By Jon Radojkovic, Owen Sound Sun Times
Chatsworth council will not issue any building permits for the construction of wind towers within the boundary of the municipality following a meeting of council Wednesday.
“We want to promote the health, safety and well being of our residents,” said mayor Bob Pringle.
The unanimous vote followed a lengthy debate on what was the best method to stop or delay wind turbine construction. Council considered issuing a moratorium but that would, at the longest, last two years. “It’s not a bad idea but it doesn’t last,” Pringle said. The municipality is also part of the Wind Turbine Committee, which includes a number of Grey and Bruce municipalities.
Council realizes that not issuing any building permits for the construction of wind turbines might end them up before the Building Code Commission, which oversees issues related to building code infractions. Or they may end up in provincial court. But they are gambling on buying time and delaying any building applications, by Oct. 6, when the next provincial election will take place.
Council is hoping the Conservative Party of Ontario wins, led by Tim Hudak, who promised to allow municipalities to decide whether they wanted wind towers.
The present day governing Liberals passed the Green Energy Act, which takes the decision-making power away from municipal governments in land-use planning issues, which includes wind towers. So far, there have been no wind towers built in the municipality of Chatsworth.
Council listed eight reasons in its motion to not issue any permits. Among them were decreased property values, not ensuring proper environmental assessments and supporting Dr. Hazel Lynn’s call for further research and increased setbacks.
As well, future decommissioning costs, when the wind towers are not used anymore, was discussed.
“A lot of the owners (of wind tower projects) live outside the country and if they didn’t pay for the cost of tearing these things down then it would probably fall on the municipality and it’s associated costs, to do so,” said Coun. Scott Mackey. Council suggested that businesses that wanted to build the towers, put up a $100,000 bond for each tower, so that there would be money in a fund if and when they had to be taken down.