A court date has been set for Suncor Energy’s lawsuit against the Town of Plympton-Wyoming and its wind turbine bylaws.
Lawyers for the company and the rural community that sits next door to Sarnia are scheduled to appear in the Superior Court of Justice in Sarnia, Feb. 26, at 10 a.m.
It’s the first court date scheduled for the lawsuit Suncor launched a year ago to challenge town bylaws aimed at wind energy projects.
They include a requirement that turbines be built at least 2 km from neighbours, while Ontario only requires a 550-metre setback, and that wind companies pay a $200,000 deposit per turbine, to ensure they’re taken down at the end of their lifespan.
Suncor plans to build many of the 46 wind turbines proposed for its Cedar Point Wind project in Plympton-Wyoming. Suncor has a contract to sell power to the province and its project is currently working its way through Ontario’s renewable energy environmental approval process.
The province took planning approval powers for renewable energy projects away from municipalities but Plympton-Wyoming’s town council passed a series of bylaws in 2012 aimed at industrial wind turbine projects.
Suncor spokesperson Nicole Fisher said the legal challenge is a “rare step” by the company.
“We are committed to working within valid laws and regulations in jurisdictions where we do business,” she said.
“In this instance, we believe that the bylaws that have been put in place by the municipality are in conflict with provincial laws that govern the process so we require direction to be provided by the court.”
Kyle Pratt, the town’s chief administrative officer, said that as well as attempting to quash the 2012 bylaws, Suncor is asking the court to declare that all town bylaws passed under the Planning Act “have no legal application to a renewable energy undertaking,” including the Cedar Point project.
Plympton-Wyoming is being represented by environmental lawyer Eric Gillespie.
Gillespie said one day has been scheduled for the upcoming court appearance, but added he anticipates some of the merits of the case will be discussed.
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