An agreement posed by Dufferin Wind Power Inc. to Melancthon would see the municipality act as cheerleaders for the 49-turbine project.
The contract, drafted by Dufferin Wind, requires Melancthon to “publicly support” the development as well as the wind farm’s transmission system along the former Toronto Grey Bruce railway corridor.
According to the agreement, the town would do “all things within its power to assist the Developer in securing the rights to construct, operate and maintain the Development and Transmission System.”
Mayor Bill Hill said he wouldn’t support the document as it stands.
“I think it’s out of line. We’ve never been asked to do that in any other project. I’m not sure why we’d start now,” Hill said. “The project has to live and die on its own merits.”
Also included in the contract is a “community development contribution” of $4,000 per year per 1.6 MW turbine, $5,000 per year per 2.75 MW turbine and a one-time payment of $225,000 when the agreement is signed.
“The municipality shall ensure that the economic benefit provided by the developer’s Community Development Contributions is publicly recognized each year including participation with the developer in public announcements,” the contract states.
Based on 20 years of operation, the contribution would total about $5 million including two per cent annual interest.
“$5 million sounds like a great big deal, but it’s over 20 years,” Hill said. “They’re not doing us a big favour.”
Dufferin Wind would provide a deposit of $1 million to ensure construction activities and “up to” $2 million to ensure decommissioning activities.
The contract also stipulates Dufferin Wind will agree to dust control as clean up as appropriate, the replacement of damaged trees on municipal property and allowing the township to enter the site in emergency situations.
Throughout the 29-page document “Error! Reference source not found” is a recurring phrase leaving sentences incomplete.
“For the record, there are many concerns with the agreement,” Hill said in a report to council and staff. “Council is not going to debate specifics of it now or at a subsequent meeting because there are so many things.”
Melancthon’s lawyers, planning staff and engineers are currently reviewing the agreement. Council has forwarded its concerns to the township solicitor.
“Once we get our contract back, we will forward that on to Dufferin Wind,” Hill said. “Presumably, they will meet with us and discuss the details of the contract.”
Hill said he isn’t sure how long a review of the agreement will take. However, the municipality is changing solicitor in 2013, due to retirement.
“Realistically, I’m not sure if we’ll have anything before the New Year,” Hill said.
The mayor added he is still hopeful an agreement acceptable to the municipality and Dufferin Wind is possible.
“I don’t know why we can’t. We have in the past,” Hill said. “We’ve done it three times before. If we don’t, I don’t think it’s us.”
Questions posed to Dufferin Wind regarding the contract were not answered by The Banner’s deadline.
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