A citizen’s group opposed to industrial wind turbines, has questioned whether a Dutton/Dunwich councillor is in conflict of interest after admitting he signed an agreement with an abutting landowner to allow a turbine to be built on the property.
That was one of several question raised in a one-page letter to Dutton/Dunwich council from Dutton/Dunwich Opponents of Wind Turbines. The letter was a late addition to the June 8 regular council meeting agenda.
In March, Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator announced Invenergy was a successful bidder to build a 60-megawatt industrial wind turbine farm in Dutton/Dunwich.
“The company claimed in their bid that they had received landowner agreements from 75% of the property owners, abutting the proposed turbines,” wrote Jamie Littlejohn and Ric Walford of DDOWT.
The letter goes on to point out that DDOWT heard from a number of affected property owners who indicated they did not sign the agreement.
“Therefore we conducted an informal audit to determine if indeed this 75% claim was accurate,” the letter stated.
DDOWT said they contacted Coun. Daniel McKillop and discussed the issue. He said he had signed the abutting landowner agreement with Invenergy for a turbine to be built on Jim Ford’s property, directly to the north of McKillop’s property.
“We find this to be quite shocking as it had been our understanding that Mr. McKillop had been working with council and the wishes of the majority of the community in opposing a wind turbine project, when in fact his actions seem to demonstrate that he is supporting Invenergy,” the letter stated.
It went on to say McKillop stated he did not receive any payment for signing the agreement and a payment was “generally offered when the the turbines are up and running.”
“His actions certainly would have a pecuniary benefit for Invenergy and for his neighbour Jim Ford, who works for for Invenergy,” DDOWT wrote. “It does not seem though Councillor McKillop is acting in the interests of the majority of the citizens he represents,” the letter stated.
“And while he may not receive monetary payment, there may be other goodwill advantages that he will benefit from if the project goes forward.”
DDOWT wants to know if pecuniary interest or conflict of interest statements were brought forward by McKillip “with regard to his involvement with Invenergy on this issue whenever wind turbines have come before council.”
“If not, we feel this to be an error in judgment in not disclosing this and demonstrates a failure to represent the will of the majority of his constituents who were overwhelmingly opposed to this wind turbine project,” the letter asserts.
Council has referred the letter to its integrity commissioner for review. Dutton/Dunwich council does have a code of conduct.
McKillop was attending a conference and not present at the council meeting when the lettter was reviewed. He was not available for comment.
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