NextEra is taking West Grey back to court in its long-standing dispute with the municipality.
It’s the latest effort by the company to secure entrance permits for properties in the East Durham Wind energy project and permits allowing oversize and overweight vehicles needed to transport components for the 14 turbines on municipal roads.
The project near Priceville was approved under Ontario’s Renewable Energy Approval process on Jan. 20. NextEra’s latest notice of motion, filed Sept. 24, asks the Divisional Court to enforce its own ruling of Aug. 14.
A three-member panel of judges ruled then that West Grey’s bylaws governing entrance permits and oversize/overweight haulage permits were inoperative to the extent they frustrate the East project. The Divisional Court ordered the municipality to expeditiously reconsider East Durham’s Jan. 23 applications for entrance permits and Jan. 31 application for oversize/overweight haulage permits or alternately, consider any fresh applications that NextEra may submit.
West Grey was also ordered to pay court costs of $15,000.
West Grey Mayor Kevin Eccles said the municipality made a new offer within 10 days of the Aug. 14 court ruling but it was returned with more conditions.
“It came to us with about six more pages than what we sent. Council appointed a working committee on it and they spent about 24 hours going over it again. We sent it back to them and got this reply that they were not satisfied and were going back to court,” Eccles said Friday.
He said part of the difficulty is getting NextEra to specify its haul routes.
“We can’t get them nailed down on what route they are going to take, what bridges are they going to be on. It’s changed a couple of times now,” Eccles said.
West Grey issued building permits for the project late last month. According to the Sept. 24 affidavit filed by NextEra, each day of delay causes East Durham Wind project to incur significant costs. The project’s Feed-in Tariff contract with Ontario Power Authority includes significant financial penalties if the project is not built soon.
The project timetable has had to be revised several times; there have been changes to deadlines in the construction contracts the company has signed. As well the company will have to incur unanticipated storage costs for project components while it waits to begin construction.
The affidavit also claims the company will also have to pay unanticipated costs for lawyers, consultants and contractors.
Eccles said many of the components of the proposal mirror a similar agreement the company negotiated with Grey County for use of its roads and entrance ways.
“We were doing what we thought was correct by negotiating,” he said. Eccles said the NextEra motion is to be heard Oct. 31 in Toronto.
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