Article

Wind turbine not recommended - PAC feels location isn’t appropriate for CAW project

Shoreline Beacon — The Saugeen Shores Planning Advisory Committee has recommended council not accept CAW’s wind power proposal. More than 50 people attended Thursday’s public meeting in Port Elgin.

Applause followed each critical stand spoken on the topic as well as the PAC’s motion against the 75-meter, 600 kilowatt wind turbine, proposed for the CAW’s Family Education Centre parking lot.

The plan to rezone the land from ‘institutional’ to ‘institutional special’ would allow for structure and provide the centre with about three-quarters of its power needs.

After two and a half hours of discussion, the PAC decided it was not an appropriate location for a turbine as it would have an impact on current and future development.

“The issue that it came down to was land use,” said PAC chair and deputy mayor Mike Smith. “We have no objections to the idea of wind power, it’s just not in the public interest to have a big industrial machine within the urban area. It was pretty clear from public opinion.”

The PAC acted on both public comment and input from Bruce County, which suggested the proposal didn’t meet all requirements and was inconsistent with the county official plan and policy statement.

“The short and long term impacts (of the project) have not been carefully considered,” said county planner Sylvia Rafalski-Misch. “There needs to be balance that reflects a greater, long-term public interest. The county... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
Applause followed each critical stand spoken on the topic as well as the PAC’s motion against the 75-meter, 600 kilowatt wind turbine, proposed for the CAW’s Family Education Centre parking lot.

The plan to rezone the land from ‘institutional’ to ‘institutional special’ would allow for structure and provide the centre with about three-quarters of its power needs.

After two and a half hours of discussion, the PAC decided it was not an appropriate location for a turbine as it would have an impact on current and future development.

“The issue that it came down to was land use,” said PAC chair and deputy mayor Mike Smith. “We have no objections to the idea of wind power, it’s just not in the public interest to have a big industrial machine within the urban area. It was pretty clear from public opinion.”

The PAC acted on both public comment and input from Bruce County, which suggested the proposal didn’t meet all requirements and was inconsistent with the county official plan and policy statement.

“The short and long term impacts (of the project) have not been carefully considered,” said county planner Sylvia Rafalski-Misch. “There needs to be balance that reflects a greater, long-term public interest. The county recommends the proposal be refused.”

“It doesn’t demonstrate an efficient use of land,” she said.

Neither the county nor the town have policies that speak to wind power initiatives, which Rafalski-Misch said need to be addressed.

Don Scott, the Cuesta Planning Consultant hired by CAW, was accompanied by three engineers to argue the CAW’s case.

Scott said he wanted a review of the county planning figures, which he said focused more on the surrounding area, not their request to increase the height of the originally proposed tower from 45 to 75 metres.

“That’s not what the report is about,” he said, requesting a deferment on the decision in order to respond to public and county opinion. “I think it’s important to understand the project better. It’s only reasonable that we be provided the opportunity to respond to the concerns.”

That request was denied.

Representatives from M.K. Ince and Associates, the engineers for the turbine project, gave a brief presentation to the crowd on the details and research of the project. They said the project would remove 700 tons of air pollution through the operation of the turbine, by reducing the centre’s pull on other electricity sources.

Through their visual impact study, they said 40 per cent of the town area would not be able to see the turbine and gave photographic depictions of how the turbine would look once erected. They said the noise from the turbine would not be a factor and would be drowned out by sound from the highway and other urban activity.

Resident Andrew Little, was the most vocal of three members of the public in support of the turbine.

Little argued that all regulations were met, the impact on the area is small and the benefits to CAW would be great. With exception to the height restriction, he suggested their was a hidden agenda against the project.

“Where is the pressure coming from?” he asked. “It can’t just be the height restriction. There has to be more.”

Rafalski-Misch said there is concern about disabling a 20-acre parcel of CAW land, which may be called upon for future town development. If the tower was erected, development space would have to be found in existing prime agricultural land.

Little said it is CAW land and they should have the right to build what they want.

“It would be their problem until they decide to sell the land,” he said.

When it came to the public opinions opposed to the proposal, a line-up of representatives from the Port Elgin Airport and Flying Club and birding/environmental representatives were among the speakers.

Issues were piled high from airport safety, bird migration routes, lightning strikes to degradation of land values and future town planning.

Port Elgin pilots Kevin Yaraskavitch and Ed Seguin said they support green energy initiatives, but with 1,800 flights in and out of the uncontrolled airport, the turbine falls into the airport’s flight path and presents a safety hazard to pilots.

“Why build in an established traffic pattern that pilots are legally obligated to follow,” Seguin said.

Cindy Cartwright has ties to various birding groups, including the Bruce Bird Banders, and said her concerns revolved around the turbine being built in the migration route, birds hitting the blades and having a turbine in an area known for endangered and threatened avian species.

“No environmental assessment was done because it’s too small to fall on the (MOE’s) radar,” said Cartwright. “We support clean energy, just not between known migration paths.”

Stewart Campbell, a resident of Goble Place, said the turbine wouldn’t be allowed under the new official plan, still in draft form.

“The official plan, in its draft form, would prohibit the turbine to be built within this area,” Campbell said. “It’s hard to believe that CAW would attempt to get this approved before the zoning bylaw is approved.”

Smith said the proposal is a conflict of land use.

The final decision lies with Saugeen Shores council which will vote on the matter, considering PAC’s recommendation, March 13.



Source: http://www.shorelinebeacon....

MAR 8 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/1570-wind-turbine-not-recommended-pac-feels-location-isn-t-appropriate-for-caw-project
back to top