Wind Farm Report Angers Opponents of Horizon Project

THUNDER BAY – An issue that it is likely will be a major factor in the Neebing Ward, and the At Large races at City Council will heat up on Monday. City Council is set to hear from Dillon Consulting Limited, a company City Administration has hired to review the Horizon Wind Farm proposal.

That move has raised the ire of Richard Moorey, as well as the Nor’Wester Mountain Escarpment Protection Committee.

Moorey states, “Was a little disheartened at the lack of candidates in attendance at the Wind Farm information BBQ at the Neebing. There must have been 150-200ppl there.

“To the best of my knowledge the only peron currently in office that was there was Linda Rydholm. Interesting to see the lack of interest by council in such a large group of its citizens. Lack of time? Or lack of courage to face the people that they are railroading?”

The NMEPC in a press statement comments, “This company, Dillon Consulting Limited, is a registered member of CANWEA (Canadian Wind Energy Association), a wind lobby group in favour of wind energy. Dillon Consulting Limited has been selected by Administration to review the Horizon Wind proposal; they have worked with Horizon on at least one other project”.

Members of the Nor’Wester Mountain Escarpment Protection Committee (NMEPC) are concerned that the additional information City Council requested from Horizon (last month) may not have been received or reviewed by Dillon. Horizon was to provide further information regarding 16 specific issues & comments relating to the Renewable Energy Act document, resulting from discussions of a previous Council Meeting.

“Ironically, the NMEPC has been refused a Request for Deputation for October 4th, 2010, on the same evening Dillon Consulting was to provide an update to the Committee of the Whole,”  NMEPC President Irene Bond noted. “This is one of the most important issues facing our community; and at the most important night where additional information was being brought to Council, we were not allowed to speak”.

“More importantly, we were not allowed the opportunity to review – or even know – what this Consultant has prepared! We would have appreciated the opportunity to review what this consultant has provided, in an appropriate amount of time, before we speak. City Council won’t even have time to review and digest Dillon’s information since it wasn’t included in their Agenda packages and it wasn’t online either.”

Dillon is scheduled to make their first presentation report to Council Monday evening. On Sept. 20, City Council directed Administration to engage an external expert to review information requested on the project, particularly with respect to financial data on each turbine and view sheds that illustrate their locations, and report back on Oct. 4, 2010.

“This is a complex matter and important to the community,” said Tim Commisso, City Manager. “The City has engaged a leading expert to assist us in being both thorough and timely in reviewing the proposed project.

“The City has publicly promised an open and transparent process and yet it appears that there is a hidden agenda and decisions are still being made behind closed doors,” charges Bond.

“The current Option to Lease has the expiration date of November 14th, 2012, (an extension to which both Horizon and Council agreed) so it would appear that City Council is rushing to make more decisions without proper knowledge and perhaps support an endorsement of the turbine locations without an adequate review timeframe”.

At their summer Open Houses, Horizon representatives were quoted as saying, “We won’t put them (the turbines) back….because we won’t.” This answer is a sample of the type of brick wall NMEPC members have found themselves faced with since the so-called “public process” started. Lack of open, honest and clear communication with Council, Administration and the proponent has left the South Neebing residents frustrated and upset”.

16 thoughts on “Wind Farm Report Angers Opponents of Horizon Project

  1. The consulting firm is a registered member of CANWEA. I thought I read earlier that this Administration was seeking “outside” consultation.

  2. Dillon Consulting Limited is in a conflict of interest position with regards to providing information to the City of Thunder Bay on wind turbine issues and installations.

  3. But is it LEGAL conflict of interest? Did Council choose this consultant at the recommendation of the wind developer? If so, this, too, was a conflict of interest.

    I’ve asked this question in another post, and I ask again: Why did Council seek “outside” consultation if the Green Energy Act removes their right to decide about turbines? I am really puzzled about this. Was it purely for show?

  4. By the time all the legal issues make it to Court, the turbines are up and running. This appears to be part of the scam.

  5. Claire:

    COI is a tough one here.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiduciary

    As one very smart lawyer put it (not so long ago)… You can have as much conflict as you can handle, however, once the DUTY is clear (and only then) you can resolve conflict. So no duty — no problem — if you have a duty to one of the parties then you can have a problem.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiduciary

    If membership in CANWEA requires them to act in a certain way or to represent the interests of CANWEA or adhere to a set of standards that conflict with their duty to the client… then we have a breach of fiduciary duty. That is well explained in the WIKI link!

    HTH

    🙂

  6. Thank-you, David. “One very smart lawyer” could probably make a good case on behalf of the Council. However – and this brings up my question about why Council undertook the Consultation – what point was there given the Green Energy Act?

  7. The council could have also chosen this consulting firm because the council wanted backup for their actions. Also known as a CYA operation.

    The central point/issue here is that the City of Thunder Bay owns the land and elected and perhaps non-elected city officials are making a contract/contracts on behalf of the citizens of Thunder Bay.

    The City of Thunder Bay has a right to make contracts that are not in conflict with the best interests of their citizens. They cannot make contracts that are only in the best interests of the city officials making the contracts or any other parties who might benefit from contracts at the expense of the citizens.

    The issue is who benefits financialy from making these contracts. The citizens of Thunder Bay have a right to know the terms of any contracts entered into on their behalf by elected officials inorder to determine if said contracts are in the best interests of the citizens of that city.

    The citizens also have the right to object to and also to reject contracts that are not in their best interests.

    City councils cannot make secret contracts on behalf of the citizens. So the citizens of Thunder Bay will have to demand the opportunity to review the contracts and be provided with sufficient time to review these contracts.

    Again the land is owned by the Corporation of the City of Thunder Bay. It is not Crown land or private land. So the people of Thunder Bay have the last say in this matter.

    The Green Energy Act allows private property owners the right to make contracts with the wind energy companies and this also applies to City and Town owned land.

  8. claire,

    Contracts and leases can be declared null and void by the courts.

    Inorder for cities and towns to lease land they have to own the land. Can’t make a lease contract with land you do not own.

    To prove ownership of real property all you have to is check the deed or title to the property in question.

  9. claire,

    Please keep asking the tough questions as this is a good way to bring out more information.

    Just to expand on the points I tried to make yesterday in regards to the ownership of the land in question at Thunder bay, the issue is who owns the land to be leased to the turbine operators.

    The land is most likely owned under the name Corp. of The City of Thunder Bay.

    City officials elected and unelected as well as council members DO NOT OWN this land but are acting with agency powers with regard to the property which is legal.

    So they must make contracts/leases with any party which are in the best interest of the city and with no conflicts of interest in regards to said property.

    So there can be no self interest dealing on the part of any city officails with respect to granting a lease/leases to anyone.

    Since the city officials do not own the land to be leased they have an obligation to make the terms of any contracts/leases known to the public. Also reasonable time must be given for the public to review said contracts/leases. Would think that 60-90 days would be reasonable time for public review.

    One can determine conflict of interest by ASKING the principals of the contract/lease if they,their families or spouse’s families will benefit financialy
    from the contract/contracts. Best done in public with witnesses present.

  10. Again, thanks, Barbara. I fantasize about being “one smart lawyer.”

    It does seem likely that Thunder Bay Council is on the verge of ramming something past the citizens before election day.

    What more will even be revealed before election day, I wonder.

  11. claire,

    The Thunder Bay Council is going to try real hard to get this through before the election. Only the citizens can stop them now.

    The council does not own the land they are going to lease to Horizon Wind. They are only agents in this deal and agents have a legal obligation to make sure the deal is on the up & up. No wheeling & dealing and no self dealing can be done.

    So why the rush?

  12. Barbara,are the citizens organized to resist, or only to object?

  13. claire,

    I don’t know how well organized they are in Thunder Bay if not they better get organized.

    Some people think that city/town councils can do as they like with city/town owned property. Likewise some mayors and council members act like city/town property is theirs and they can do as they please and when they please.

    My intention is to inform people as to owns city/town property and that mayors and council members only act as agents. As agents mayors/council members have a legal obligation to see to it that there is no wheeling & dealing or self dealing is done.

    Why is this being rushed through? The citizens of Thunder Bay have a right to look at this deal and a reasonable amount of time must be given to the public to consider what the deal is that Thunder Bay council has made with Horizon Wind.

    Look at it this way. If I have property to lease or sell and I have an agent represent me in this deal then I have the legal right to expect that the agent I have will not wheel & deal or do any self dealing. In turn the agent has a legal obligation to represent me to the best of his/her ability. If not then I can take legal action against the agent.

    The same applies to mayors and council members.

  14. Thank-you, Barbara. This makes me think of how often real estate agents represent both the seller and the potential buyer. This would seem so obviously to be an invitation to conflict of interest, if not outrightly a conflict of interest.

    It seems as though fools rush in, hoping against hope that no one will object so loudly that there will be unpleasant consequences: ie, as you said in an earlier post, that they will be hit in the pocket-book.

  15. claire,

    Ownership of city/county/town land is not one of the perks obtained by being elected mayor or councilor. However, a few elected officials seem to think this is a perk that goes with the job.

    And yes it is an invitation for conflict of interest when real estate agents represent both buyer and seller. Some jurisdictions do not allow this but is allowed in Ontario.

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