After receiving numerous requests from companies wanting township council’s endorsement of their alternative-energy projects, Alnwick / Haldimand Township has passed a bylaw that will charge the companies for the privilege.
A Tariff of Fees ‘for the processing of applications made in respect of planning matters” was passed unanimously by the township council on Thursday, Jan. 10, says Mayor Dalton McDonald.
If charges are more than the deposit, a larger deposit will be required, the tariff bylaw also states.
The charge is $2,000 for developers seeking approvals or support in the development of wind and solar projects, McDonald said in an interview.
Staff and councillors both put a lot of time into reviewing these proposals, he said. This is particularly the case since recent changes to the regulations under the Green Energy Act (which had usurped planning authority from municipalities and precipitated the outpouring of complaints that followed).
A larger number of solar companies, in particular, have been seeking council’s support with the recent Jan. 18 deadline looming for the second round of Feed-in Tariff (FIT) applications under the Green Energy Act, McDonald said.
Provincial FIT applications are evaluated on a point system, and companies receive points when a municipality in which they want to locate a green-energy project supports either the specific solar project or another energy-producing alternative in general. Hamilton Township council has been facing similar requests and will hold a special meeting this week to deal with two of them before the provincial deadline.
In addition to the $2,000 fee, McDonald said the municipality wants to host a public meeting for solar projects in particular because, unlike the development process for wind turbine farms, there is no provincial requirement for public meetings.
Zero Emission People, owners of Clean Breeze Wind Park Grafton, held a public meeting in Roseneath last Wednesday which drew a crowd of more than 100 people to see details of the wind project. Many expressed concerns about the Clean Breeze Grafton-area five-turbine wind farm and another of the same size the company is proposing closer to the Centreton area.
Even with similar meetings held by the developers, constituents complain that they don’t get the opportunity to get all the information they want or to ask questions and provide comments, McDonald said. If the township hosts a meeting, then that will be the objective.
Clean Breeze Wind Park project manager Katie Meyer-Beck told Northumberland Today before passage of Alnwick / Haldimand’s new bylaw that while alternative-energy developers are not bound by the township bylaw, they want to do their best to comply with it.
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