Killaloe Council speaks out on wind issue

January 15, 2009 at 1:10 pm Leave a comment

Killaloe, Hagarty and Richards asks province to impose moratorium on wind turbine projects

The reading of a resolution at a special meeting in the council chambers of Killaloe, Hagarty and Richards Township prompted applause from the large audience in attendance last week. The resolution requests the Province of Ontario to impose a 10-year moratorium on all industrial wind turbine projects under consideration until new medical, economic and environmental studies are reviewed; it also resolved that local municipalities retain the authority to control and direct industrial wind turbine development in their individual municipalities. 
Council arranged the public meeting after receiving Notice of Applications – to amend the County of Renfrew Official Plan to allow wind energy farms on subject lands – from the municipalities of Brudenell, Lyndoch and Raglan and Madawaska Valley. 
“This is a very controversial issue,” said Mayor Janice Visneskie in her opening remarks. 
Over the past year, the township has received a wealth of information for and against wind projects. 
“We have made it our goal to get all sides of the issue,” she said. 
Council has instructed the roads committee, headed by Carl Kuehl, to review the municipality’s roads bylaw to see what can be done to tighten weight load conditions without harming all businesses that use the roads. 
“There are no wind farms proposed for K, H and R, but they may have to use our roads,” said Visneskie. “We have to do something to ensure our roads are not damaged.” 
Lou Eyamie, president of S.O.S. (Save Our Skylines) told council he understood that a transformer would be located in Killaloe, Hagarty and Richards. This was news to council. 
“We have not heard about a transformer in K, H and R,” said Visneskie. 
Nelson Coulas told council he’d heard of a lawsuit in the Kingston area over the effects of a transformer located near a man’s property. Brian Tyrrell told the story of a man living next to a transformer who had his property assessment reduced 50 per cent by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation. 
“He’s planning to go back to MPAC and see if he can get it knocked down to zero,” Tyrrell added, which prompted Councillor Carl Kuehl to respond jokingly, “Don’t say that – everyone will want a transformer next door to get a zero assessment.” 
Local resident Garnet Kranz, who has property in Brudenell, Lyndoch and Raglan, expressed concern over the “stroboscopic effect” that generators situated within a half-kilometre of the 16th Concession would have along the road. 
Councillor Kathy Marion wanted to know what financial benefit municipalities receive from wind projects. Visneskie told her that, on a council-sanctioned trip to visit wind projects in Sault Ste. Marie and Shelburne, she spoke with the reeve of Prince Township (just outside the Soo), and was told the township “got a good deal. The reeve said he would welcome even more turbines.” She said she’d heard that the municipality at Shelburne also received an economic benefit. 
“Municipalities are facing tough times, but they don’t want to raise taxes,” she said. “So I can see why municipalities are looking at this.” 
Visneskie said she was told that all power generated at the Prince Wind Farm goes to Toronto and not to the Soo; she was also told that if there is too much wind, the turbines have to be shut down. 
“If they’re not reliable, why are we looking at this?” she said. She was told that the companies get green grants from the federal government; they also get green tax breaks and are allowed to “sell” their Kyoto points. 
Tyrrell said a major polluter in the United States could buy the company, thereby getting the carbon offsets. 
“Ontario gets to look green and we get all the disadvantages,” he said. 
Discussion turned to moratoriums. Marion expressed concern about the financial stability of wind turbine companies, but was not sure a moratorium was the way to go. Councillor Ernie Cybulski was afraid a 10-year moratorium would not be long enough. He referred to the Blue Box program, stating the province was behind it at first, “but then they said ‘Oops we want out.’ It’s the same with MTO (Ministry of Transport) – they used to look after all the highways then downloaded many of them. Will this happen with wind turbines down the road? Will we end up looking after them when they break down?” 
Councillor Stanley Pecoskie brought up a 10-year moratorium recently passed by the Township of South Algonquin Council. 
“Most of the land in question is Crown land, so will the moratorium mean anything? A moratorium may work for part of our municipality, but about 93 per cent of Richards township is Crown land and we wouldn’t have a say on it.” 
Visneskie said council could “object, and deny, but they have the right to go to an OMB (Ontario Municipal Board) hearing and we could lose. I don’t want anyone to think this council has the capability to shut them down. We can put roadblocks in place, but it’s up to the taxpayers to be vocal.” 
At this point in the meeting, councillors agreed to write up a motion. Following a break to allow Councillor Debbie Peplinskie and CAO/Clerk Lorna Hudder time to write the document, Visneskie read the resolution aloud. When she finished, her words were met with loud applause. 
Nelson Coulas, who has property close to one of the proposed projects, said he was born in Killaloe. 
“This council makes me proud of the direction it’s heading in trying to keep everyone safe. I’m proud to come from Killaloe. I have faith that Brudenell, Lyndoch and Raglan will do the right thing too.” 
Visneskie introduced the motion to council and it was passed in a unanimous, recorded vote. The township will send a copy of the resolution to Madawaska Valley and Brudenell, Lyndoch and Raglan along with a covering letter explaining its decision. Visneskie thanked the councillors for “being proactive, open and for making solid decisions. They took the time to carefully look at this issue. Congrats to Debbie and Lorna for drafting the motion. Well done.” 
By Heather Kendall 
Barry’s Bay This Week 
14 January 2009

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Ontario eyes speeding up wind turbine approvals Bonnechere Valley Council receives letter from resident

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