will review the draft agreement and submit any concerns with the draft agreement.
“We will then prepare a second agreement that we give to Dufferin Wind, on our terms, and we will determine if there is any common ground,” Hill said. “We are also filing papers that it is premature for us to even discuss and enter this agreement.”
He added the money has strings attached.
“It’s contingent on more than us signing it. It’s contingent on us agreeing to an agreement,” Hill said. “It’s quite deceiving to the public at large and quite deceiving to the ratepayers of Melancthon.”
The mayor added the agreement contains errors and missing information.
“That’s one of the reasons we’re trying to go through it and try to understand what the errors are,” Hill said.
Neither Dufferin Wind, nor Melancthon would provide The Banner with a copy of the draft agreement.
Hill emailed his concerns about the $5 million announcement to Dufferin Wind. The company declined to provide immediate comment on Hill’s interpretation of the $5 million.
“We’re holding a conference call now to discuss that email, we’re going to consult and think about what he is saying,” said Mike Johnson, from Dufferin Wind’s corporate communications. “Currently right now, declining to comment, but we will comment.”
Roberts said the company plans to respond to Hill’s comments in writing.
“It was a community contribution. It is a large amount of money being supplied to the community from Dufferin Wind Power, so they can accept the terms of it,” Roberts said. “In essence, it is a gift.”
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