by Babette Beard, Meaford Independent
I am very concerned about the article that appeared in your paper of August 15th, 2011, “Municipality Close To Deal With Grid Cloud.” It seems that our illustrious Council has taken it upon themselves to proceed with their plan to take advantage of the Fiberal Feed In Tariff program that is subsidized by the taxpayers of Ontario. I hope they have done their due diligence. Here are a few questions that require investigation prior to signing any contract with any energy developer.
- What zoning designation is required in order to put solar panels on the roof of a municipal building?
- Who is responsible for insurance coverage on the roof should the weight of the solar panel +snow load be too heavy and the roof caves in?
- Is the project still going to go ahead if a structural engineer advises that the roofs are not strong enough to withstand the weight load without reinforcement? If so, who is going to pay for the cost of beefing up the support system?
- What are the tax implications for the Municipality of Meaford on the income received from this project?
- Once the project has run its course and the panels need to be replaced or removed, who is responsible for the decommissioning and disposing of the toxic material? Who is going to pay for fixing the roofs?
- When one puts holes in a roof, invariably it causes leaks. Who is responsible for the maintenance of the roofs during the life of the contract?
- Where do you think the money comes from for the FIT program? Just for those who don’t know, it comes from the taxpayers of Ontario. How are the residents of the Municipality of Meaford going to benefit from this project if you are yanking the money right out of their pocket? Why not just add it to the tax bill!!
- What are the repercussions to the Municipality should the company go bankrupt along the way due the possible/probable reductions/elimination of FIT program prices and can’t maintain the project?
- What research has been done as to the viability of Grid Cloud Solutions Inc.? Who have you contacted with reference to other projects they have done?
- Is there going to be a public meeting in order to give the residents of the Municipality of Meaford an opportunity to ask questions and voice their opinions regarding this proposal?
- Have you consulted a lawyer yet concerning the pitfalls of the lease/contract?
- Why is there a “sample” of the WindTamer going to be put on display in the Meaford harbour area? Are there plans to have them placed on each street corner in order to take advantage of the FIT program? If not on the street corners, then, where?
- Would the reason that Council adamantly refused to put any “roadblocks” in the way of the wind developers be because it would get in the way of your solar panel venture and you might not be able to take advantage of the FIT program and the residents of Meaford?
- Were you not actually working against the opponents of the wind energy project proposed for Silcote Corners? If the role of Council is to represent the public and to consider the well being and best interests of the Municipality, how has this responsibility been fulfilled in your decision to pursue solar energy?
Remember the old adage… “if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is”.
Babette Beard, Annan