Flyers being distributed to homes in West Lincoln asking residents to vote for a two-kilometre setback are not from a local opposition group.
Speaking with The News, West Lincoln Wind Action Group spokesman Cam Pritchard said the yellow flyers with the headline “Vote Now!” are not connected to WLWAG.
“That’s not a WLWAG project,” said Pritchard, noting the group is looking into who has distributed the fylers.
The flyer asks West Lincoln residents to pick a side of the wind turbine debate. It asks that residents vote for or against the municipality passing a minimum setback distance of two-kilometres between industrial wind turbines and dwellings.
While the group has repeatedly asked council to pass such a bylaw, Pritchard said they are not behind the new campaign.
“I think people are in panic mode now as they see what’s happening,” said Pritchard, who invites the residents responsible for the campaign to contact WLWAG.
Council’s main justification in not imposing such a bylaw is that it will put the municipality in jeopardy of legal action, which is the case in nearby Wainfleet where a wind developer is suing the municipality.
The two-kilometre setback was the subject of hot debate at the Jan. 14 planning and development, which began at South Lincoln High School and moved back to council chambers after midnight. Discussion lasted until almost 1 a.m. when Ald. Alexander Micallef, who brought forward a motion which, among several other items, demanded the province increase the minimum setback from the current 550 metres to two kilometres, withdrew his name as mover of the motion.
Pritchard said that move has left WLWAG, which plans to speak at Monday’s council meeting, hopeful.
“What we saw and what we saw council do was leave the wind company hanging in the air,” said Pritchard, noting the motion can come back for discussion at any time since there was no vote. “I think they are trying to buy some time.”
WLWAG was to present a list of 10 requests to council Monday, seeking protection for the township and its residents should the turbines be erected. There are two projects proposed for the area, the first a five-turbine project in Caistor Centre proposed by IPC Energy and the second, a much larger, 230 megawatt project which spans rural West Lincoln and into parts of Wainfleet and Haldimand County.
“We don’t want rural Ontario to be industrialized,” said Pritchard. “That what this is, an industrial application. This is why w have industrial zones, because it can be contained.”
He said the group will continue to fight for rural rights and did so over the weekend in Toronto, joining turbine protesters from across the province in a larger labour protest held at Maple Lead Gardens Saturday.
Pritchard said the group is hopeful that a change in Liberal leadership will steer Ontario in a new direction on green energy. He said his group met with Kathleen Wynne, who won the Liberal’s leadership race to replace Dalton McGuinty, who announced his resignation in October, earlier this month and presented her with documentation on turbines and its effects on neighbouring property owners.
The flyers ask residents to cast their vote, yes or no, and email the response to firstname.lastname@example.org. The flyer states the results of the survey will be presented at the next available council meeting.
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