The municipality is recommending council does not grant a reduced load exemption sought by wpd Canada to deliver cement for its nine industrial wind turbine project near Milford.
In a report submitted for council’s Committee of the Whole meeting Thursday, Robert McAuley, Commissioner of Engineering, Development and Works notes other municipalities contacted do not grant reduced load exemptions.
“All who responded indicated they do not grant reduced load exemptions to development or construction projects,” McAuley said. “The opinion generally was that the reduced load restriction was intended to prevent damage to roads, particularly during spring thaw.”
McAuley stated granting an exemption would result in regular, ongoing and intense overweight truck traffic activity at a time when the road is not readily able to support it.
“Additionally, there were concerns that if you allow exemptions for development/construction activity, what stops other types of businesses from making a similar request and creating a Pandora’s Box for the municipality?”
The report was requested by council in March, following receipt of a letter in February from wpd Canada’s legal representative for “an urgent exemption”.
Without an exemption, the bylaw load restrictions would be inoperative to the extent they would frustrate wpd’s provincial Renewable Energy Authorization allowing construction of the project, the letter stated.
Several citizens attended the March council meeting to request council deny the application.
“There’s a reason for the load restriction or it would not have been imposed,” said Anne Dumbrille. “Many County roads are already failing; fixing them is a major expense and uses tax dollars to the detriment to almost all County citizens… Either the restriction is in place, or it is not. None of this should have been a surprise to the corporation. Load restrictions happen every year.”
Councillor Bill Roberts suggested staff should also looking into how the County can better serve its farmers over the same issue.
“It is hard to understand why we would be making a wpd full load exemption a priority when we’re in a situation where importing chicken feed into the County is allowed to be full load and exempt, but our farmers, can’t get their perishable human food out. They’re not exempted from the restriction,” said Roberts. “With wpd we’re looking several thousand trucks and movements in the County on roads that are under stress and our farmers are trying to truck out perishable human food in the hundreds – not thousands.”
There are exemptions in place for the trucking of other necessary items including water and furnace fuel.
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