Bluewater passes $434,000 wind turbine building permit fee

Tyson Dyck, legal counsel for NextEra:“You may also know that under Ontario law there is potential liability, not only for municipalities, but also for individual municipal officials,” Dyck continued, “where there are actions taken that result in damages based on unlawful legal actions, such as the passage of a bylaw.”

NexterrorBulliesMac Christie, Times-Advocate Staff
VARNA – The Municipality of Bluewater has passed high building permit fees for industrial wind turbines in the municipality, but a legal battle may be looming. Council passed fees which will see developers pay $434,000 per turbine, as part of an updated bylaw March 4 under the direction of Toronto-based lawyer Eric K. Gillespie, whose legal firm drafted the bylaw. The updated fees will charge a $14,000 base permit fee, a $220,000 security per turbine for decommissioning, a $100,000 fee per turbine for matters related to health and property devaluation and a $100,000 fee per turbine for potential legal matters arising as a result of the turbines.

Gillespie told council in his view the bylaw does not conflict with existing legislation, such as the Green Energy Act. “You may . . . hear a point of view that says there may be issues around whether this bylaw conflicts in any way with legislation,” Gillespie said. “It’s our respectful view it does not.” Gillespie noted his firm looked at the bylaw in a practical sense, of how it would be applied in the real world and in the face of a legal challenge. “Thought has gone into how these amounts should be applied and what seems to be reasonable and something that the municipality can stand behind,” Gillespie said. “That is the basis for the recommendation.” He noted that’s why the firm recommended the originally proposed $25,000 per turbine, per year economic development fee be removed from the bylaw and instead levied as a development charge. Based on the expected 20-year lifespan, the fee worked out to roughly $500,000 per turbine. Read article

27 thoughts on “Bluewater passes $434,000 wind turbine building permit fee

  1. Legal counsel for wind developers always pul out the threat of personal liability for elected officials who pass regulations they don’t like. It is true elected officials can be sued in their personal capacities, BUT ONLY if they acted in bad faith when approving such regulations.

    • Correct. It is well established that a public official cannot be sued personally for doing their job. So, if they investigate and get expert opinions, generally they are covered.

      The same sort of coverage is given to Directors and company officers. That is one of the reasons that “experts” are so often called in to do studies and render opinions.

  2. Finally, a municipality that is standing up to big wind and trying to reflect the “real” cost of wind turbines that the Provincial Liberals are ignoring. Hang in there.

  3. I’m with Gillespie – in the ‘real world’
    ‘[excerpt] Gillespie noted his firm looked at the bylaw in a practical sense, of how it would be applied in the real world and in the face of a legal challenge.’

    NextEra – late; slip up

    ‘[excerpt] While NextEra applied for delegation status at the meeting, Bluewater chief administrative officer Steve McAuley told council the request came in after the agenda was released, adding it was up to council if they were allowed to appear.

    “No disrespect to the representatives from NextEra,” said Irvin in denying the request, “but quite frankly I’ve heard quite enough from the corporation.”

    And then…………………

    ‘[excerpt] As a result, Dyck spoke to council during questions and comments from the gallery, laying out the company’s concerns with the bylaw.

    He told council NextEra will now assess its legal avenues moving forward.

    “Now that the bylaw has been passed tonight, (our client) is going to have to take a step back and consider all of its available legal options,” Dyck said.

    He told council under Ontario law bylaws that go beyond municipal authority or are invalid, can be quashed.

    AND THEN…………….

    ‘[excerpt] “You may also know that under Ontario law there is potential liability, not only for municipalities, but also for individual municipal officials,” Dyck continued, “where there are actions taken that result in damages based on unlawful legal actions, such as the passage of a bylaw.”’

    Good Work Wainfleet –
    ……….traditional leadership trickling down to Bluewater.

    p.s. It must have been brutal on NextEra – to just sit there.

    • Maybe – We should take a look @ this again.
      ‘[excerpt] “You may also know that under Ontario law there is potential liability, not only for municipalities, but also for individual municipal officials,” Dyck continued, “where there are actions taken that result in damages based on unlawful legal actions, such as the passage of a bylaw.”’

      Press pause here………

    • Bluewater Flashback – 2009
      Topic: NextEra

      pdf. page 6 (bottom)
      3. Will you abide by the set-backs established in the Bluewater By-law (passed in 2009)?
      NextEra’s answer:
      NextEra Energy Canada was actively involved in the process of development of the
      Bluewater By-Law. We closely followed the discussion and will consider these in our siting

      The helpers!
      NextEra: By-law writing – in how many municipalities?

      I guess there’s nothing wrong with that – is there?

  4. The bylaw essentially defines a contract for natural resource extraction (mining). Since I write these types of contracts I can say that it looks quite reasonable on the face of it. Based on the value that can be extracted per turbine — the amounts are on the low side — if anything.

    People who want to explore the idea of whether the bylaw should stand up can look at mineral exploration, mine design, development and extraction and finally land reclamation as well as water and utilities acess. It is a model that should be used.

    Exploration takes time and has costs.
    Land acquisitions and rights and have costs.
    Negotiating with nearby people has a time and cost element for compensation.
    The building of the extraction units (mines, wind towers) has time and costs as well as access to public resources — power, roads, water etc.
    The running of the resource has costs and health issues and so on.
    The de-comissioning and reclamation is a whole different area.

    I suspect that if Eric G. had spent more time with mineral exploration and mining types the list of charges, duties, security deposits and undertakings and responsibilities might be considerably longer.

    Just a thought or teo for a sunny morning.


    • For those unfamiliar with resource extraction The Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada ( PDAC ) produces a complete environmental program you can follow. Here is one of the many documents we have to follow — all 309 pages — where relevant. Keep in mind that exploration, mine design and mine operation are all very different activities.

      Don’t download this document just for amusement — it’s big.—toolkits—environmentl-stewardship/environmental-stewardship-toolkit—full-document.pdf

      It should give you some idea of how to conduct an environmentally sound operation — from exploration through acquisition through extraction.

      For those who want to make a difference and have or can get the ear of a council or a council member it can be a worthwhile endeavor. It is not for the faint of heart. However, if you are committed to stopping the wind and solar blight and can cope with technical documents you may get many ideas of what to pursue in terms of crafting bylaws and legislation to stop the spreading blight.

      The prime objective of EES e-toolkit is to improve environmental stewardship in exploration. It is designed to achieve this by presenting a compilation of current professional practices in the exploration industry, derived from measures that are known to work and to be cost-effective.

      Most companies and individuals are conscious of the need for proper environmental stewardship in exploration. EES e-toolkit gives access to a compilation of current professional practices so that you can carry out your programs with the least adverse impact on the environment and local communities. You will minimize your reclamation costs if you incorporate these guidelines into your initial program design.

      Enjoy and happy reading.

    • Food for thought…
      3.3.6 HazMat—Firefighter Inhalation Hazards
      Many hazardous materials used in the semi-conductor industry are also used in the construction of PV modules. These include: silicon, boron, phosphorus, cadmium, tellurium, arsenic, and gallium. Under normal conditions, these materials are sandwiched and sealed between a layer of glass and a plastic backing all of which are encased in an aluminum frame. During a fire involving PV modules the aluminum frame can easily deform or melt, exposing these materials to direct flame. The hazardous materials then become dissipated in the smoke plume and may be inhaled by firefighters not wearing breathing apparatus. Firefighters should also take caution when performing overhaul on and around PV modules and other electric components and continue to wear respiratory protection until the scene has been cleared by safety or hazardous material personal.

      3.3.7 Battery Hazards
      In some PV systems, batteries are used to store solar-generated electricity. Batteries are used most frequently in off-grid PV systems, although batteries are also used in grid-tied applications where the user wishes to have electricity available in the event of a power failure. Without batteries, a PV system cannot store electricity.

      Typically, several batteries will be arranged to form a “battery bank”. The batteries in the bank are connected to each other with “jumper wires” to either increase voltage, or to increase amperage. The most commonly used batteries are lead acid. Lead acid batteries contain sulfuric acid that can cause harmful and explosive fumes.

      Once it has been determined that a building has a bank or banks of batteries, the IC and all personnel operating around the batteries should be notified.


    • And this cheery note…
      Take wind turbines (please)…

      Fire Departments should develop SOPs/OGs on emergency incidents involving wind turbines.

      Fires involving wind turbines may present a health and safety hazard to firefighters due to the electronics, flammable oils and hydraulic fluids that exist in the turbines. For example, up to 750 litres of hydraulic oil can be found in the nacelle. Electrical fires can also result from both shorts in equipment and surges that may result from lightning strikes. Additionally, secondary wind driven brush fires originating from wind turbine fires can also result in significant damage. Due to the height of wind turbines, firefighter health and safety may be endangered during a rescue from these turbines

      Although turbine tower collapses are rare, there is a potential of tower collapse due to various circumstances. The reasons for collapses vary depending on conditions and tower type, but have included blade strikes, rotor over-speed, cyclonic winds, and poor or improper maintenance (torque bolts). The majority of the major components (rotor, tower, and nacelle) have fallen within 500 metres from the base. The fire department should establish a safe work perimeter around the base of the wind turbine when there is a risk of public exposure to this hazard.

      We need mores legislation to keep our environment safe…

  5. If this comes down to a court challenge, it’ll be to see who has the best lawyers, and whether or not the judge is in somebody’s pocket….I’ll take the wait and see attitude….My money is on Gillespie, though..

      • Actually it is Eric who lives in “Counter-Earth” — the fantasy world — as do you.

        I remind you that the provincial government is full of people who “believe in” this environmental clap-trap where Industrial Wind Turbines and Solar Panels will save us from the Evil CO2 monster.

        To make it worse most of the urban population believes in this environmental clap-trap. It has been part of the school curriculum for over 20- years and has recently been re-enforced and upgraded to further strengthen the belief of our students — over the belief in science. Your own children are likely working against you folks!

        My bet would go on the provincial lawyers.

        It is their court room, their game and their ball. They write the rules. If they find they do not like the rules — they re-write them and/or issue or re-issue regulations to make their case more solid.

        True believers hire the people who enforce the regulations.

        Now — get a grip — and deal with reality. We are out-moneyed, outgunned and outclassed — and we are paying their game in their court and they own the ball.

        It’s going to take a lot of work and some smart manoeuvrings and a few budding Paul Watsons to win this game. Thinkaboutit!!!!

      • Hey WillR,
        You’re too gracious.

        You say,
        ‘Actually it is Eric who lives in “Counter-Earth” — the fantasy world — as do you.’

        If you don’t have the ‘charisma’ you can’t focus – on the fantasy.
        I’ve fluffed up your pillow, and left a surprise.
        You can jump into the action – too.

        Use promo code: The Sound of Thunder

      • When I first learned about all this environment crap many years ago, my first thought was science is going down.

      • Why thank you FT. I’ll just go have that cup of Hemlock I have been saving for a special occasion. rotflmao!

      • WillR: “Now — get a grip — and deal with reality. We are out-moneyed, outgunned and outclassed — and we are paying their game in their court and they own the ball.”

        But are we out-resolved? The French Monarchy and Aristocracy though they had the regular folks under their firm grip as well, but when they pushed them a bit too far, for their troubles, they lost their heads. Not saying it needs to go that far, but when you’ve truly cornered somebody, you need to be ever mindful of every possible pushback.

        Keep your stick on your sign

  6. Nexterror will have lots of support from every other Wind Weasel that are screwing US!
    I bet the wind weasels will have a fund raising dinner for this sleazy firm! Then Wynne can show up and pay back some of the support she and her Government have received from these carpet baggers!

  7. It’s very clear that the Green Energy Act and other legislation along with this was designed and enacted to install renewable energy projects in Ontario. This could not have been done with the consent of the people so the public’s right to have a say in these matters was removed.
    This has happend here in Ontario and in other places around the world.

    If the renewable energy businesses had to operate on thier own without government support this could not be done. Renewable energy businesses can’t stay in business on their own. Anyone can be in any business that gets enough government money to support their business.

    These are NOT REAL businesses and anyone can set up this type of business who can get government subsidies to make a profit. They also need to get financing which is easy to get if a government guaranties the business a profit so that loans can be repaid.

  8. do you really think there is a justice system …….who writes the Judges pay check…….I hope it passes but money talks

  9. Even with the deck stacked, I still applaud the attempt by Bluewater to fight Wind Companies and their own government with whatever legal hurdles they can come up with. If all municipalities agreeing to the moratorium resolution, actually attempted similar roadblocks, the task of the wind developers would be more difficult. I see the developers as essentially bullies, they will gravitate to where opposition is weakest. I think municipalities would better serve their people to fight development, rather than say it has been taken out of our hands.

  10. It is a good try and good to see Bluewater trying. But they should have went for more. Chatham-Kent got $1.2 million for one turbine that the wind company wanted to put slightly inside the airport zone.

  11. Pingback: “Cease & Desist” for NexTerror Energy? No thanks. | Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group

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