Plympton-Wyoming has hired a lawyer to defend its wind turbine bylaws from a court challenge by Suncor Energy Products.
Mayor Lonny Napper said Toronto-based environmental lawyer Eric Gillespie is representing the town in the suit, launched recently by the company planning to build up to 46 turbines as part of its Cedar Point Wind Power project in Plympton-Wyoming, Lambton Shores and Warwick Township.
Plympton-Wyoming’s bylaws include tough rules for wind farms, including a 2-km separation from neighbouring homes.
Ontario only requires a 550-metre setback.
“He came highly recommended,” Napper said of Gillespie who has experience in wind energy cases.
“We had a meeting with him and we’re very pleased with the outcome.”
Napper said court dates haven’t been set yet.
“We’re not pulling back,” he said about the town’s resolve to defend its bylaws.
“We feel stronger about this now than we ever did before.”
The proposed Suncor wind farm would stretch from Camlachie north to Ravenswood Line in Lambton Shores.
Napper said he and his council believe there should be a moratorium on any new wind farms in Ontario until a health study being carried out by the federal government can be completed.
“It’s our mandate to protect the health of the people, and that’s what we’re doing.”
Napper said he doesn’t believe the cost of defending the bylaws “will be particularly onerous” for the town, adding he’s heard from residents offering to donate to the town’s legal costs.
“I’ve had a couple of negative calls too from people who think we’re on the wrong track,” he said.
“But it certainly has been overwhelming, the support we’ve got.”
Suncor is holding three public open houses in early April for its Cedar Point project.
An April 3 meeting, originally scheduled for the Forest Legion, has been moved to a new time at the Legacy Recreation Centre in Thedford, according to Suncor spokesperson Michael Southern.
He said the meeting had originally been scheduled for the afternoon and early evening because the legion hall was being used by another group at 8 p.m.
“We heard from the community that time was not helpful for them in terms of being able to provide their feedback to us,” Southern said.
The meeting will now be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Thedford location.
Company open houses are also scheduled for April 2, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the Camlachie Community Centre, and April 4, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., at Centennial Hall in Watford.
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