“Basically, we couldn’t stop them.” That from Plympton-Wyoming Mayor Lonny Napper after Suncor Energy received its permits to start building the Cedar Point Wind Energy Centre. It’s a move the municipality has fought at every turn, but in the end, had to allow or face another court battle and the possibility of stiff financial penalties. The County of Lambton, which handles planning issues for Plympton-Wyoming, issued the permits – worth $378,000 – Friday.
Suncor spokesman Jason Valliant says the permits are “an important step in the construction process” adding the company will now complete a detailed construction plan. He expects the earliest the shovel will be in the ground is January. But getting the permits didn’t come without a fight. Valliant says Suncor has a contract with the Ontario Power Authority which requires it to have the turbines online producing power by 2016. “Failing to meet the terms of the contract will result in penalties to Suncor,” he said in an email to The Independent.
But Plympton-Wyoming was doing everything in its power to delay the process. The Ministry of the Environment gave final approval for the project in late August but by early October, the company had yet to receive permits. Read article
Orangeville Banner, By Chris Halliday
Mayor John Oosterhof isn’t surprised that the province has given Grand Valley Wind Farms Inc.’s latest project the green light, but he doesn’t have to like it. Whether his municipality accepts or rejects the Ministry of the Environment’s (MOE) decision doesn’t matter much though, according to the mayor.
When it relates to wind turbines, Oosterhof argued the province is going to do whatever it wants. “We have declared ourselves as an unwilling host,” he said. “But that is just the way it is. The province rules in all this. Basically we can say, ‘Yes, amen, thank you very much and go home’.”
On Wednesday (Oct. 15), the MOE approved the third phase of the Grand Valley Wind Farms project, which will see a 40 MW wind farm operating in the area when construction is complete. As per that Renewable Energy Approval (REA), Grand Valley Wind Farms has gained permission to construct and operate up to 16 wind turbines and a 45 MVA (million volt-ampere) transformer in Grand Valley and Amaranth. Read article
It wasn’t that Lambton Shore’s mayor doesn’t support the challenge of the Huron County farm families, he does, but after five candidates meeting where fiscal responsibility was the theme, he voted against the local support. A high-profile Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms challenge over the Ontario government’s wind farm approval process has received some significant local support.
Lambton County council has authorized staff to apply for intervenor status on behalf of the county in the Charter challenge spearheaded by three Huron County farm families. This Charter challenge, to be heard in divisional court in London, is believed to be the first of its kind to be argued at this high of a level in the justice system, county solicitor David Cribbs told council Wednesday. County staff have up to $60,000 to apply on behalf of the county to become an intervenor, and if successful, raise local landowners’ concerns over the provincial approval process as part of the Charter challenge.
“I believe this money is going to be well-invested for Lambton County taxpayers,” Deputy Warden Bev MacDougall told fellow councillors Wednesday. Lambton Shores mayor Bill Weber disagreed. He told the Lakeshore Advance when the original support of $20,000 came to the county council table he agreed. But, when it rose to $60,000 he just could not warrant spending Lambton Shores dollars, especially when he had heard loud and clear for the past few weeks at candidate meetings, “This council must be wiser with their spending practices.” Deputy mayor Elizabeth Davis-Dagg was absent from the county council meeting. Read article
My Huron Info
Huron East Council decided to get the opinion of its lawyer before deciding whether or not to get involved with ongoing legal action against the Province of Ontario pertaining to wind turbines.
Gerry Ryan, co-founder of Huron East Against Turbines (HEAT), made the official request of council at its Oct. 7 meeting. Ryan said he was appearing on behalf of HEAT, which was appearing on behalf of the appellants: a handful of families taking the province to court over the issue of wind turbines. He told council that it’s not HEAT that’s taking the province to court, but the group is supporting the families that are, over three specific wind projects: the K2 project in Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh, the St. Columban project in Huron East and a project in Kincardine.
The case is widely known as the Shawn Drennan case, an ACW man fighting the Kingsbridge II project going up near his home farm, however, a number of other families have since joined the suit. A request for a stay for the project was recently denied, however, but the appeal is set to go ahead next month. The judge did say, however, that the turbine companies were now proceeding at their own risk, should they continue construction while the court case plays out. Read article
Petrolia Lambton Independent
Plympton-Wyoming’s proposed wind turbine noise bylaw is going where no regulation has gone before. Council has given first and second reading to a bylaw which regulates the amount of noise coming from industrial wind projects. Council asked staff and the municipality’s lawyers to come up with the bylaw since much of the concern about the project has to do with the potential health effects of the noise coming from the turbine.
Clerk Brianna Coughlin says much of the regulation set out in the bylaw meets standards already set by the provincial government. “We can’t go beyond that,” she says. But Plympton-Wyoming is going to hold the wind energy companies to a new standard. “The only difference (from the provincial standards) is the bylaw has mention of infra-sound which not regulated by the province right now,” says Couglin.
Infrasound is inaudible for most people but can be perceived by other senses and it is measurable according to some experts says Couglin. Under the bylaw, if a resident complains about infra sound, the municipality would hire an engineer qualified to take the measurements before laying a charge. Read article
98 the Beach, by John Divinski
Some Kincardine councillors are not ready to accept a legal opinion they have received on four industrial wind turbines going up at three different locations near Tiverton. A recorded 5-4 vote has put the solicitor’s recommendations on hold.
Councillor Jacqueline Faubert says her motion did not direct council to legally challenge the siting of the four turbines but gave direction for more information on the process to make such a move and the associated costs. Faubert says she doesn’t want to accept the opinion of lawyer Peter Pickfield from Garrod Pickfield LLP until they can step back and review. Read article
Three weeks ago OWR blew the whistle on how wind giant NextEra Energy was trying to weasel out of paying for the damage it had caused to roads in Adelaide-Metcalfe township (pop. 3000). On the Sept 15th Agenda there was an item in the Clerk/Administrator’s report detailing how NextEra was stonewalling and not answering calls for compensation for damages on Adelaide-Metcalfe roads caused by the NextEra construction traffic for 38 wind turbines this past year.
This is a council that refused to pass the “unwilling host” resolution, twice. That should win them points with the windies, right? – uh, uh – NextEra is more like an abusive partner; and, the Township, acting like the abused partner, decided to “out” NextEra’s callous behaviour resulting in the OWR post. Purely by coincidence (?), NextEra just happened to send an urgent letter to the Township the very same day (Sept. 15) as the OWR article was posted. In the letter, NextEra offers to pay $895,000 for for the damage to the roads.
Two days later on Sept. 17, the council met in a closed session to discuss the matter with its solicitor. Faced with repairs that probably well exceed NextEra’s guesstimate, and with municipal elections in the offing, the council made 2 resolutions:
Resolved that Council rejects the letter from NextEra Energy Canada dated September 15, 2014 and request that NextEra Energy Canada sign the Road Use Agreement, previously submitted for their approval and execution. CARRIED.
Resolved that, should NextEra Energy Canada not agree to the signing of the Road Use Agreement, a special meeting be set with Council and NextEra Energy Canada to discuss this matter. CARRIED.”
By Don Crosby, The Sun Times
NextEra is taking West Grey back to court in its long-standing dispute with the municipality. It’s the latest effort by the company to secure entrance permits for properties in the East Durham Wind energy project and permits allowing oversize and overweight vehicles needed to transport components for the 14 turbines on municipal roads. The project near Priceville was approved under Ontario’s Renewable Energy Approval process on Jan. 20. NextEra’s latest notice of motion, filed Sept. 24, asks the Divisional Court to enforce its own ruling of Aug. 14.
A three-member panel of judges ruled then that West Grey’s bylaws governing entrance permits and oversize/overweight haulage permits were inoperative to the extent they frustrate the East project. The Divisional Court ordered the municipality to expeditiously reconsider East Durham’s Jan. 23 applications for entrance permits and Jan. 31 application for oversize/overweight haulage permits or alternately, consider any fresh applications that NextEra may submit. West Grey was also ordered to pay court costs of $15,000.
West Grey Mayor Kevin Eccles said the municipality made a new offer within 10 days of the Aug. 14 court ruling but it was returned with more conditions. “It came to us with about six more pages than what we sent. Council appointed a working committee on it and they spent about 24 hours going over it again. We sent it back to them and got this reply that they were not satisfied and were going back to court,” Eccles said Friday. Read article
By Barbara Simpson, Sarnia Observer
A high-profile Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms challenge over the Ontario government’s wind farm approval process has received some significant local support. Lambton County council has authorized staff to apply for intervenor status on behalf of the county in the Charter challenge spearheaded by three Huron County farm families.
This Charter challenge, to be heard in divisional court in London, is believed to be the first of its kind to be argued at this high of a level in the justice system, county solicitor David Cribbs told council Wednesday. County staff have up to $60,000 to apply on behalf of the county to become an intervenor, and if successful, raise local landowners’ concerns over the provincial approval process as part of the Charter challenge.
“I believe this money is going to be well-invested for Lambton County taxpayers,” Deputy Warden Bev MacDougall told fellow councillors Wednesday. Read article
Hydro One has threatened Clarington councilors with costly legal action if they interfere with construction of a $296 million transformer station
John Spears Toronto Star
CLARINGTON — Hydro One has threatened Clarington councillors with costly legal action if they pass a bylaw that could interfere with construction of a $296-million transformer station.
The bylaw, proposed by Councillor Joe Neal, would impose stiffer requirements on big projects to protect groundwater in Clarington.
It would require the developer of any large project to submit an extensive hydro-geologic assessment – a groundwater study – to the municipality for approval.
Local residents and a University of Guelph hydro-geologist have questioned whether the project could contaminate groundwater aquifers on the Oak Ridge Moraine, or underground and surface water flows. But the proposed bylaw hit a bump Thursday in the form of a stern letter from Hydro One’s law firm, Fasken Martineau. Read article
By Greg Peerenboom, Cornwall Standard Freeholder
One of the more controversial issues that faced South Dundas council over the past term is back on the agenda Tuesday. This time, however, wind farm representative Ken Little hopes the questions won’t be as grilling as past experiences.
Little is asking for South Dundas council’s acceptance of a $30,000 annual fund provided by EDP Renewables to South Dundas for hosting the 30 megawatt South Branch Wind Farm. The money would likely target the immediate Brinston area where the 10 wind turbines are located.
The draft agreement was not available to the media on Monday. Previously, Mayor Steven Byvelds had indicated that EDP would like to have some say in how the funds are allocated. The $30,000 fund was agreed upon in principle when South Dundas was notified of the South Branch project before construction took place last year. The wind farm began operations last March. Read article
Maybe they’ll learn good faith in big corporations gets you nowhere. Neither does being a “Willing Host”, apparently.
Adelaide Metcalfe Township
Re: NextEra Kerwood Wind Inc. Damages Update
On August 12, 2014, staff met with Mr. Jeff Damen, NextEra’s construction manager. The discussion revolved on the issue that NextEra had received the estimate for the damages done to the Township’s roads due to construction of the turbines. Damen indicated that he had spoken with his supervisors and related to us that they had no problems and would pay this amount to the Municipality and that they preferred that Township look after completing the necessary repairs. Continue reading
Bayshore Broadcasting, by Kevin Bernard
(West Grey) – NextEra has won the latest court battle for its plan to build fourteen, 80 metre tall wind turbines east of Durham. The Ontario Divisional Court has handed down a ruling in the dispute over entrance permits for the 23 megawatt development.
The Court basically tells West Grey to get on with negotiating agreements that will allow the company to proceed. It ruled although the municipality can issue oversize permits and entrance permits but they can’t be used to hold up provincially approved projects like wind turbines. Read article
By Brent Boles, Sarnia Observer
A Suncor plan to build 46 wind turbines in and around the Town of Plympton-Wyoming has been given the green light by provincial officials. A decision posted on the Ontario environmental registry Friday shows that the Cedar Point Wind project has been given renewable energy approval.
“We were expecting it. It’s highly disappointing,” said Ingrid Willemsen of the group We’re Against Industrial Turbines Plympton-Wyoming (WAIT-PW). “All the wind turbine projects seem to get a rubber stamp no matter how many arguments are in place against them.” Other turbines are slated to go up in Lambton Shores and Warwick Township.
While it wasn’t immediately clear when work on the turbines will break ground, Willemsen said she believes the decision means crews could begin building as early as this fall. One of the conditions of approval says that the project must be finished being built within the next three years. When the province reached out for public consultation at the end of 2013, they received more than 1600 comments in return. Read article
By Scott Nixon, Times-Advocate
SOUTH HURON — Citing a desire not to waste taxpayers’ money, South Huron council has decided not to support the Municipality of Bluewater’s appeal of Northland Power’s Grand Bend Wind Farm project. South Huron held a committee of the whole meeting in the afternoon of Aug. 11 to deal with six requests it had recently received from James Corcoran of the local Trees Not Turbines group.
As previously reported, Bluewater has decided to appeal both the Northland Grand Bend turbine project and the NextEra Goshen project. Corcoran’s first request to South Huron was that it support the appeal of the Grand Bend project.
Coun. Dennis Hockey said after South Huron has consulted with its lawyer, it has determined such appeals “are not winnable” because the province has taken away municipalities’ power. Read article
GDF Suez Canada intends to appeal a federal order to remove or lower eight turbines at the 99MW Erieau wind farm in Ontario. Transport Canada said the turbines, which have a 125-meter tip height, exceed a 45-meter height limit within a four-kilometer radius of the Chatham-Kent municipal airport. GDF commissioned the wind farm in May 2013. Erieau employs 55 Vestas V90 1.8MW turbines on 80-meter towers.
The federal agency in 2013 asked the developer to voluntarily comply with its request to dismantle the turbines, said Transport Canada spokesman Clay Cervoni. “When this was not achieved, Transport Canada issued a notice requiring the company to lower or remove the wind turbines in compliance with the Chatham airport zoning regulations,” said Cervoni. The notice sets a 31 December 2014 deadline.
The developer was surprised by Transport Canada’s demand to remove the turbines, GDF spokesperson Bonnie Hiltz told reNews. “GDF understood that we had received all the required approvals prior to construction,” said Hiltz. Read article
Municipality of Kincardine council is looking deeper into questions posed about the Samsung Pattern Armow Wind Project development agreement. Councillor Jacqueline Faubert explained that the wording of the motion was largely provided by a letter to council from Karen Breitbach, whose concerns she shares.
Staff will prepare a report to answer questions including why the agreement was discussed in closed session as opposed to an open session, and why it was approved while the project is still under appeal at Divisional Court. Faubert gave notice of motion asking staff to provide clarification on contents of agreement during the June 18 council meeting. “I thought staff had been asked to reply to the letter,” Deputy Mayor Anne Eadie said. “Has that happened?” Read article
By Barbara Simpson, Sarnia Observer
Lambton County may join a second legal battle brewing over the development of another industrial wind farm in its boundaries.
County council voted Wednesday in favour of joining a potential environmental review tribunal hearing in the event the Ministry of the Environment approves Suncor’s 46-turbine Cedar Point Wind project set for Plympton-Wyoming, Lambton Shores and Warwick Township. This move would mark the county’s second time participating as a party before the environmental review tribunal.
The county is currently participating in a tribunal hearing over NextEra Energy’s 92-turbine Jericho Wind Energy project. The tribunal must find serious harm could be caused to human or environmental health before it can overturn the project’s MOE approval. Read article
Jennifer Vo, Sachem
Samsung Renewable Energy has been suspended from using gravel roads in Haldimand County to build Industrial Wind Turbines and solar panels. “[The suspension] is on the project areas with gravel roads, so not all of the construction will stop,” said Don Boyle, chief administrative officer, adding that residents might expect to see vehicles leaving those sites, but trucks should not be driving on gravel roads to build.
He also noted that construction would continue along Highway 20, which is not a gravel road. County staff issued Samsung the suspension notice on June 23 after they said the company failed to comply with Haldimand’s road use agreement – in particular, the company’s obligation to deal with daily dust control.
“They have been doing some of the temporary [road] repairs, but we want it to be done quicker,” said Boyle. “The dust control was the last straw.” While the issue with staff involves the road use agreement, councillors also made note of other issues with the company. “My whole experience with the corporation as well as the subcontractors that they’ve hired has been so unacceptable,” Councillor Tony Dalimonte said. “They said, ‘We understand. We’ll do better.’ And what happens? Absolutely nothing,” Councillor Leroy Bartlett added. “It’s just not fair for residents of Haldimand County.”
Tim Smitheman, manager of communications, government and public relations with Samsung Renewable Energy, said the company plans to resolve the issue and gain access to gravel roads “in the very near future.” Read article
Kevin Bernard, Bayshore Broadcasting
It appears the proposal of 23 million dollars over 20 years to the township of Southgate, remains in limbo. Details of the increased offer by the giant wind turbine company were included in the package given to Southgate councillors on Wednesday.
However, Mayor Brian Milne says there was no discussion about it and no one on council talked about changing their position. Earlier this year, Southgate council voted to declare the municipality an unwilling host to any wind turbine project.
Originally, Samsung Pattern Energy proposed 5.1 millions to Southgate over 20 years but that was increased after they voted to be an unwilling host. Mayor Milne says it appears the wind turbine project is dead, but you never know if council will bring it up for discussion again in the future. Read article
Orangeville Banner, By James Matthews
Shelburne town council is tired of feeling “half pregnant” regarding the limbo that is the Dufferin Wind Power project. According to the Dufferin Wind Power website, local farmers and landowners who are involved in this project are enthusiastic about helping to provide clean energy for future generations, while also contributing to the financial well-being of the Dufferin community.
But not everybody is so enthusiastic. So far, the Town of Shelburne has received little in the way of co-operation from the project’s proponents. And, as was evidenced during a regular scheduled council meeting on Monday, the municipal government is fed up with the lack of attention.
The town has yet to receive project drawings, traffic mitigation plans, or an outline of potential measures to ensure the environment’s protection. The town doesn’t even have a proposed work schedule for the wind farm. Read article
Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
Suncor Energy says it welcomes a recent decision by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in the company’s challenge of Plympton-Wyoming bylaws aimed at wind energy projects. While Suncor is still waiting for provincial environmental approval for the 46-turbine Cedar Point wind project it plans to build in Plympton-Wyoming, Lambton Shores and Warwick Township, it earlier moved to challenge Plympton-Wyoming in court over several bylaws the municipality passed aimed at wind turbine projects.
They call for wind turbines to be built at least 2-km away from neighbouring properties, and set fees for wind projects that include a $200,000 per turbine deposit to ensure they’re taken down at the end of their lifespan. Suncor spokesperson Jason Vaillant said the court handed down its decision late last week. “Our understanding, and our interpretation, is that the judge ruled in Suncor’s favour, in this case,” he said. “And we’re satisfied with that decision.”
But, the municipality says it’s not giving up. Plympton-Wyoming issued a press release Thursday saying the judge determined some portions of the municipality’s bylaws are not effective because they conflict with provincial rules, or would be difficult to apply. “We’re very disappointed with the ruling,” said Mayor Lonny Napper, but he added, “There’s some light at the end of the tunnel here, and we think there’s room to move on it.” Read article
Bayshore Broadcasting, Jon Meyer
Kincardine has finalized an agreement with Samsung and Pattern Energy that will add 13.6 million dollars to the municipal coffers over the next 20 years. Samsung and Pattern are the developers of the 90 turbine Armow wind project – slated to be built later this year.
Kincardine Mayor Larry Kraemer calls it a state of the art agreement. Deputy Mayor Anne Eadie tells us it’s the best deal possible. She says council would have liked further setbacks. But she says they negotiated a number of different requests with Samsung that favoured Kincardine.
Councillor Jacqueline Faubert doesn’t like the agreement, calling it a sad day in the history of rural Ontario. Read article
Niagara This Week, Steve Henschel
Last week township council voted to approve a motion by Alderman Betty Konc calling on the province to review its current renewable energy process. Konc explained the motion is yet another attempt for the town to gain some traction in the continued effort to stop wind turbine development in the area.
“It’s a motion born out of frustration,” said Konc, noting under the current Green Energy Act the township cannot outright stop the construction of turbines that some have associated with health risks and declining property values. The township did attempt to initiate a two-kilometre setback requirement for turbines, a move later quashed in court.
“They need to stop this nonsense,” said Konc of the province, adding, “we have the right to say we don’t want a Tim Hortons, we don’t want a gas plant … the whole countryside’s democratic rights have been taken away.” Read article
By Don Crosby, The Sun Times
DURHAM – West Grey is joining a growing number of municipalities across Ontario that are exploring ways of creating quiet nights for people living near industrial wind turbines. Council voted last Monday to throw its support behind a coalition of municipalities seeking a nuisance noise bylaw for wind turbines.
Mayor Kevin Eccles said council decided to support the coalition following a presentation at a recent committee of the whole meeting by North Perth Coun. Warren Howard, who is touring Ontario seeking support for a common bylaw. Howard told West Grey councillors that a recent American study claims to show the impact of wind turbines on personal health. Read article
Don Crosby, The Sun Times
Grey Highlands is hoping to take advantage of a loophole in the Green Energy Act to enact a bylaw that would freeze the issuing of permits controlled by council, slowing down the placing of industrial wind turbines in the municipality.
Chief administrative officer Dan Best stressed the proposed bylaw doesn’t purport to stop industrial wind turbines, but delay them until it can be determined whether they cause health problems.
The bylaw has the support of Grey Highlands Renewable Energy Working Group, a grassroots organization that has been challenging wind energy projects in the municipality. Read article
(Grey Highlands) – Grey Highlands Council will consider a bylaw on Monday to freeze any new permits for construction of industrial wind turbines in the municipality. It is part of the regular council meeting which begins at 5 PM. CAO Dan Best says called the “Grey Highlands Renewable Energy Working Group” wants any proposed projects to take into account the concerns of nearby residents about any impact on their health.
Medical Officer of Health Doctor Hazel Lynn presented a report just over a year ago, that looked at various studies around the world, on the health complaints from people living near Giant wind turbines. Read article
By John Miner, The London Free Press
An attempt to win municipal backing for a major wind turbine farm north of London has been voted down despite an offer of millions of dollars for a community fund that could be used for everything from social events to lowering property taxes. Southgate Township near Mount Forest had been in discussions with Samsung for months for two possible renewable energy projects – a 120 megawatt wind farm and a 50 megawatt solar energy project.
A month ago Southgate council passed a resolution stating it would consider declaring itself a “willing host” for the projects if a satisfactory agreement could be reached for a community benefit agreement. A draft agreement from Samsung offered $5.1 million over 20 years in exchange for council’s backing.
But Wednesday night Southgate council voted to go in the opposite direction and passed a resolution declaring itself an “unwilling host” for industrial wind farm developments. Mayor Brian Milne, who initiated the motion, said it had become clear the wind farm proposal was splitting the rural community. “I could see this was going nowhere in terms of the community,” Milne said Thursday. Read article
Watch CTV News
Listowel Banner, Andrew Smith
LISTOWEL – Residents in the community are taking legal action against a proposed wind energy project for North Perth and Perth East in hopes of keeping the development out of their backyards.
A community meeting was held at the Listowel Agricultural Hall on March 28, where organizer Karen Galbraith spoke to residents on the development of a draft legal claim against Invenergy Canada. Seventeen property owners have already joined the draft legal claim, Galbraith said, which was initiated after a meeting with Toronto lawyer Eric Gillespie last August. Gillespie has handled a number of cases against wind companies, fighting for residents who believe the proximity of wind turbines causes a drop in property value.
Galbraith said the legal action is still very preliminary, but feels the interest from residents is encouraging. “To have that amount of interest in a preliminary draft legal claim, is I think very positive for our community,” she said. “The more we have that can participate, it’s a stronger force against the whole project.” Read article
Bayshore Broadcasting, Jon Meyer
The large wind turbine project in Southgate has apparently been stopped. Mayor Brian Milne says the Samsung, Pattern Energy project needed willing host status from the Township to move ahead.
At last night’s meeting, Milne says Council voted unanimously to stop the wind project by declaring itself an unwilling host. Milne says there was no way the township could resolve a number of issues it had with the project, without more control. He says it was apparent the project would tear the community apart. Samsung needed willing host status to move ahead with its 50 turbine, 120-megawatt wind farm proposal.
Milne applauds the Province for giving them that out clause, and the ability to say no. But Milne wishes the Province gave them site plan control. Instead, he says council had to say yes, with no conditions. Read article and listen