Thunder Bay responds to Horizon Wind lawsuit

by James Murray   ·

THUNDER BAY – “The City of Thunder Bay has reviewed Horizon’s Statement of Claim received late Tuesday and can now set the record straight”, stated City Manager Tim Commisso.

“Primarily, Horizon is looking to have the City execute the lease and approve the turbine locations they have proposed,” Commisso added. “In fact, Council on Tuesday authorized executing the lease, approved 14 of the 18 requested locations and asked that four locations be moved. While the City must act reasonably, it is under no obligation to approve all requested locations.

“City Council is fulfilling its obligations to move forward on this project having completed its due diligence. The City has been responsible and fair and will not be intimidated by the lawsuit or its timing a week before the municipal election.”

“We will be filing a defense in the near future and, as the lease agreement provides, seeking arbitration – an alternative to court – to resolve the turbine locations.”

On Oct. 18, Thunder Bay City Council authorized Administration to execute the lease with Horizon and approved 14 of 18 locations for wind turbines with a request for the other four wind turbines to be moved to no closer to the edge of the escarpment than the approved locations.

Here are the Key Facts:

  • The primary relief Horizon is seeking through the claim is for the City to a) execute the lease of the land for the wind farm and b) approve the turbine locations they have proposed.
  • In the early morning hours on Tuesday, City Council a) made the decision to execute the lease and b) approved 14 of 18 requested locations and asked that four locations be moved to no closer to the edge of the escarpment than the approved locations.
  • The terms of the lease include an arbitration process that would serve as the mechanism for resolving disputes including the location of the turbines.
  • Most of the financial damages are sought by Horizon as secondary relief should the primary relief, as noted above, not be granted. The City feels such an order is redundant since Council has already approved executing the lease.
  • Horizon also makes other claims that in essence say the City delayed the process and breached confidentiality. The City of Thunder Bay exercised its rights and obligations to be thorough in its due diligence as it worked steadily to move the project forward. This project was the subject of many public meetings and a significant amount of public debate and discussion. The City believes Horizon will be unable to support its claim for damages.

Next Steps by City


  • Filing a complete legal defense in the near future.
  • Seeking arbitration, as provided for in the lease, to resolve the turbine locations.

Key Decisions/Background


  • On Oct. 12, 2010, at a Special Committee of the Whole Meeting, Council approved 18 locations requested by Horizon for its Wind Farm project and authorized Administration to continue negotiating with Horizon for a different form of lease than the one attached to the original option to lease. The negotiations involved certain additional clauses sought by both the City and Horizon.
  • In the week following, negotiations were ongoing with Horizon and did not result in agreement to a new form of lease.
  • On Oct. 18, 2010, City Council passed a resolution to execute the original form of lease, approved 14 of 18 locations and asked that four locations be moved to no closer to the edge of the escarpment than the approved locations.
  • On February 18, 2010, Horizon advised Administration it was ready to exercise the option to lease under contract with the City dated Nov. 23, 2007.
  • Since November 2009, Council has considered this item on several occasions, both in Open and Closed Sessions.
  • On May 14, 2009, Ontario’s Green Energy Act came into effect, removing the requirement for local planning approvals for green energy projects including proposed wind farm developments.
  • On Nov. 5, 2007, Council in Open Session ratified a resolution authorizing Administration to enter into an Option Agreement granting an option to lease portions of the Loch Lomond Watershed Lands to Horizon Wind Limited Partnership.
  • A detailed background and chronology of events is included in Corporate Report 2010.207 (City Solicitor & Corporate Counsel – Legal Services), presented to Council on Oct. 12, 2010.

15 thoughts on “Thunder Bay responds to Horizon Wind lawsuit

  1. Look at the mess McGuinty, Smitherman and Gerretsen have created by their self interest in becoming policy celebrities. Didn’t work boys. Your legend will be one of destruction and harm. Big egos, little forethought, no due diligence.

  2. I don’t wish to sound like a broken record however…

    In a democracy, the government is responsible to the people and SOLELY responsible to the people.
    Furthermore, again to risk repetition, the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that governments must act in the best interests of the people.

    Thusly, the fiduciary responsibility of the government is to perform due diligence and ensure that any decision they may or may not make is in fact in the peoples best interest.

    Although I am not holding my breath, I am hopeful that legal counsel to the Municipal government of Thunder Bay possesses sufficient knowledge and intellect to point out this obviousness to the court.

    In view of the facts, I am vehemently opposed to arbitration. Were this action brought against me, I would be going for the jugular so to speak and visit the same financial penalty upon the plaintiff as they would visit upon me. However, because a majority of council did NOT do due diligence, the interests of the people has been subverted by a clearly greedy and mendacious industry. Were this not the case there would be no law suit.

    As far as I (and the Supreme Court of Canada) am concerned, were governments in Canada at all levels actually following the letter of the law, not a single IWT would have ever been constructed ANYWHERE EVER!

    I am almost certain that once the legal dust has settled in a decade or two, there will no longer be any IWTs in Canada.

    That day cannot come soon enough!

    Sean Holt.

  3. Does anyone know if there are any industrial wind developments in Liberal ridings?

  4. So now we know that is a limited partnership. Now who are the partners in Horizon Wind Limited Partnership?

    Does the public have a right to know who the partners are?

    Arbitrarion is the easy way out of this legal mess and will save face for those involved.

    Perhaps it’s best to stay out of these contracts/leases to begin with. Will save those who have to be involved a lot of legal trouble.

  5. It would be nice to see the Statement of Claim rather than commenting on what somebody though about what somebody thought…

    Does anyone have a copy they can post somewhere or know where to access it?

  6. All:

    The reason (at least the main reason) our constitution is so regularly violated especially
    by government is that no elected official, law enforcement agent or public servant swears to uphold it as part of their oath of office.

    This is a fact.

    Some MPs at the federal level have attempted to do this in the past while being sworn in, only to be
    rebuked for the attempt.

    Not to belittle Louis Riel, unlike many democracies, Canada has not experienced a people’s revolt where blood was shed on Canadian soil by Canadian’s fighting to establish for all time our fundamental rights. This is in part why we currently have none. The charter can be revoked in whole or in part by any one of 14 different legislatures in Canada. It is called
    the “notwithstanding” clause.

    Should governments continue the wholesale rape of our land and our rights as is currently the case here in Ontario, made worse by a raft of globalist federal governments, the end result can only be a people’s revolt. Although it is true that generally Canadians are a docile bunch, history has proven we have our limits and once aroused are unstoppable.

    We are now at those limits.

    It is a bad time to be a politician of any stripe.

    Sean Holt.

  7. Thunder Bay Council are portraying themselves as victims and are going to “fight” Horizon……Geez!…….Yeeaaahhh for Thunder Bay Council…………..NOT!!!!

    They approved a lease for these Wind Monsters and they are as “culpable” as Horizon Wind in acting against the “best interests” of their electorate!

    Ontario is really really messed up!

  8. “Thunder Bay Council are portraying themselves as victims and are going to “fight”/em Horizon…”

    Fight Horizon?

    They are now. 🙁

  9. I wonder if the politicians in Thunder Bay, who entangled the municipality in this contract, have realized the liability issues that could ensue if the wind company goes bankrupt. Liens could be put upon this public property and taxpayers could be liable to clear the debt.
    What has McGuinty unleashed upon this province?

  10. Yes David, the Statement of Claim must be released. Is this now a court document and available there for the public to view?

  11. David……….I didn’t say Yeah for Thunder Bay…..I followed that with a NOT!…………..I was just trying to be sarcastic and I guess we are all “bummed out” so much with what’s happening that nobody has a sense of humour anymore…..

  12. Thanks David,

    So the city leaked information to the media about some aspect/aspects of the deal with Horizon Wind. So what. It’s public information anyway

    Wouldn’t it be nice if all companies dealing with the city could make secret deals.

    Again, does anyone know who the Horizon Wind partners are. One has already been mentioned. Does the city know who they are?

    Horizon Wind also has to be registered for tax purposes. So who are the principals of the partnership?

  13. Response to Claire. Liberal MPP Mike Brown has IWT in his home riding of Manitoulin and in the Algoma region of Goulais River, Montreal River Harbour and Nammassing

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