Suncor Energy was issued building permits for 27 wind turbines it plans to erect in Plympton-Wyoming, after filing a court motion.
The permits were issued in early November, according to the company.
The 27 turbines planned for Plympton-Wyoming are part of Suncor’s 46-turbine Cedar Point wind project that received provincial environmental approval in August.
“There were some challenges in the issuance of our building permits and Suncor filed a court motion to ensure that our project timelines do not contravene our contract with the province,” Suncor spokesperson Jason Vaillant said by e-mail.
He said Suncor’s contract with the Ontario Power Authority requires that it have the Cedar Point project built and operating in 2016, or face penalties.
“However, we have resolved this issue with the Town of Plympton-Wyoming and our building permits are now in hand.”
The remaining Cedar Point project turbines are planned for Lambton Shores and Warwick Township, and both municipalities have issued building permits to Suncor.
Plympton-Wyoming is one of the parties involved in an appeal of the Cedar Point project’s provincial approval, now being heard by Ontario’s Environment Review Tribunal.
Earlier, Suncor was successful in a court challenge of Plympton-Wyoming bylaws aimed at wind turbines.
“We’d been working hard on some agreements, and I thought we were very close to getting them,” Mayor Lonny Napper said about Plympton-Wyoming’s position in talks with Suncor before the company filed its latest motion.
“I was very disappointed when they did that.
“It was almost like a bullying tactic, saying, ‘Here, we’re going to hold a gun to your head, again.”
Napper said he was “surprised and shocked” when the company filed the motion.
“We were negotiating until 11 p.m. with some of their people, and then, bang, all of a sudden they throw that at us,” he said.
“It don’t give you a warm, fuzzy feeling dealing with a company like that.”
Napper said advice council received that said it had no legal reason to withhold the building permits.
But, Napper added the municipality did have some success getting provisions put in place for the removal of the turbines at the end of Suncor’s electricity contract with the province.
Also, an agreement was reached that could see Suncor not require the town to pay it approximately $37,000 in legal costs the court awarded following the earlier legal battle.
And, the company agreed to pay Plympton-Wyoming $14,000 per turbine in fees for the building permits.
That compares to the $1,250 fee Warwick Township charged Suncor for the one Cedar Point project turbine planned there, according to Lambton County’s Building Services Department. It handles building inspection services for Plympton-Wyoming and Warwick.
The ongoing tribunal hearing into Suncor’s project has been adjourned to Dec. 17 when it’s set to resume at the Camlachie Community Centre.
Vaillant said the building permits are an important step in the construction process for the Cedar Point project.
“Once finalized, we will share our construction plans with the community and continue the dialogue with our stakeholders,” he said.
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