March 12, 2013

Tempers flair up at March 5 ACW council meeting

Peter May - Special to the Sentinel Tuesday, March 12, 2013 |

The Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh Township council chambers was standing room only for the March 5 Council meeting, as residents packed the building to voice concerns about the road user and community benefit agreements between the township and K2 Wind Power Project.

Discussion and negotiation has been ongoing and council felt that they had reached suitable agreements that help and protect the community.

Residents did not seem to agree with council, however, and were vocal in voicing opposition, which lead to some heated confrontation in the chambers, pitting resident versus resident, and resident versus council member.

Both agreements were voted on and passed by the three voting council members.

Three others council members have conflicts and don’t vote or discuss anything to do with the proposed K2 wind farm in the township.

Despite the public’s distaste for the outcome, council was left with few options, citing the fact that they had taken negotiations between their lawyer and K2 as far as they could go. Provincial legislation also factored in. The Green Energy Act states that if municipalities do not create their own legislation (road user and community benefits) to make way for green energy, the province will simply step in and do it for them.

Municipal Infrastructure

Councillors received a report from B.M. Ross about the state of several bridges in the township, which are in need of repair, or alternatives. Bridges on Cransford, Lanesville, and Division Line are all in less than ideal condition and already have measures such as load limits in place. All of those crossings lack proper width for a roadway, as farm machinery and equipment is currently unable to cross

B.M. Ross representatives Ken Logtenberg and Kelly Bader were on hand to explain the situation council is facing, as well as provide solutions for the future.

Replacing every bridge would be incredibly costly, so basic solutions with best guess costs were drawn up for council to look over. Putting a substantial amount of money into a single bridge was one such solution, which would leave councilors to decide which bridge would be benefit surrounding residents the most. The most prominent solution suggested was to simply build a brand new and full road. While this solution provided the most benefits, Bader was quick to point out that there were substantial setbacks that could arise, namely from surrounding land owners who opposed the suggested location, as well as from environmental assessments which would have to take place. With budget meetings approaching fast, council deferred the discussion on a solution to a later date in order to first assess the year ahead.

[rest of article available at source]

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