Arran-Elderslie Council sets wind project building fees

Posted By MARY GOLEM, Owen Sound Sun Times

Arran-Elderslie council has accepted a building permit fee schedule of $15 per $1,000 of project value for all buildings and structures related to industrial wind turbines.

The fees reflect the average, or slightly above average, fee other municipalities in the area charge, according to a written report from chief building official Stephen Walmsley received by council at its meeting in Chesley Monday.

“The fees are set at these values to offset the cost of road repair, tile drainage repair, legal fees, staff time, permit processing, entrance permit fees and all other incidental cost incurred in relation to the installation of a commercial wind turbine in the Municipality of Arran-Elderslie,” Walmsley wrote, saying the municipality’s lawyer has been consulted about the fees and agrees with them.

Council previously passed a commercial wind turbine bylaw which seeks to control construction due to health and safety concerns under Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. That bylaw has now received the support of more than 20 municipalities province-wide, as well as the Bruce County Federation of Agriculture, the county’s largest farm organization.

Council received correspondence from Owen Sound saying they appreciate having the matter brought to the city’s attention, but city council noted and filed their request for support of the bylaw.

Not all municipal residents are opposed to turbines either.

In a brief note to council, Paisley residents Barry and Elizabeth Howe stated: “We support the wind energy industry. Our tax dollars are not to be used in the fight against them!”

Elderslie ward Coun. Mark Davis, who has led council’s fight against the turbines and an outspoken critic of all wind energy projects, said “there are only two reasons residents, including farmers, would be in favour of turbines — either they are profiting from them or they haven’t done their homework. In the end, it is we as a municipality who are the net losers.”

Both Deputy-mayor Mary Cumming and Chesley ward Coun. Stacy Charlton say they don’t believe the general public “understand what this is all about . . . they don’t realize their taxes are going to increase as a result,” Cumming said.