By Mary Golem, Owen Sound Sun Times
Arran-Elderslie has given first and second readings to a draft bylaw to amend the municipal code in order to invoke a section of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in an attempt to block wind turbine development.
The unanimous support of council to the draft bylaw delighted long-time wind energy opponents Keith Stelling and Jean Cechovsky of RR 1 Southampton. Both applauded council’s decision at a meeting in Chesley Monday.
“You’ve come a long way in taking a stand (against the turbines),” Stelling said, referring back to meetings he attended almost two years ago “and council seemed to knew nothing about what was going on. I have to say I am pleased and proud with your decision . . . proud to see that you are taking a stand.”
Elderslie ward Coun. Mark Davis circulated the bylaw at a special meeting of area councillors last week. It calls for “the protection of life, liberty and security of person” under Section 7 of the Charter, claiming wind turbines cause serious health effects and “an eyesore on the rural landscape of Ontario.”
Davis was quick to give credit to Arran-Elderslie’s now retired former clerk-administrator Joan Albright whom he contacted “for her expertise” in drawing up the bylaw.
In a recorded vote at Monday’s meeting, council voted unanimously to support the draft bylaw, but stopped short of getting it third and final reading. The municipality and its neighbouring municipalities — Chatsworth, West Grey, Grey Highlands, Georgian Bluffs, Saugeen Shores and South Bruce — have agreed to seek legal advice “from Bay Street lawyers” and Tara ward councillor Paul Eagleson said Monday he wants to ensure any proposed changes could be included before final reading is given to the bylaw on May 10.
Davis told council he plans to attend a rally at Queen’s Park on Wednesday in support of a private member’s bill by Conservative MPP Sylvia Jones calling on the government to give municipalities back their Planning Act power for renewable energy projects. A bus will leave Chatsworth at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday morning.