CLEARVIEW TWP. - Six separate appeals have been filed to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) against its approval of the wpd Canada project to construct eight 500-ft wind turbines east of Stayner.
At the Feb. 29 Clearview council meeting, Deputy Mayor Barry Burton said that in addition to appeals filed by Clearview Township, the Town of Collingwood and the County of Simcoe, appeals have also been filed from Kevin and Gail Elwood, the Wiggins Group and Preserve Clearview Ltd.
Burton didn't discuss the topic any further but later in the meeting, council was reluctant to even receive the lengthy wpd Fairview Wind Project Renewable Energy Approval (REA) document for information.
"This is in no way accepting the report, it's just for information," said Burton, who chaired the meeting.
The municipality is opposed to the project due to concerns over public safety as the closest wind turbine is just more than 3,000 metres from the end of the runway at the Collingwood Regional Airport.
In addition, plans for the Clearview Aviation Park is expected to attract business and potentially hundreds of jobs in the aeronautic industry and therefore expand use of the airport. A study commissioned by the municipality, found that turbine construction would put the economic development project in jeopardy.
Clearview fought and received intervenor status in a court case between wpd Canada and the MOECC in order to voice its opposition to the project.
But on Feb. 11, the day before the case was to be heard, the MOECC granted wpd approval to construct the turbines.
Coun. Thom Paterson said during the council meeting, "This is the kind of insult many municipalities feel in this process. We can make the concerns known and be ignored... This has to be stopped. Many municipalities have made that known. Hopefully the government will start to listen.
"Here's a another example of your government not listening to your municipality," he said.
Following the meeting, Burton said the municipality is "forced" to go to the appeal route because they didn't get their day in court.
"Premier Wynne talked about how unwilling communities would get their say and that wind turbines wouldn't be forced upon them and that's exactly what's happening in Clearview. They are being forced upon us," he said.
"And when we tried to have a proper hearing and spent money in the process, they bailed at the last minute and caved into wpd, so it's very disappointing," he said.
"I don't feel the province has done its due diligence."
The next step in a "normal" appeal process is for a hearing officer to be determined and a date for a pre-hearing set. Legislation indicates than the appeal will be heard within six months, said Steve Sage, chief administrative officer, who added he's not sure this case will be normal.
"If this was anything other than green energy, I'd be confident. But because it's green energy, I have no confidence in the process," he said.