Landowners gain new strategy in turbine, highway fights

By Rita Marshall. Mitchell Advocate
Landowners against wind turbines and the expansion of Hwy 7/8 through Shakespeare gained ammunition June 13 at an information meeting of the Huron Perth Landowners Association.  Guest speaker Elizabeth Marshall of the Ontario Landowners Association spoke to about 100 people in Mitchell’s Crystal Palace about Crown Land Patent Grants, original contracts between settlers and the Crown. The OLA believes these contracts will stand up in court to more recent bylaws and legislation.

“You have rights. You just don’t know about it,” Marshall told the audience, explaining that a patent grant defines what a property owner owns and what parts of the property, if any, the government has a right to. Each new owner of a property becomes an “assign” and still has the rights outlined in their patent grant.

Reeling off dates, sections of government acts and court decisions, Marshall built her case that landowners have more rights when facing government officials than they realize, including the rights embedded in the crown patent grant.

“All of these pieces of legislation, they’re nothing,” she said, distinguishing between legislation and a court upholding rights.

She was also critical of local conservation authorities, MPAC and recent environmental legislation.

“The Green Energy Act is the most unconstitutional thing that’s going” she said to raucous applause; members of West and East Perth Against Turbines (WEPAT), as well as Huron East Against Turbines (HEAT) and Central Huron Against Turbines (CHAT) were in the audience.

Asked by WEPAT’s Tom Melady about legal options for landowners opposed to wind turbines on neighbouring properties, Marshall suggested filing torts. She said torts of trespassing and nuisance could be options.

“You were there first,” she told Melady.

“It could be a strategy,” Melady said after the meeting, adding that although each individual would have to pursue cases on their own, WEPAT could publicize the information.

For those opposed to the Highway 7/8 expansion through Shakespeare, the possible defenses of a patent grant against the Ministry of Transportation were obvious.

“I think if everybody gets these patents I think you can do something,” said Glen Herlick, who farms between Stratford and Shakespeare. “It would only take a few to stop it and we’re sure going to do it.”

Marshall briefly explained the process of obtaining the patent grant, including getting a clear title, something she said most people do not have since lawyers will only do a 40-year search on a title. Information packets at the meeting included a pre-printed application to the Ministry of Natural Resources that the OLA has devised.

Marshall told the audience to be patient. Although it took her only 10 days to receive her patent grant, the current wait is about eight months, due to the growing number of people trying to obtain theirs.

OLA interim president Tom Black encouraged audience members to join the fledgling Huron Perth Landowners Association. And although Black said the OLA has changed its radical reputation from the days of tractor protests, the June 13 meeting wasn’t without tension.

At the end of her Q & A period, Marshall got into a brief shouting match with Logan farmer Tim Nicholson over the county’s tree bylaw.

“You can’t tell me what to do on my land,” she said to applause after Nicholson suggested that Logan could be bare of trees without the bylaw.

“It’s a social order that people have imposed upon themselves,” Nicholson said about the county during a later interview.

HPLA organizer Cindy Moyer, of Monkton, said that the June 13 meeting served only as an information meeting so that local landowners could see what the HPLA was about.

An executive for the HPLA won’t be filled until the group’s next meeting on Sept. 15. Moyer said she expected the September meeting would also be in Mitchell, but didn’t have a set location yet.

In the interim, Moyer and Staffa farmers Barry and Karen Mahon will serve as a temporary executive.

9 thoughts on “Landowners gain new strategy in turbine, highway fights

  1. Isn’t that a sad state of affairs, when there is an eight month backlog to obtain patent rights because citizens feel the need to protect themselves from our own duly-elected government? If the people of Ontario do not stand up and insist that transparency and accountability in public policy are restored, then the future of this province is bleak.

    • As Lynne said, having to protect yourself from your own government is indeed a sad state of affairs.
      However, I won’t be enlisting the help of OLA and their suspect agenda anytime soon. Think about the possible consequences of having your neighbour “doing the hell what he wants” with his land, without sensible rules and regulations, next to your dream house or retirement home. What’s your pleasure: motorcycle gang clubhouse, whorehouse, car wreaking yard, dirt bike track, chemical plant, electrical transformer, industrial wind turbines … ? And really, isn’t that the same “screw your neighbour” attitude practised by those hosting IWTs on their property?
      Back off OLA, and take Randy Hillier with you. We don’t need you in this fight.

  2. At least OLA gives you a couple of options.
    National Farmers’ Union, Christian Farmers’ Federation of Ontario and Ontario Federation of Agriculture…….?

    • If I recall, some or all of these groups were decidedly pro Industrial Wind Turbines at some point.

  3. As mentioned above, it’s difficult to see how endorsing and encouraging absolute private property rights will help the cause for anti wind turbine folks. The solution to wanting absolute control over your own property and your neighbour’s as well is to buy your neighbour’s property. Ultimately developing your tolerance and living with discontent with the activities of others is the norm if you live near others.

  4. A few yrs. back,I spoke to a fella who was putting up OLA signs beside a hwy, and he told me of a court case where a landowner was charged for moving firewood from his bush lot to his farm a few miles away. I thought at the time, that`s B.S..
    Then I purchased a load of slabs to burn in an outdoor furnace(a huge mistake but anyway…) shortly after they were gone I noticed an infestation of Dog Strangling Vine,that wasn`t there before.
    It`s been traced back to the place the logs were cut. Now I have a huge problem. And McStupid has banned any weed killer that works.
    So one must consider many things, when it comes to what one can/should be allowed to do, with ones own property. It can affect others substantially!
    Like putting an IWT on your property & destroying all the propertys around you!

  5. If you go to an OLA meeting they will tell you that you have the right to do what you wish with your property as long as it doesn’t harm or interfere with your neighbours property. If you put up a wind turbine and your neighbour can’t sleep than you have robbed your neighbour of his right to enjoy his property., In a sense you are stealing from your neighbour’s property without compensation. At one time I thought that perhaps the OLA’s positons were unnessecary but since our provincial government has abrogated its responsiblity to protect citizens from the harmful decisions of the big wind business I have had a change of heart. In think property rights need to be enshrined in the constiution, and I would love to see the Crown Land Patents eventually tested in the Supreme
    Court of Canada

    • The provincial government is NOT forcing IWTs on to private property owners, it’s the landowners that are gladly hosting the turbines for the money from the big wind business. OLA does nothing to protect neighbours from harming neighbours.
      As I pointed out above, if anything, it’s the opposite.

  6. Yes the problem is landowners are agreeing to host turbines, and the OLA itself can’t protect neighbours from harming neighbours but the court system can. All I am suggesting is that if the government has no interest in protecting your property rights (ie. your health and wealth) than what choice are you are left with but to defend it yourself through the court system.

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