By Jim Knisley, The Sachem
Mayor Ken Hewitt will introduce a motion March 21 that would, if passed by county council, call on the province to “recognize a moratorium on the development of industrial wind turbine and solar projects” in Haldimand County.
In the written notice of motion drafted Monday, Hewitt said the moratorium should be in place “until further assurances can be provided to address the concerns of the people and that the province commits to the conversion of the Nanticoke Generating Station to a combination gas and biomass generation facility.”
The notice of motion also said that the minimum setbacks from residences should be further studied and that all collection and transmission lines should be buried. It says the three current proposals– Samsung, Summerhaven and Capital Power- “do not conform to our set backs or collection/transmission standards and are not consistent with Haldimand County renewable energy generation plans.”
It adds that “Haldimand County believes it should be compensated for hosting such facilities (turbines and lines) well beyond the extent of pure property tax.”
At Monday’s council in committee meeting, council approved a list of concerns about the projects to be sent to the proponents of the wind farms and the province under the province’s mandatory and formal consultation process.
Craig Manley, general manager of planning and economic development, said the report includes technical concerns such as access roads, culverts and turbine locations near streams or significant ditches, but also other community concerns.
“The province hasn’t asked for them (community concerns). I’m not sure they want them, but we sent them anyway,” he said.
He advised council that submitting the reports is part of the formal procedure established by the province and this is “your formal opportunity.”
“Whether you like a process or not there is a certain level of responsibility. I think there is a responsibility to provide these comments,” he said.
In addition to technical comments, the report calls for additional information on how the 550 metre setback was determined, studies that demonstrate how high or low frequencies affect human and animal health, the impact on property values on land adjacent to the projects and the impact the turbines will have on tourism.
Haldimand County has already asked for greater details on the impact on woodlots, wetlands and other features, the effect of anchoring turbines into bedrock, the relationship of transmission corridors to the county’s Trail Master Plan, the impact on roads and a “complete comparison of the difference between the project and the use of the land for agricultural purposes.