By Donna Pitcher, The Dunnville Chronicle
The Haldimand County council chambers overflowed with residents at Monday night’s council meeting as people came out to support a vote on asking the Province for a moratorium on wind generators.
Vice President of the Haldimand-Norfolk NDP Riding Association Al Buswell was in attendance and fully supported Mayor Ken Hewitt’s moratorium on wind generators. Buswell said he would like to see jurisdiction put back into the County’s hands and stated that NDP leader Andrea Horwath and NDP’s energy critic Peter Tabuns also support this change.
Hewitt spoke to the residents and explained his stand by saying that he has met with the Minister of Energy Brad Duguid, Samsung, Capital Power and NextEra multiple times.
“I campaigned on the premise that I would ensure better, more effective, communications.” said Hewitt.
The Province set the standards and approves the locations. Hewitt said the process and the Act are clearly “flawed” in many aspects and puts council in a difficult position because the perception from the public is that they can stop this from happening.
“Let me be clear – the Act says we cannot” stated Hewitt.
“We are playing a bad hand of poker, we cannot fold, and we do not have many chips to play with. The motion I am putting forward is intended to be clear on why we are asking for a moratorium and the assurances we need to address the local public interest.”
Councillor Leroy Bartlett asked for a clarification on the meaning of “moratorium”, Hewitt responded by saying that he wanted to slow the process down, take a “pause” to allow council and staff to participate in the process.
Currently there are proposals for 176 wind turbines, about 980 acres of solar panels and a significant new transmission and distribution line slated for Haldimand County.
After a lengthy debate by members of council, a recorded vote was taken. The resolution was carried with a 5-2 vote. Councillor Craig Grice and Councillor Lorne Boyko voted against the motion of a moratorium.
Afterwards, Peter Grosvenor, president of Haldimand Wind Concerns, spoke about council’s decision.
“The motion the Mayor put on the floor was exactly what we were going to do… More scientific studies need to be done because we don’t want people to get sick.”
He said he’s frustrated with the McGuinty Government, saying a “democratic structure has not been taken.”
“[They’ve] taken democracy right out of the picture. We want to help council and other communities get democracy back because it’s gone.”