The Municipality of Kincardine has passed a motion to use revenue from the planned Armow Wind development to independently fund noise studies, with a goal of ensuring turbines operate within government-mandated sound levels.
The motion, originally brought forward by councillor Jacqueline Faubert on March 6, states that $100,000 per year be set aside to bankroll the tests.
“I feel really, really positive about this motion,” Faubert said at the March 20 meeting, where the motion was ultimately passed. “Here’s an area where we have some say.”
Faubert’s proposal was met with criticism from some members of council, who requested more details on the motion.
“If this is the end result, what would our next steps be?” asked councillor Candy Hewitt. “We have an onus to follow up. Assuming we found contradictory data, what’s our logical or legal recourse?”
Faubert replied the immediate goal was to pass the motion before further developing it as a council.
“As far as how it unravels, there’s even concern right now about the [use of the] word ‘noise,'” she said. “We would have an expertly-crafted RFP [Request for Proposals]. I don’t think we can roll that out now, but work on it progressively.”
Deputy mayor Anne Eadie said she supported the motion, but was hopeful the study would never need to be conducted.
“Ideally if we need it, we can have a totally independent study,” Eadie said. “This allows us to have funds set aside. Hopefully we don’t need it, but it’s there if we do.”
Councillor Ron Coristine also voiced his support, suggesting it could be a way to “alleviate the suffering people are undergoing.”
Despite the positive reception from some of his fellow council members, Ken Craig was still unconvinced the motion should be immediately approved.
“There are just a few logistical issues,” said Craig. “”I still haven’t heard answers to Candy’s questions. If we have five decibels too many, do we have recourse to tell the MOE [ministry of the environment], ‘turn them off’? Are we going to keep testing and testing and testing? Are we binding future councils with budgetary things we have no right to? I understand the intent. I think we have no right to do the sound test.”
Citing Craig’s concerns, mayor Larry Kraemer expressed hesitation in passing the motion. Kraemer also said notices of motion should first be submitted to municipal staff before council can make a decision, and suggesting the motion be deferred until staff had a chance to consider it.
“Staff has a couple concerns that could have legal implications,” he said. “It hasn’t been vetted through treasury. We should have that before it’s vetted to council.”
Kraemer proposed the motion be deferred until council meets again in April, but his request was panned by Coristine and Faubert.
“It’s diluting the democratic process,” Coristine said. “I can’t go with that.”
“The decision still comes from council, but with appropriate advice,” Kraemer answered. His motion to defer the matter until April 3, which was seconded by Craig, was defeated.
“I find $100,000 per annum outside of the range of what we’ve discussed,” said Hewitt. “Where does this figure come from? Maybe the noise model is $50,000, and it’s a one-time deal. I’m not comfortable with where that figure came from. That’s a staff thing.”
The motion was put to a recorded vote, earning support from Coristine, Eadie, Faubert, councillor Mike Leggett and councillor Randy Roppell.
With Kraemer, Craig and Hewitt in opposition and councillor Maureen Couture absent, the motion was passed.
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