Suncor is taking Plympton-Wyoming to court over the town’s wind turbine bylaws, including a requirement they be at least 2 km from neighbouring homes.
Suncor Energy Products has a contract to sell the province energy from the up to 46-turbine Cedar Point Wind Power project it plans to build in Plympton-Wyoming, Lambton Shores and Warwick Township.
The company launched its legal challenge of Plympton-Wyoming’s bylaws in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Sarnia at the same time it’s working through Ontario’s environmental approval process for the wind farm that would stretch from Camlachie north to Ravenswood Line.
“We expected this,” said Plympton-Wyoming Mayor Lonny Napper.
“We’re ready to defend our bylaws.”
Ontario’s Green Energy Act took planning approvals for wind farms out of the hands of municipal councils but Plympton-Wyoming pressed ahead by passing a series of bylaws to control wind projects, including setting its own 2-km setback.
Ontario only requires that wind turbines be at least 550 metres from neighbouring homes.
Suncor spokesperson Jason Vaillant said the company has been working with the municipality on the issue since 2006.
“We have talked to them recently about their bylaws and we feel that they are in conflict with the process that has been laid out for us by the province,” he said.
“We’ve tried to resolve some of this through dialogue and tried to identify how this impacts not only our project but other projects in the area and, unfortunately, that wasn’t successful.”
Vaillant said going to court “wasn’t our intended route” but added, “We thought we needed to defend what we’re doing through legal action.”
Public meetings Suncor announced recently for its Cedar Point project will be going ahead, Vaillant said.
They’re scheduled for April 2, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the Camlachie Community Centre, April 3, 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., at the Forest Legion, and April 4, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., at Watford’s Centennial Hall.
The company has said it would like to have provincial approvals in place so the wind farm can be built and operating by 2014.
“We’ll continue moving forward and see what comes of this action,” Vaillant said.
Along with its bylaws, Plympton-Wyoming council has joined several other communities calling on the province to halt the building of new wind farms until their impact on human health can be studied.
“We think we owe it to the people to protect their health,” Napper said.
“That’s our mandate under the Municipal Act.”
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