The City of Thunder Bay is facing a $126-million lawsuit in the aftermath of its decision to approve only 14 of 18 of Horizon Wind’s preferred wind turbine locations on the Nor’Wester Mountain range.
Horizon Wind Inc. confirmed the lawsuit was being filed at 4 p.m. Tuesday, but could not say what the specific damages they were seeking.
A source close to the situation said the southern Ontario company has filed for damages; misrepresentation; breach of contract; breach of duty of good faith, wrongful interference with economic interests, damages for breach of a non-disclosure agreement.
City officials, in a release issued late Tuesday, expressed disappointment at Horizon’s direction, though admitted they haven’t yet seen a statement of claim.
“We are disappointed Horizon has taken this position and, once we have received a statement of claim, we will be responding,” said city manager Tim Commisso.
“We believe any lawsuit is unfounded,” he added. “City council approved 14 of 18 sites and by executing the lease the City is fulfilling its obligations to move forward on this project having completed its due diligence.”
Council’s decision, reached Monday night after a lengthy in camera session, came a week after it voted 7-5 in favour of approving all 18 turbine locations, as well as the finalized lease agreement.
Horizon Wind originally agreed in 2006 to a land-lease deal with the city allowing them to put turbines on 17,000 acres of city-owned land in Neebing Township. However the province scuttled the company’s original choice on the south side of the Big Thunder Sports Park.
Horizon and the city then agreed to the current Nor’Wester Mountain range location, a decision that was vehemently opposed by nearby residents and business owners.
In her report recommending the city approve the lease and location, city solicitor Rosalie Evans said she made the decision despite the threat of lawsuits from several parties.
The company was planning to spend $75 million to build the wind farm. If Horizon Wind wins its suit, money will be taken from the city treasury. An interview request with Evans was not immediately responded to by the city solicitor’s office.