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'Issue Fatigue'

Most North Stormont council members have apparently had their fill of tilting at wind turbines, rejecting a motion from Councillor Roxane Villeneuve last week calling for the township to remain opposed to the recently resurrected Nation Rise Wind Farm, as well as any other similar projects in the future.

“I think it’s important that we continue to demonstrate that we are an unwilling host to any wind turbine project here in the Township of North Stormont,” Coun. Villeneuve said during the May 26 council meeting.

“In the past it has been voted twice at council that we are an unwilling host, so this motion is just to reassure or reinstate the fact that we remain an unwilling host.”

She added that it was important that the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks Jeff Yurek “understand that we still are an unwilling host and that we support his decision.”

Mr. Yurek in early December revoked the province’s Renewable Energy Approval (REA) for EDP Renewables Canada’s 29-turbine, 100-megawatt Nation Rise Wind Farm project due to the potentially negative impact it could have on local bat populations.

However, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, following a judicial review, reinstated provincial approval for the... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Most North Stormont council members have apparently had their fill of tilting at wind turbines, rejecting a motion from Councillor Roxane Villeneuve last week calling for the township to remain opposed to the recently resurrected Nation Rise Wind Farm, as well as any other similar projects in the future.

“I think it’s important that we continue to demonstrate that we are an unwilling host to any wind turbine project here in the Township of North Stormont,” Coun. Villeneuve said during the May 26 council meeting.

“In the past it has been voted twice at council that we are an unwilling host, so this motion is just to reassure or reinstate the fact that we remain an unwilling host.”

She added that it was important that the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks Jeff Yurek “understand that we still are an unwilling host and that we support his decision.”

Mr. Yurek in early December revoked the province’s Renewable Energy Approval (REA) for EDP Renewables Canada’s 29-turbine, 100-megawatt Nation Rise Wind Farm project due to the potentially negative impact it could have on local bat populations.

However, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, following a judicial review, reinstated provincial approval for the initiative on May 14 – a ruling that seems to sit well with the lion’s share of council.

“I understand where we were unwilling hosts. We went through a tribunal, a judicial review…It comes to a point where a lot of residents in the area who have come forward to me are tired of seeing this mess, and are looking forward to the next 20 years, moving forward with this developer,” said DeputyMayor François Landry.

“My view would be to accept the facts and move forward in good fashion. I would not be in favour of re-starting another process towards pushing Minister Yurek.”

Councillor Steve Densham was also opposed to Coun. Villeneuve’s motion, for two primary reasons.

“If this motion was to guarantee that we could shut down the project, I would support it, 100 per cent. But my fear is it won’t,” he said Coun. Densham, also pointing out that the township stood to take a major financial hit if council supported Coun. Villeneuve’s motion.

“It would put the (April 2018) Nation Rise Community Fund Agreement at risk, in my opinion, which is $6 million -- $300,000 a year for 20 years – to the municipality,” he said.

“The agreement, Article Number 9.2 specifically, states that ‘subject to the legislative discretion of its elected council, North Stormont represents, warrants and covenants that it shall not interfere or otherwise inhibit, any Renewable Energy Approval proceeding, appeal, or legal action involving the Wind Company.’”

Coun. Densham told his council colleagues that his “fear” was of “breaking our covenant…causing us to lose” the $6 million. He added that council would be taking a huge gamble in supporting a motion that likely had little chance of accomplishing anything.

“First of all, we have to assume that this motion would make a positive difference in the minister’s decision to appeal, that the minister would decide to appeal, and that he would win. And then that the win would not get overturned again later, by Nation Rise,” said Coun. Densham.

“That’s a lot of ‘ifs’ to bet on. I’d hate to see us lose the appeal, still get the wind turbines, and lose $6 million for the municipality. That’s like a 10 per cent increase on the taxpayers. So, with all that in mind, I don’t think I can support the motion.”

Councillor Randy Douglas feels that the general public’s hardline stance against the wind turbine farm has softened somewhat over the last few years.

“The vast majority of the people I talked to were not in agreement with the project. There’s a very broad acceptance of the project, now,” he said. “That’s not necessarily agreement with it, but there is acceptance of the project. There’s also a certain amount of ‘issue fatigue’ with it…So, we need to move on.”

Coun. Villeneuve said she “appreciated all of council’s comments,” but “obviously” disagreed with those remarks. “You all said if it (the motion) was to stop the turbines from being built…Well, maybe not all of you said it, but certainly one council member (Councillor Densham) said that if it was to guarantee a shutdown, then you would support it,” she stated.

“Well, this in fact, could definitely be a guarantee if the minister appeals it.”

Mayor Jim Wert commended Coun. Villeneuve for her “passionate” approach in dealing with “a very concerning topic.” However, he did not back her motion.

“I think there’s been a very credible argument put forth by Councillor Douglas this evening, as far as where we’re at with this process,” said Mayor Wert. “We voted twice to be unwilling hosts, but we now have very in-depth legal arguments, and legal documents were signed, that now put us in a partnership, essentially, with EDP. I certainly feel that you’ve gotta move on and I think that we’ll survive this and come out of it as strong as possible,” he added.

The vote was 4-1 against the resolution.


Source: https://www.glengarrynews.c...

JUN 3 2020
http://www.windaction.org/posts/51341-issue-fatigue
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