Huron East farmers hit with $32 million liens by wind turbine construction contractors

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? 

spiderplow lien wind


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:

Dave Hemingway
Past President – Huron Perth Landowners Association
Reporter –  Landowner Magazine
Tel. 519-482-7005             Email davehemingway@gmail.com

20 thoughts on “Huron East farmers hit with $32 million liens by wind turbine construction contractors

  1. I don’t feel sorry for them. Its time people who want to grab cash and split their communities get bit in the as+

  2. It’s hard to feel sympathy for these host landowners. It’s a long time since any landowner could claim ignorance when they choose to begin secret meetings with wind contractors and even signed contracts containing gag orders.
    They have chosen themselves and their bank accounts over their families, neighbours and communities.
    It should hardly be a surprise that the mostly foreign owned wind companies will have had their lawyers seeking any legal way to impose as much financial control over this wind industry as they possibly can.
    These liens, and it will be a method the wind companies use on every wind project if they can, will effectively remove a host landowners ability to do anything with his land in the future. No one will buy with such a financial burden imposed and if I were a financial institution I would hesitate to offer any loans to these affected host landowners. The host landowner is left with nothing apart from his annual income from the wind companies and acres of otherwise worthless land.
    And that is the most frightening aspect of this entire new slant on Premier Wynne’s Green Energy policies. She is handing over the future ownership of an ever growing mass of Ontario’s farmland to mainly foreign owned wind companies. It makes the present mere financial scam a minor issue. A potential land grab of these proportions by foreign interests is something no province can survive.
    Andrew Watts

  3. Related Articles above:

    “Skypower deadline passes”, 2009, written by a lawyer abut construction liens on property.

    This kind of information is not new but it is being ignored by those who sign renewable energy options and leases. The only new thing here is that the actual property lien records are being shown. Seeing is believing!

    Lenders won’t lend money if they don’t have collateral to back up their loans.

    These people/hosts have allowed tenants to put liens on their property as collateral for construction loans.

  4. The article does not explain it properly. It is likely that the farmer signed as contract for construction of a wind farm by a developer, but the law places the onus on the property owner to either complete the construction or remove the part already done if it is not to be completed. Just guessing, Does any one know the real story. Serves them right in any case

    • The host signed a contract with the developer but didn’t know what else was in the contractor or didn’t understand what the full terms/conditions of the contract were.

      It’s the “what else” that then allowed the construction contractor to put the lien on the property.

  5. I find it hard to imagine that farmers wittingly signed leases to allow tenants to put liens on their property as collateral for construction loans.

    I agree that they should have consulted with their lawyer.

  6. I tried to warn some greedy folks in our area some years ago that they should be having their agreements reviewed by lawyers with extensive experience in all the ramifications of industrial wind installations on their properties…because it entailed many risks and limitations they did not fully understand.

    I wish that I could say that I feel sorry for any one of the land owners who have been nailed with these liens. I really wish I could. But I can’t.

    As my Nanna used to say…’you made your own bed…now you have to lie in it.”

  7. Wonder if Dianne Saxe thinks
    this is another “benefit”
    caused by wind turbines?

  8. Dumb question, but if the liens are so high my take is that they not only included said lands but any of the farmers business such as a pig/ dairy operation not to mention the family homestead?

    If so, greed bypassed any rational thinking and they have everything to loose. Green energy, so much for their “wind is free ” campaign…clearly it is not.

    • If the IWT lease is with a family owned partnership or corporation it could.

      Not a dumb question at all!

  9. I am surprised that a farm of this size would allow a wind farm to take over this prime agricultural operation.cash crop or whatever.
    Now lawyer up and watch all your profits go away.
    From the tribunals I have attended no body wants to hear what you have to say.

  10. You know what I hope? I hope that every solar panel and windmill installer in the Country gets the same idea, that’s what I hope.

  11. It REALLY looks GOOD on these farmers or host to the Foreign wind companies (Siemens and Samsung for example) if they did not go over their contract carefully and get legal advice before signing.
    Once again though GREED can make you STUPID!

  12. It REALLY looks GOOD on the farmers or host of these Foreign owned windmill companies who are just as GREEDY as themselves if they never took the time to carefully read over their contracts and if necessary to seek legal advice before signing the contract to host these UGLY BIG FANS.
    But once again GREED can make you stupid and I don’t feel a bit sorry for them.

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