Chris Fell, Staff, www.simcoe.com 13 July 2010
The chasm between Grey Highlands council and the proponents of a proposed wind farm in that municipality continues to be the size of the Grand Canyon.
Representatives from International Power Canada – the proponent of the Plateau Wind Project in Grey Highlands – again appeared as a delegation at the regular meeting of Grey Highlands council on July 12.
Mike Crawley and Will Pol pleaded with council to adopt a road agreement the company requires to move the wind energy project forward.
“This is not a development that just popped up when the Green Energy Act was enacted,” said Crawley, who noted that many wind projects began during the government of former Premier Ernie Eves. “We have always focused on working with the community and finding solutions that work for everybody,” said Crawley.
International Power – an international power company – needs a road agreement with Grey Highlands to get its industrial wind turbine project started. Grey Highlands municipal staff negotiated an agreement with the company and presented the report and agreement to council a few weeks ago. However, council had no interest in passing a road agreement, because the McGuinty government’s Green Energy Act removed its planning approval authorities for the project.
“If council does not adopt the agreement it goes directly to the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) and they would direct the outcome,” said Crawley. “The municipality would have further expense to have representation at the OEB,” he said.
He said if the OEB decides the matter Grey Highlands will lose any voice it has in the location of new hydro poles that have to be installed for the project.
Pol compared the road agreement to that of a development agreement for a subdivision or the implementation of a severance consent application.
“I see this road use agreement as the same kind of thing,” said Pol.
Members of council were quiet for the entire presentation by the delegation. Deputy Mayor Dave Fawcett said he disagreed with the comparison of the road use agreement with the implementation of a development agreement or consent severance.
“For both of those there is a public process and the applications are ultimately approved,” said Fawcett, noting that the Green Energy Act eliminated public consultation. “This (wind turbine proposal) has nothing to do with us,” said the Deputy Mayor.
Mayor Brian Mullin told the delegation that council has refused to consider the road use agreement and he didn’t see any movement around the table to change that position.
“Procedurally it would require a resolution from this council to re-consider the agreement,” he said.