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Road access agreement approved with single-turbine wind farm operator

MAPLETON – Township council has approved a road access agreement with the developer of a single-turbine wind farm near Teviotdale, over the objection of two of its members.

CAO Patty Sinnamon, in a report to Mapleton council at its Sept. 9 meeting, noted council has previously declined to enter development and road access agreements based on an earlier resolution requesting the province place a moratorium on wind farm development.

Last April Willem Roubos received a Renewable Energy Approval to construct a wind farm consisting of a single 0.5-megawatt wind turbine at Lot 2, Concession 13.

One of the conditions of approval, Sinnamon pointed out, is that the proponent must enter into a road access agreement with the municipality.

“Roubos has submitted a traffic management plan which has been reviewed by the director of public works, with no concerns,” the report states.

Councillor Andy Knetsch opposed approving the access agreement.

“With all due respect to this approval, we as a council supported an earlier resolution to request the province place a moratorium on wind farm development,” said Knetsch.

Mayor Bruce Whale replied, “We don’t have final approval on the wind farm project, but we do have final approval on the road project.

“This is an opportunity to have an agreement at least on the use of our roads.”

Councillor Neil Driscoll pointed out the township actually gave zoning approval for the project several years ago.

“Wasn’t it in 2010 we approved the zoning for this?,” said Driscoll.

“It was approved at a township level for that windmill to be put there, it’s just taken this long,” Driscoll added.

Sinnamon explained the zoning decision by Mapleton actually pre-dates implementation of the Green Energy Act, under which the province eliminated municipal authority for approving or rejecting such projects.

A motion to receive the report was approved by a 3-2 margin, with Knetsch and councillor Jim Curry opposed.

Later in the meeting, council passed a bylaw authorizing the road access agreement, again with Knetsch and Curry opposed.