A wind energy project is moving ahead despite strong opposition from the host municipality’s councillors and residents.
North Dundas council recently passed a motion resolving not to support any wind or solar development proposed within its boundaries.
“We are not satisfied with the process and our lack of input on the applications,” explained Mayor Eric Duncan in an email.
Though the provincial government has final say over renewable energy projects, the township is generally asked to weigh in.
Duncan said it’s not nearly enough, and the municipality should have a greater role in dictating solar or wind developments.
“There are many potential negative aspects, such as community divisiveness, health, environment and wildlife concerns, property devaluations and lack of economic benefits to municipalities,” reads the motion, which was approved unanimously in November.
“Therefore, be it resolved that the township of North Dundas will not provide resolutions of municipal council support … for wind power applications.”
The township also pledged to send letters to the premier, ministry of environment, ministry of energy and the Ontario Power Authority, asking them to deny any applications for North Dundas projects.
There is at least one wind turbine development already underway in the township, and another by the Chicago-based company Invenergy LLC is in the early stages.
EDP Renewables also presented to council in recent months, noting they will continue their plans to build in both North Stormont and North Dundas despite the lack of support.
Chesterville resident Theresa Bergeron said she was thrilled with council’s motion, which came after she presented a community petition opposing Invenergy’s plans.
“North Dundas’ decision was good,” she said.
She said she’s been researching other municipalities’ efforts for the same cause, finding one that is considering huge development fees to deter wind energy projects. If approved, Bergeron said she’ll bring the idea to North Dundas council as well.
She said she’s convinced the Green Energy Act has led to huge increases in hydro bills and the exodus of manufacturing jobs out of Ontario, not to mention allowing projects that cause health problems and friction among neighbours.
But she’s hopeful local outcry will keep North Dundas from becoming fields of turbines.
“I don’t think there’s very many farmers who have signed up (to lease their land) in North Dundas,” she said. “…It’s not very viable.”
But Invenergy said they have secured several land agreements and are pursing a contract with the Ontario Power Authority.
“We believe that wind energy projects bring tremendous environmental and economic benefits to host communities and municipalities,” said James Murphy, director of business development, in an email.
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