Veresen, St. Columban Wind. Money troubles. Maybe this explains why they went after my dad for ‘costs’ in the Environmental Review Tribunal, being short on cash. They were denied costs in a decision by the ERT, and thankfully future Appellants haven’t had to face this threat when trying to voice their concerns in the only way that is provided to them.
But $32 million in liens? Did they EVER have the money to build this wind project?
Parcel Register for Property Identifier
LOCAL FARMERS NAMED IN LIENS WORTH over $32 MILLION
Huron Perth Landowners Association (HPLA) Press Release — October 8, 2015
Over $32 million in construction liens have been placed against St. Columban area farms. In many cases, it seems, they were applied without the farmers’ knowledge.
Six liens, valued at over $32 million, have been applied to local properties by wind turbine construction contractors, according to the Service Canada registry. From documents obtained four of the six liens have been applied since June 2015.
In addition, three Superior Court Certificates indicate that legal action has been initiated and, according to court records obtained Oct. 5, 2015, this continues to be an ongoing issue.
Information from one local farmer (leaseholder), who has construction liens placed against his property, shows that the liens are more than double the income he hopes to receive over the twenty-year life of his leases. He was told by contacts associated with the wind turbine company that the liens would be removed, and yet no such action has been taken. He was unaware of the more recent construction liens, which also impact his farm.
Subsequently, this farmer sought legal advice and was told that the liens relate solely to the lease. However, further research has found that the Construction Lien Act (1990) states that property owners are responsible in cases where construction has already taken place.
Service Ontario records seem to indicate that none of the properties are owned by the wind developer, and “property owners” are listed as the defendants. This may leave the farmer (property owner) with liability under the Construction Lien Act.
One Superior Court Certificate, dated June 5, 2015, names the wind turbine sub-contractor as plaintiff and 21 property owners as defendants. Also the general contractor, four wind turbine companies, one national bank, two credit unions, Farm Credit Canada and Farm Credit Corporation are included on the list as defendants. These actions could present significant financial risk to the landowners involved.
HPLA is seeking to convey to landowners and leaseholders that the potential financial liabilities could be far greater than the total value of their leases. Leasing land for any renewable energy project may present additional costs not fully explained at the time of signing. The full ramifications of these construction liens may not be known to the farmer until all court actions are completed.
There may be actions that landowners can take to reduce their liability even if they have already signed. Unfortunately, many rural property owners sign leases without receiving independent legal advice. Landowners should search for legal advice from professionals who have knowledge and experience regarding wind turbine issues and property rights. Lack of complete information can present risks to those who enter into these agreements, their families and their operations.
Contact for additional information and media interviews:
Past President – Huron Perth Landowners Association
Reporter – Landowner Magazine
Tel. 519-482-7005 Email firstname.lastname@example.org