By Mary Golem, Owen Sound Sun Times
The president of Leader Resources Services Corp. has told members of the inter-municipal wind turbine working group his company will no longer send representatives to or participate in any meetings.
In a letter to group chairman Mark Davis, Charles (Chuck) Edey says Leader “had hoped to provide positive, helpful input to your group, however, we have come to the conclusion that our attendance is not wanted at the meetings.”
Edey said the decision to no longer participate was made “after months of being harassed, insulted and categorically dismissed by the group.”
Davis disagreed with Edey’s comments and sent a two-page letter on behalf of the committee to four provincial ministries — tourism, energy, natural resources and the environment — about the proceedings of the working group.
The working group, which includes elected officials and appointed citizens from municipalities in Bruce, Grey, Dufferin and Huron counties, was formed last year in response to concerns about industrial wind turbine developments, including effects on human health, the environment, property values and decommissioning.
“But the overriding grievance heard from the electorate by every office seeker during the most recent municipal elections was the failure of the provincial government to address the public’s grievances and the indifference of the wind energy developers to their widely voiced concerns . . . the wind turbine working group undertook to exercise its due diligence in the protection of the health and well-being of the community and environment by investigating the validity of these complaints and attempting, through sharing of information and discussion, to try to establish positive outcomes for our communities notwithstanding the loss of local planning authority over such projects,” Davis wrote to the ministries.
Edey stated “since the first time a staff member from our company attended a meeting both we and our landowners have been frustrated and puzzled by your conduct as chairman, committee members and anti-wind attendees.” He said his staff’s efforts to present factual information were “undermined by calling it biased.”
Edey also challenged the group’s meeting structure and asked participating municipalities to “rethink investing time, resources and money into this venture. We will not be returning until we can be assured that the committee is acting in good faith for the benefit of its communities.”
Davis replied in his letter that “it was only after Mr. Edey himself accompanied by a small group of his clients attempted to dominate the discussion with disruptive and aggressive interjections” that the group determined to limit public input at each meeting and says the group has “patiently listened to the small minority of landowners who will profit from wind turbine leases.”
Davis claimed there “would never have been a need to form the working group had these developers initially conducted meaningful public consultations as required by the Green Energy Act” and charged Edey’s record on public consultation “is abysmal” and that his letter is another attempt to “bully our councils into accepting his agenda.”
Davis concluded his letter to the ministries by saying “we look forward to a change from the energy policy which is now heavily weighted in favour of developers and creates an unjust and undemocratic process. This will avoid approving bad projects in unsuitable locations and the subsequent public backlash.”