CLEARVIEW TWP – The township has declared it’s unwilling to host two wind farm projects.
Clearview Township council voted 8-1 to support a motion that states the township is not supportive of WPD Canada Corp’s Fairview Wind Project and Skyway 124 Wind Farm, which are currently in the application process in front of the provincial government.
The motion put forth by Councillor Thom Paterson was to object to any current and future industrial wind turbine projects, but Councillor Shawn Davidson proposed an amendment to have the motion pertain only to the two projects.
“This amendment fundamentally changes the purpose of my motion,” said Paterson who voted against the amendment. “That’s saying we don’t like the specific proponents of the proposal and really the intent of the motion is we don’t want industrial wind turbines anywhere in Clearview.”
The gallery, which was almost entirely full, applauded Paterson for his comment.
Deputy-mayor Alicia Savage – who seconded Davidson’s amendment – says she thinks the motion, as it stood without specifying the two projects, was too premature as it was proposed before the province announced it will be reviewing the current Green Energy Act.
The province said at the end of May it is going to replace the large project stream of the Feed-In Tariff (FIT) program with a system that allows the Ontario Power Authority energy planners and developers to work with municipalities to determine appropriate locations for future large-scale renewable energy projects. The province has stated it will also develop a competitive procurement process for renewable projects over 500 kilowatts, which is called FIT 2.0.
“The only engagement and conversations, discussions, reports and debates that we have had have only been around two particular projects and two specific areas of the municipality – we have not had a municipal-wide consultation process (and) we have not considered any municipal plan,” said Savage. “We owe it to the municipality to not only be a part of that consultation process, but to then have the opportunity to really have an engaged and more wholesome consultation with the entire municipality as opposed to two very particular areas of the municipality.”
Davidson was showered with “boos” from many of the citizens present at the meeting when he defended his view the motion should only pertain to the two proposals because each application should have an opportunity to be reviewed individually.
He responded by asking for respect and to be listened to as he received and considered more than 50 emails from the public on the subject.
After a lengthy debate Paterson asked for a recorded vote on the amendment to make the motion solely about WPD and Skyway 124 projects.
The amendment passed 7-2 with Paterson and Councillor Brent Preston voting against.
Preston had seconded Paterson’s initial motion with the suggestion of a friendly amendment, which was included, that stated the township is not opposed to other future renewable energy projects as long as they are of appropriate scale and go through an appropriate regulatory regime.
After the motion was amended only Savage voted against it, saying she is not an opponent of renewable energy projects and wind farms.
The Fairview Wind Project was previously opposed by Clearview council last August, with a 7-2 vote in favour of a report drafted by Michael Wynia, director of planning and development, in response to the proposal by WPD Canada Corp. to build eight wind turbines in an area east of Duntroon. The report raised concerns about potential health risks, noise levels, the close proximity to the Collingwood Airport, threats to migratory birds, and unknown impacts the turbines may have on ground-level climate.
Paterson defended his position at Monday’s meeting to exclude all industrial wind turbine projects, referenced an online poll conducted by the E-B back on Aug. 15, 2012 that determined 78% of respondents, 130 people, were against WPD’s plans to build wind turbines in Clearview Township and only 22%, 36 votes, were in favour.
In other news from Monday’s Clearview council:
• Council approved a report prepared by the township’s Director of Planning, Development and Information Services Michael Wynia to develop a protocol for a pre-application process of large-scale renewable energy projects in response to changes made by the provincial government to the Green Energy Act.
• The township announced it will be hosting a heritage conservation open house on June 25 at council chambers from 3 until 7 p.m.
• Clearview firefighters were acknowledged by resident Judy Ferguson and her son Christopher for reviving her husband, Wayne, who suffered a heart attack. He was brought to G&M Hospital where his injuries were regrettably too extensive and he passed away. Ferguson thanked the dedicated volunteer firefighters for giving her and her family an opportunity to say their goodbyes.
• Savage put forth a motion, which was seconded by Davidson, to direct staff to prepare a report that would determine a proper application process for events that will be deemed significant to the municipality.
• A recommendation by the General Manager of Transportation and Recreation Steve Sage passed to increase arena rates at 2.5% and $25 per team for the outdoor fields for four years.
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