by David Meyer Wellington Advertiser
ELORA – Municipalities across Wellington County are quietly working away at the issue of wind turbines, Centre Wellington councillors learned at their committee of the whole meeting on Monday.
Council considered a recommendation that the township request the county share the legal opinion it obtains, in confidence, with the township, when it is completed.
At its May meeting, county council sought a legal opinion about the powers the county and its member municipalities have to regulate wind energy and other renewable or alternative energy projects.
Mayor Joanne Ross-Zuj, who is also county warden, told council the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario are both now taking a stand on the issue. She added the Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) is looking for a bigger voice about the turbines. Those are lobby groups for municipalities.
Ross-Zuj added the Western Warden’s Association, of which she is a member, has “real concerns with the process and wind energy.”
She said Wellington representatives are “working collectively with our organizations.” She added a number of municipalities have also passed bylaws about renewable energy projects, and Centre Wellington to date has passed one stating it wants a moratorium until health issues are checked by a third party.
Ross-Zuj said the county felt it made sense to obtain one legal opinion, rather than have all the municipalities get another seven opinions on their own. She said the legal information from the county will advise all local municipalities what positions they might want to take and any bylaws they might want to pass.
She said all the resolution was recommending is to share that legal information.
Councillor Walt Visser said his ward is the most affected by the wind turbine proposal currently, and “my residents are very concerned about the process.”
He said some are asking him about taking legal action.
Ross-Zuj explained she had met with Janet Vallery and Dave Hurlburt earlier in the day, and gave them an update on what is happening. They are leaders of the Oppose Belwood Wind Farm group.
Ross-Zuj said, “They were pleased with the update and the county council leadership role.”
Visser thanked her for that report.
Council then unanimously approved the recommendation. Councillor Ron Hallman was absent.