by Luke Edwards, Niagara This Week
Coun. Dave Elliott doesn’t want council to blindly support an offshore wind energy project in Lake Ontario. “Before we support this, let’s see both sides,” he told council on Monday. Elliott was referring to an item in the agenda that would throw support behind a consortium called Lake Ontario Offshore Network (LOON), which plans to build around 100 turbines 5 km off the cost of Lake Ontario. The consortium approached the city to “encourage the Ontario government to remove the roadblocks to allow the development of offshore wind power in Ontario,” the motion said.
“On hold is not a bad idea,” said Coun. Ron Bodner, agreeing with Elliott.
Elliott suggested that council revise the motion to encourage the provincial government to expedite studies on the effects of offshore turbines on health and the environment.
“I’d rather say, ‘come on Government of Ontario, get your act together.’ Let’s see the studies,” Elliott said.
The province issued a moratorium on offshore wind power in February 2011 to conduct further studies. There has been no indication when those studies will be released or what the current state of the studies is, said Mayor Vance Badawey.
Elliott noted that with the neighbouring Township of Wainfleet currently undergoing its own wind power fight, albeit a land turbine issue, it wouldn’t be wise for the city to throw its support behind the consortium without proper research.
Offshore wind energy is on the radar for the city, said Stephen Thompson, general manager and director of economic development, tourism and marketing.
“We do see it as a growth sector,” he said.
Council amended the motion to push the government to complete its studies and support LOON if the studies come back positive.