Things got fired up when Huron East Against Turbines (HEAT) visited council chambers this week.
HEAT spokespersons Gerry Ryan and Jeanne Melady addressed councillors at the Tues., Nov. 5 meeting, voicing a number of the group’s concerns.
Melady said HEAT feels the municipality, and in turn, council, has been more preoccupied with protecting themselves as a corporate entity than serving the residents of Huron East.
“We need this council to look after people,” Melady said.
“Administration is not elected, you are our voice,” she added. “There’s really no excuse for not doing some of these things.”
Specifically, Melady and Ryan said the group are concerned about the municipality’s cost recovery by-law, potential road user agreements with companies who have planned renewable energy projects in the area and the municipality’s appeal to the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT).
Melady said in terms of the cost recovery by-law, council has not done its due diligence.
She asked who decided that a community fund was “more lucrative” for Huron East.
“There is no support for blood money,” she said.
Mayor Bernie MacLellan said to his knowledge no community fund had been negotiated with any of the companies who have proposed projects in Huron East.
Ryan and Melady pressed the issue, with Ryan asking whether CAO Brad Knight had been negotiating with companies without council’s direction.
Knight told QMI Agency after the meeting that while the municipality has requested companies to submit community fund agreements for council, no formal negotiations have been made.
HEAT also said they believe council had failed to voice the concerns of residents to the ERT.
They criticized the municipality’s consultation forms regarding wind turbine projects, stating they made no mention of health concerns.
Melady said because of this, Huron East could not speak on the issue to the ERT.
“The ERT is where municipalities are allowed to voice concerns. You never got to speak on the concerns of the people,” she said, adding that council’s lack of due diligence on this issue was “extraordinary”.
MacLellan responded by stating that the municipality could find no definite answer that health issues where a way they could stop the turbine projects.
“That’s why it was not used,” he said.
Ryan questioned why MacLellan was the only member of council who seemed to speak when they were present, to which the mayor said any member of council could voice their opinion if they wanted to.
Tuckersmith Ward Coun. Les Falconer said the reason he wasn’t speaking is because HEAT members have shot him down in the past.
Ryan denied that.
Falconer said the municipality should decide what is the best way to go forward given the position they are in.
Deputy Mayor Joe Steffler said he didn’t feel it was very “professional” for Melady and Ryan to “downgrade our mayor and administrator” noting things seems to be degenerating into a “yelling match.”
“Bernie has led us fabulously,” Steffler said, voicing his support of council and staff, noting that if someone has a problem with a member of council they should voice it in private, not publicly.
Before leaving, Ryan said he felt council was negating its duties.
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