By Don Crosby, Owen Sound Sun Times
Huron-Kinloss won’t issue building permits for new industrial wind energy projects unless developers adhere to the municipality’s wind energy policies.
“We’re trying to protect the residents. If (developers) are not adhering to our wind development policies council has taken the stance that we’re not issuing building permits,” clerk Sonya Watson said in an interview Friday.
Council passed a resolution Tuesday putting the wind industry on notice.
The township’s policies include 2,000-metre setbacks from urban areas and 1,000- metre setbacks from residences.
It also calls for transmission lines from turbines and wind farms to be buried.
Tuesday’s resolution states the provincial government’s Green Energy Act doesn’t show regard for the health and safety of residents who live near wind turbines.
There is a proposal to build about 55 new wind turbines from the Lake Huron shoreline to north of Ripley. That’s in addition to the 38 already in the Ripley area.
Mayor Mitch Twolan has stated his concerns that several residents near the existing wind park near Ripley have left from their homes due to illness thought to have been caused by being too close to wind energy projects.
Watson said that the intent of the Huron-Kinloss motion is not to stop development altogether, but to encourage discussion and cooperation with the wind energy industry.
“We might as well work with wind developers rather than just putting up a wall . . . we’re trying to protect the residents. If the wind developers are not adhering to our wind development policy, then basically the council has taken the stance that they are not issuing building permits,” Watson said.
Council also endorsed a resolution from the Municipality of North Perth asking the provincial government for a moratorium on industrial wind turbines until independent health studies have been completed and a full environmental impact study is done.
“Council is basically supportive of that as well,” said Watson.
Council also endorsed a resolution from Arran-Elderslie imposing a freeze on any building permit that would lead to the construction of industrial wind turbines.