Posted By Mary Golem Markdale Standard
Arran-Elderslie council is continuing efforts to control wind turbines in the municipality.
Council and representatives of neighbouring municipalities agreed at a meeting Thursday night to create a working committee to pool resources if there’s a legal battle over the issue.
The committee will consist of two representatives from each of the local municipalities who have joined Arran-Elderslie in its fight — Saugeen Shores, Huron-Kinloss, West Grey, Chatsworth, Georgian Bluffs, South Bruce and Grey Highlands, along with both Bruce and Grey county councils.
Just over 20 municipalities provincewide have either supported or endorsed a bylaw Arran-Elderslie passed in April.
The bylaw invokes Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms — which deals with “the protection of life, liberty and security of person” in an attempt to control wind turbine development within the municipality. The bylaw requires certification that wind turbines do not cause health effects.
The first task for the committee, to be formed later this month, will be to meet with provincial officials at the upcoming Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) conference in mid-August.
West Grey Coun. Carol Lawrence said their municipal staff have already contacted at least two ministries for a meeting at the conference and believes making a joint presentation is the right way to go.
“There is no doubt there is strength in numbers,” added Chatsworth resident Tony Clarke.
However, Arran-Elderslie councillor Mark Davis is not convinced it will do any good.
“We had trouble even getting them (AMO) to circulate our bylaw . . . I think it’s a waste of time meeting with them, but if others want to go and have a meeting, bless them.”
Meanwhile, an information package presented to Arran-Elderslie council by wind energy proponents Leader Resources Services states Leader is pursuing a number of renewable energy projects, including 46 wind turbines, 115 megawatts each, near Burgoyne and another 100 wind turbines in two different areas of Central Huron.
In the report, Leader’s lawyer states “in my view, Leader should focus its efforts on continuing to take all possible steps to obtain provincial approval of wind facilities . . . it may also wish to point out the strength of its legal position and the weakness of the Arran-Elderslie bylaw in Central Huron or other municipalities contemplating similar challenges to wind turbines. It appears that such municipal bylaws are driven more by short-term political expedience than by a high probability of judicial success.”
Arran-Elderslie council and the working committee will meet again Aug. 5.