Dufferin County council will postpone approving a $1.4-million agreement that would grant Dufferin Wind Power (DWP) use of its rail corridor.
The wind development company has received provincial approval to build a 49-turbine wind farm in Melancthon and a 230-kV transmission line to Amaranth, which would generate 99 MW of electricity when operational.
In a unanimous vote, county council agreed to hold off on signing the contract that would permit the wind farm developer an easement to run a 230-kV transmission line along about 32 kilometres of the rail corridor.
“I’ve had little time to review this,” said Amaranth Mayor Don MacIver. “I’d like to take it back to my municipality.”
The agreement would see DWP pay the county $700,000 upon execution of the agreement and an additional $700,000 in the form of a “community contribution payment.” The contribution payment would be used for county projects and DWP would be publicly recognized for its financial contribution.
Faced with an expropriation hearing for the land, county council returned to the negotiating table with Dufferin Wind, leading to the proposed contract.
However, the expropriation hearing has been delayed until March 10.
Before the vote, Jane Pepino, chair of Conserve Our Rural Environment (CORE) told council two appeals have been filed following a recent Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) decision that ruled Dufferin Wind’s transmission line does not pose a risk to human health.
Amaranth, Mulmur and Melancthon have also passed motions supporting the appeal.
“We would ask this county to listen to those constituent municipalities,” Pepino said.
CORE filed one of the appeals to the Minister of the Attorney General. Dennis Sanford, president of Melancthon Wind Resistance, filed the second to the Divisional Court.
“If you work on the theory of where there is life there is hope, there is still hope,” Pepino said. “You cannot and should not enter into this agreement tonight.”
Melancthon resident Scott Funston asked council what happened to their stance of not negotiating with DWP.
“I can’t believe that Dufferin County council would even consider going into negotiations with a foreign company that has shown nothing but contempt,” Funston said. “Not only for the council of Dufferin County, but the councils of Melancthon, Amaranth and residents of the area.”
Funston added fencing costs associated with the easement could consume a large portion of the $1.4 million received from DWP. The county is obligated to pay for fence costs requested by residents whose property is abutting the corridor. Funston provided a quote for about $1 million to fence the corridor.
“That quote doesn’t include any gates. It doesn’t include clearing out shrubs or stone or any of that,” Funston said, adding the quote doesn’t include tax. “This is a bare minimum number.”
Funston urged council to proceed with the expropriation hearing.
“We need to show DWP that we can’t be bullied or intimidated by an offshore company that treats the people of Dufferin worse than a third world country,” he said. “I say we fight to the bitter end.”
Amaranth Deputy Mayor Walter Kolodziechuk said a “Plan B” might exist for council.
“We got information and tonight we’ve gotten a whole lot of other information,” he said. “We’ve had an opportunity to hear from these good people who are directly affected.”
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding