Dufferin County council has handed the rail corridor over to Dufferin Wind Power (DWP).
A special meeting was held on Thursday (March 6) after council agreed to hold off on signing the $1.4 million agreement that would permit the wind farm developer an easement to run a 230-kV transmission line along about 32 kilometres of the rail corridor.
In a recorded 14-13 vote, council approved sending a revised agreement back into DWP’s hands.
Orangeville Mayor Rob Adams, Deputy Mayor Warren Maycock and East Garafraxa Mayor Allen Taylor all voted in favour.
The remainder of council and Warden Bill Hill all voted against the agreement, instead, wanting to face the looming expropriation hearing.
Instead, DWP agreed to the changes.
“It’s a done deal,” Hill told The Banner on Monday (March 10).
An expropriation hearing was still set for Monday (March 10) between private land owners.
DWP originally presented county council with an agreement on Feb. 13, but council felt they needed more time to negotiate the terms.
In that time, DWP came back and added more terms to their agreement that didn’t sit well with council.
For example, DWP originally proposed paying the county $700,000, known as a community contribution, if the county agreed.
However, DWP revised that proposal by stating they’ll reduce the contribution by $10,000 each day after March 18 if the wind farm developer isn’t granted entrance and road occupancy permits from the county and all the lower-tier municipalities.
“They wanted the county to guarantee we would give permits from all the lower-tier municipalities,” Hill said after the council meeting. “We can’t do that. That’s not in our power as a county. That has to go, because it’s something we can’t do.”
Since approving the revised agreement, DWP now has been granted a period of 45 years on the land, with the county not able to terminate the agreement until the 25th or 35th anniversary.
“Everyone at Dufferin Wind Power is thrilled with this outcome and the opportunity to cancel the expropriation of the rail corridor,” DWP spokesperson Connie Roberts said in an email.
“The County’s decision is a smart one. The people in this community are already benefitting from the infusion of investment dollars.”
While the easement has been grated, county councilors know this isn’t the end of the battle with DWP.
White sauntered through the gallery looking defeated after council’s decision, but said he hopes at this stage in the game the public will rise higher than ever in a last ditch effort to gain provincial attention.
“I hope that the people stand up and blockade the entrances … until the premier comes to the table and has some reasonable discussion about this,” he said. “This whole thing is draconian and ridiculous.”
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding