A Suncor Energy official told Plympton-Wyoming councillors Wednesday the company is willing to withdraw its lawsuit against the town and its wind turbine bylaws, if the two sides can reach a settlement.
In a meeting held at the request of the judge hearing the case, Jody Hood, a manager of development and engineering with Suncor, said, “We would like this resolved.”
The company and town officials restated their positions during the meeting held before a large crowd in the council chambers in Wyoming.
Opponents of Suncor’s plan to build 46 wind turbines in Plympton-Wyoming, Lambton Shores and Warwick Township set up signs outside the town hall.
Mayor Lonny Napper said the council would speak with its lawyers following Wednesday’s meeting, and respond to Suncor “in a timely manner.
“We feel very comfortable about our bylaws,” Napper said. “It was all done in good faith, the same we do with every other bylaw.”
The bylaws being challenged by Suncor call for wind turbines to be at least 2 km away from neighbouring properties, and set fees for wind projects that include a $200,000 per turbine deposit to ensure they’re taken down at the end of their lifespan.
“You know where we stand with our bylaws, and we’d like to get a better understanding of what you are looking for,” Napper told the Suncor delegation as the meeting began.
Hood said it’s Suncor’s position the setback bylaw, in particular, would prevent the company from developing its wind project in Plympton-Wyoming.
He added Suncor isn’t opposed to “paying our fair share of the appropriate costs” through the town’s building permit and development fees.
“Clearly our recommendation would be, as we’ve stated at the court, to remove the bylaws that prevent us from building wind turbines within Plympton-Wyoming,” and work together on the building and development fees, Hood said.
“Warwick has the same formula and you didn’t challenge theirs,” Napper said about the fees.
“Our discussions with Warwick are separate from our discussions here,” Hood replied.
Christopher Scott, with Suncor, asked if the town would agree to settlement discussions between lawyers for the municipality and company.
“We’ll have to ask our lawyer,” replied Coun. Ben Dekker.
“We feel strongly about our bylaws, as you feel strongly against them,” Napper told the Suncor delegation.
Hood said the company is willing to withdraw its application before the court if a settlement can be reached. He added Suncor is also willing to withdraw portions of its application if a resolution can be reached on any of the individual bylaws.
“It’s not all or nothing,” he said.
Following the meeting, Elizabeth Bellavance, a town resident opposed to the wind project, said, “We’re proud of our elected politicians,” adding she believes council is acting in the best interest of the town.
“We just want to make sure we protect our people, and I think these bylaws do that,” Napper said.
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