Council sets rules for turbine permits

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.

11 thoughts on “Council sets rules for turbine permits

  1. I admire what the council has done for the public. I hope the fact that they have created a setback does not backfire on them. Courageous, nonetheless.

  2. Kudos to the members of Council in the Township of Huron-Kinloss!

    They get “it”, and they have the “intestinal fortitude” to step up and let the public and HK residents know that McGuinty’s Liberal Government has dropped the ball on the issue of industrial wind turbines in the province of Ontario.

    More importantly, the members of HK Council have let the McGuinty Government know that they have put the health of numerous Ontario residents at risk by not showing “regard for the health and safety of residents who live near wind turbines”.

    I submitted my request before 8am this morning to address my township council, and to talk with them about this very issue. Please do the same with your council.

  3. Debbie, Robin,

    I urge you and others to seek private conversation with your mayor and local councilor. If they are receptive, I can share with you privately what our city is currently doing. This is a time and place for keeping a low profile; eyes and ears are everywhere, including here.

    There are other cites and townships that may be quietly taking similar actions in slightly different ways. Some of that work may already be shared from council to council. Much of the planning is not being openly publicized at the moment so as to avoid untoward attention. These bylaws may not stand up to OEB (Ontario Energy Board) scrutiny but surprise is confusion is delay.

    I have said too much already.

    Suffice to say some wind companies are in for a shock when they start applying for their permits. 🙂

  4. I applaud HK Council for taking a stance on wind power projects, however, I wonder how they arrived at the distance of 1000 metres as a setback distance for residences as being safe.

  5. I’m sorry but who said 1,000 mtres from homes is going to be safe?
    How can this be considered safe when you have multiple turbines emitting noise and low frequency noise?
    And burying transmission lines does not stop dirty electricity. It has occured in both overhead and buried lines and makes a home a living microwave oven.

    Best not make rules unless you know they are going to protect people. There is no evidence that these ones will. Backfire indeed…for the rural residents that is.

    I don’t mean to be so negative, but this is no different than the government saying 550 mtres is safe when they haven’t done any studies or talked to affected homeowners. They have simply picked another arbitrary number.

  6. And pray tell, why is there a 2,000 metre setback from urban voters and only 1000 from rural voters. oooops I meant to say residences…….
    Let’s open our eyes people!

  7. Snowball,

    You understand that arbitrary numbers are by themselves meaningless.

    550 m is not an arbitrary number. 550m is half the distance of a long hundred acres, the distance between concession roads. It is the maximum number that will geographically work in Southern Ontario.

    Thus by geography, any larger number is not truly arbitrary either.

  8. Exactly what I say John. The setback was created by “if we put IWT’s here, what would be the proper setback” very scientific if you got a pencil and paper. I would think if a project can get stalled long enough then Oct 6 may be just around the corner. Hopefully and yes a am leary that something major will change for the better of the people of Ontario and even further

  9. Yes John, you and I and many others understand why they picked 550mtr but this is not what the MOE is telling the general public.
    The MOE tells people that they picked that number to protect the health of residents.
    And now Mayor Twolan and council is doing the same thing. Makes it look like a huge step forward and it is nothing of the sort.
    Won’t use arbitrary again.

    Confuse the public….yes sir, that’s the plan.

  10. 1. Current MOE health and safety setbacks to protect ALL residences are not mandatory or even voluntary for lease participants (should be to protect the children and grandchildren in those families and generations to come for the next 40 years). The new municipal rule would make it compulsory in order to protect the health and safety of ALL residences including lease participant families. Most farm lots in Ontario are 1000mx 400m = 40 ha = 100ac. A lot of residences are setback 50 to 100m from road. 1000m.min. Do the math!
    Another way to do the same would be to set the noise limits at 35 dbA or 10 dbA above lowest background
    2. At a recent meeting in ACW with the company the question was asked what impact the 1000m setback would have on the proposed addition of approx. 157 turbines in Ashfield twp. Answer : It would effectively limit project to only 6 additional instead of 157 on top of the existing approx. 22 . What is the Company likely to do if they only get 6 instead of 157?

  11. John,

    Our councillor has been wonderful, very helpful and receptive. we are on the other side of the dotted line from the project, as it runs right up the town line, but the council for the project has already passed the moratorium. They are very, very receptive, and I’m sure after the latest announcement, will be even more

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