Waging war against wind turbines, Wainfleet and West Lincoln are seeking an ally: The Green Energy Capital of Canada.
Wainfleet Mayor April Jeffs served notice Thursday she will ask regional council to throw Niagara Region’s support behind the two townships as unwilling turbine hosts. That comes a year after council dubbed the Region Canada’s green energy capital.
But Jeffs said she’s hopeful the Region will back its two smallest municipalities in their turbine fight.
“I can’t give up until these things are being constructed. I think every little bit helps,” she said.
“I don’t think I’m asking for the moon on this one. I think, to me, it’s logical.”
The turbines planned for the two municipalities have yet to be built, she said. Until then, she said, regional council’s word could carry some weight in trying to block the wind projects.
The motion struck Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati as contradictory, though. Diodati spearheaded last year’s motion to assume the green capital moniker.
“At one time, (there were) a lot of people who were very opposed to harnessing the waters of the Niagara River to create hydroelectric energy,” he said.
“Our dependence on fossil fuels is not sustainable. They’re not renewable,” he said. “We’re eventually going to run out.”
Diodati said unanimous approval of something like green energy is rare. But he panned the notice of motion as contrary to the Region’s new moniker.
I think that would make us look hypocritical,” he said.
Jeffs chafed at what she called a lack of support from the Region. “West Lincoln and Wainfleet have kind of been isolated on this issue in dealing with it,” he said.
West Lincoln Mayor Doug Joyner said other councillors don’t have to deal with wind turbine “monstrosities” going up in their yards.
He said while some municipalities are benefitting from turbines – Thorold and Welland have recently welcomed wind manufacturing facilities – they’re not popular in west Niagara.
“There is the potential there for creating jobs, we understand that,” he said.
But, he said, “there are a lot of people out there who are not happy about the province’s Green Energy Act.
“I’m not sure if we’re going to get the support or not, but we’ve got to try. We’ve got to be consistent.”
Regional Chair Gary Burroughs declined to take a side, simply urging councillors to stay respectful when they debate the issue.
“We’ve been calling ourselves the Green Energy Capital of somewhere,” he said. “Not only that, we’ve been opening up some very large manufacturing plants in Thorold and Welland. It’s hard to know where we’re going to go.”
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