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Huron-Kinloss backs municipal coalition to regulate wind turbine noise emissions

The township of Huron-Kinloss threw its support behind and pledged $5,000 to a municipal coalition to draft, pass and defend a noise-nuisance bylaw targeting industrial wind turbine developments in a resolution passed by council at its Mar. 17 meeting.

The decision follows a presentation at the Mar. 3 council meeting from North Perth Councillor Warren Howard on behalf of a working group of local anti-wind activists and representatives from at least 21 municipalities.

The group proposed a coalition to share the cost to draft a noise nuisance bylaw targeting wind turbines and to defend the bylaw in court against expected challenges from wind companies and the Ontario government.

The proposal relies on a legal opinion written by a lawyer hired by local anti-wind group Huron-Kinloss Against Lakeshore Turbines (HALT). The opinion says that municipalities can regulate industrial wind turbines to protect the “health, safety and well-being of persons” and to curtail “public nuisances” related to noise despite Ontario’s controversial Green Energy Act (GEA), which stripped municipal zoning and planning powers related to renewable energy projects.

Drafting a generic bylaw that could be used in most municipalities will cost between $30,000 and $50,000, and another $250,000 to defend in court, according to the plan presented to council.

The decision follows the lead of Kincardine council, which passed the first motion in support of a coalition and pledged $30,000 over two years at a meeting in January.

According to the motion, the funds won’t be made available until: “an acceptable threshold for membership funding is achieved; a memorandum of understanding is agreed upon among coalition members that includes a written pledge for funding from each member; [and] a plan is presented that included the basic steps necessary to move the process forward, decision-making and administrative structure and methods of accountability in terms of handling funds.”