Turbine group dissatisfied, want base assessment level changed

free-money-imageThe Shoreline Beacon
Members of the multi-municipal wind turbine working group (MMWTWG) want the base assessment value for wind turbines changed. The province’s Ministry of Finance recently recommended adjustments to the assessment but no change in the actual base value of industrial wind turbines, Arran-Elderslie deputy mayor and chair of the MMWTWG Mark Davis told members of Arran-Elderslie council this week.

“The wind turbine group is writing a letter to Minister Charles Sousa expressing our dissatisfaction,” Davis told council, saying the base assessment at $40,000 “is artificially low and is nowhere close to true base costs.”

In a letter to Sousa, the MMWTWG says the cost of the foundation and tower for a 1.5 megawatt turbine is $800,000. “The base cost assessment should more closely reflect this reality,” the letter states, adding “subsequent indexing could then be introduced.”

“The existing artificially low base cost assessment has allowed successful industrial wind turbine proponents to have resources available to offer vibrancy funds to municipalities and/or funds to community groups,” the letter continues. “These offerings come with many strings attached and put the developer in a control position … the Green Energy Act and this artificially low tax base assessment have jeopardized the ability of a municipality to raise property taxes to conduct its business. The annual allocation of Ontario funding to each municipality is decreasing. A fairer tax revenue generation process is needed to offset this shortfall.” Read article

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  1. where Rural Ontario congregates

    ‘[excerpt] Although Suncor released its detailed proposal for its 46-turbine Cedar Point Wind Power Project for public comment in early December, members of the group say they weren’t able to access a hard copy of the documentation at the local ministry office until the beginning of January.
    They also claim some media reports cited the wrong deadline for public comment, causing confusion for residents looking to provide feedback on the project.
    However, the Ministry of the Environment didn’t grant an extension on the 60-day comment period, despite both the Town of Plympton-Wyoming and Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey calling for one on the group’s behalf.

    When member Audrey Broer called the Sarnia MOE office, she said she was told the compliance officer who was handling the project was off sick. The group had to wait until the officer returned to view the public documents, she added.
    Once Broer heard back from the officer days later, she went into the office to learn the group couldn’t photocopy the documents nor compare the printed copy with the online version by using an office computer.
    One of the office’s two compliance officers is now on extended leave, she noted.
    “I don’t mean to fault (local workers) for these problems,” she said, “but I think this office is understaffed for the amount of industries here for one officer to be handling these requests.”

    While an MOE officer who handles the area was on leave during the comment period, Ministry of Environment spokesperson Kate Jordan said another officer was assigned acting responsibility.
    “During the public comment period, ministry staff from offices both in Toronto and Sarnia had frequent contact with members of We’re Against Industrial Turbines via e-mail, telephone and in person,” she wrote in an e-mail.

    Proposals are typically posted to the Environmental Bill of Rights Registry for 30 days, Jordan noted. In the case of wind turbine proposals, the ministry has been posting proposals for 45 days or more.
    Ministry officials actually posted the Cedar Point proposal for 60 days due in part to the level of public interest and because the comment period fell over the holiday season, she noted.
    But WAIT members argue they didn’t receive that full 60-day window because of the delay at the Sarnia office.’

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