by Harvey Wrightman
The recent Ontario Good Roads Association/Rural Ontario Municipal Association(OGRA/ROMA) conference chose it’s presenters for something other than insight. Listening to the self-absorbed mayor of Chatham/Kent, Randy Hope, I had the sudden feeling of wanting to flee the room. Here’s a taste of him for starters:
“I’ve dealt with the people who claim the wind turbine has created obesity. I’ve created the issue about the birds and the bees and the bats. And, trust me, we’ve dealt with every health standard – even the Federal government’s ploy to divert the attention around the pipeline and put the health study on the wind turbines. Done, completed and no issue. And even recently I had somebody complain about my wind turbines too close to my airport. And which I found was pretty ridiculous and it was politically motivated. But you know at the end of the day, Transport Canada, my pilots, and NAVCAN all agreed there is no unsafe condition that is applied to my airport in my community.
Phew! That’s a lot of first person ego to deal with at one sitting. It’s a bit hard to decipher exactly where he’s headed but I’ll bet you can guess already.
“I’m not trying to convince you to support wind, that’s your personal choice. But I hear, “Why am I providing power to Toronto… There’s a “community benefit program” we put in place based on the size of the project, so we have it going into a community foundation fund… (which) has specific areas in which that money needs to be utilized for – which follows the lines which the community is trying to do???”
Ahhh! – It’s the Money!!! Hang on.
So we have the community strategic fund which the monies go into. We also have the tax revenues which are associated to it. We probably get about $3500 for industrial tax base which comes from each turbine based on the size of megawatts that are there…and currently we are looking at from a municipal point of view is to actually invest in it. Payback in return over the investment years that are there. We have some companies that we still have areas that we’re probably dealing. I probably have availability for another 120 turbines in Chatham/Kent, and we’re looking at ownership in one of those and there’s ways to formulate that it doesn’t cost me nothing but I get revenues from. So those are formulas in which we’re utilizing.
I must say though from our perspective and because of my relationship and council’s relationship with our developers, they know we mean business, we’ve meant business since day one. They’ve come with great community programs and supported a lot of community stuff that local, federal and provincial government haven’t been able to support. And they’ve been there. They’ve been participating in the community and been good corporate citizens.
But let me tell you – and I don’t know when to do this but everybody says, “I’m a no wind zone, and council’s not going to pass a resolution.” Do you know under the new system they don’t really give a shit. Sorry. They don’t give a shit whether you’ve got a resolution or not. Continue reading