Arran-Elderslie Council is continuing its battle to keep wind turbines out of the municipality.
Council and representatives of its neighbouring municipalities agreed at a meeting on July 8 to create a working committee in an effort to pool resources towards what could be 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 province-wide have either supported or endorsed a bylaw Arran-Elderslie passed in April invoking a section of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in an attempt to block wind turbine development within the municipality. 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.
The first task for the committee, to be formed later this month, will be to meet with provincial officials at the upcoming Association of Municipaties of Ontario (AMO) conference in mid-August.
West Grey councillor Carol Lawrence said their municipal staff have already contacted at least two ministries for a meeting at the conference and she believes making a joint presentation is the right way to go.
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, in an information package presented to Arran-Elderslie council by wind energy proponents Leader Resources Services, it states Leader is currently 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 its wind opposition supporters who will make up the working committee will meet again Aug. 5.