by Chris Fell, Simcoe.com
The Municipality of Grey Highlands is going to appeal a recent Ontario Energy Board ruling that allows a wind power company to use municipal roads for its energy project.
The ruling by the OEB allows International Power Canada (IPC) to use municipal road allowances for its Plateau Wind Project. Grey Highlands council had consistently refused to sign a road agreement with to allow the company to use the roads – a stance that prompted the appeal to the OEB by IPC.
The OEB ruled on January 12 that IPC could use municipal roads. Grey Highlands council has subsequently voted to appeal that decision.
“Council has decided we’re going to appeal this decision,” Deputy Mayor Paul McQueen confirmed last week. “Through the OEB mechanism we can appeal. The next level of appeal is divisional court,” McQueen noted.
Grey Highlands council has objected to IPC’s plans for a wind power project in its municipality. Council has a passed a resolution requesting a moratorium on such projects until a full study into the health effects of wind turbines can be completed. The McGuinty government’s Green Energy Act removed municipal planning authority over alternative energy projects – leaving local governments few avenues to stop proposals they don’t agree with.
McQueen said he didn’t think Grey Highlands stood much of a chance at the OEB.
“Who makes up the OEB? It’s a board appointed by the provincial government. They’re given their walking papers,” said the Deputy Mayor.
McQueen said it’s clear there is a problem with the Green Energy Act.
“The road use agreement is obviously a glitch (in the Act),” he said. “Why is this such a stumbling block for IPC?” he wondered.
McQueen also questioned why IPC hasn’t tried to get a road use agreement with Grey County. He pointed out that transmission poles for the project run along County Road 2.
There is no date set for when the appeal will proceed.