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Council to discuss wind turbine policy; New report deemed more progressive

Barrie's welcome mat could be tossed out for wind turbines. City councillors will consider a motion tonight that asks for a public meeting on an expansive wind turbine policy. It increases their size and where they could be located in Barrie.

Barrie's welcome mat could be tossed out for wind turbines.

City councillors will consider a motion tonight that asks for a public meeting on an expansive wind turbine policy. It increases their size and where they could be located in Barrie.

"This report gives citizens, whether they be a homeowner, business person or land developer, the opportunity to make a positive impact on the environment right in their own backyard through the use of renewable energy," Coun. Lynn Strachan said.

"We want to work as a community to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and have a positive impact on climate change, and this policy will provide a framework to do just that."

Wind power is a clean, renewable energy source, and turbines reduce the need for electricity generated by fossil fuels, which contribute to global warming.

But there has been considerable controversy about where they should go, and how large they should be, in both urban and rural areas. Noise and shadowing are two of the primary concerns.

Councillors asked city staff late last year for a reworked wind turbine policy that considered higher structures and turbines in more areas of Barrie.

Strachan said at the time the policy being... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Barrie's welcome mat could be tossed out for wind turbines.

City councillors will consider a motion tonight that asks for a public meeting on an expansive wind turbine policy. It increases their size and where they could be located in Barrie.

"This report gives citizens, whether they be a homeowner, business person or land developer, the opportunity to make a positive impact on the environment right in their own backyard through the use of renewable energy," Coun. Lynn Strachan said.

"We want to work as a community to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and have a positive impact on climate change, and this policy will provide a framework to do just that."

Wind power is a clean, renewable energy source, and turbines reduce the need for electricity generated by fossil fuels, which contribute to global warming.

But there has been considerable controversy about where they should go, and how large they should be, in both urban and rural areas. Noise and shadowing are two of the primary concerns.

Councillors asked city staff late last year for a reworked wind turbine policy that considered higher structures and turbines in more areas of Barrie.

Strachan said at the time the policy being considered wasn't progressive enough and didn't place the city on the forefront of environmental issues.

She also said it was too restrictive.

Coun. Barry Ward said he favoured bringing the original staff proposal to a public meeting.

"Although there were aspects of that original report which raised concerns, I thought it would be a good idea to hear what the public had to say before we sent it back to staff for revisions," he said.

But Ward sees some improvements in the new staff proposals.

"In general, I like the fact the potential areas for medium-sized wind turbines have been expanded while still retaining a setback from residential areas," he said.

"I think that it (the new report) is much more progressive," Strachan said. "When I read the staff report I feel confident in saying that we are on the forefront of environmental issues as stated in our strategic priorities."

The new policy would allow for large winds turbines higher than 50 metres, or 164 feet, requiring a minimum 200-metre (656 feet) separation distance from sensitive land uses, site-specific zoning and studies to ensure impact is addressed.

Staff's previous policy defined large wind turbines as no taller that 40 metres, or 131 feet, with a capacity of generating 30 to 300 kilowatt hours of electricity. There needed to be minimum separation distances of 120 to 200 metres from homes, schools, hospitals, seniors homes, day care facilities, churches, wetlands or other wind turbines.

The large turbines can only be located on industrial, open space and municipal service lands.

The medium wind turbines would be between 30 metres (98 feet) and 50 metres in height, require a 200-metre separation distance from all residential zones and be allowed on most commercial and industrial lands, and in institutional zones. They would also be allowed in open spaces, environmental protection areas and Sandy Hollow landfill.

The small wind turbines would be to a maximum height of 30 metres, from the original proposal of 27 metres or 86 feet.

They would be permitted in all areas of the city, except the city centre (downtown) and the lakeshore area near it. These last two restrictions apply to the medium and large turbines, as well.

The maximum height of a turbine is measured to the tip of the rotor blade at its highest point.

City staff are also recommending that logos and advertising not be permitted on wind turbines.

Bob Jackson, of Jackson's Toyota in Barrie, wants to build a 123.5-metre (405 feet) wind turbine at his Mapleview Drive West automotive dealership -- considerably larger that what city staff want to allow. Height in this area is restricted to 14 metres.

This turbine would produce enough electricity to power about 500 homes. With regular maintenance, it has a life expectancy of 25-plus years. Jackson says the wind turbine carries a $2.5-million price tag.

The city's policy review on wind turbines does not make a recommendation on Jackson's application.

Jim Taylor, the city's planning director, has said Jackson's plan wouldn't work with an unrevised policy review on wind turbines. Jackson's proposal is expected to be considered once a city policy on wind turbines is in place.

Highlights of Barrie's proposed wind turbine policy:

Large turbines higher than 50 metres would require a minimum 200-metre separation distance from sensitive land uses

Medium turbines would be between 30 metres and 50 metres in height and require a 200-metre separation distance from all residential zones

Small turbines would be to a maximum height of 30 metres and permitted in all areas of the city, except the city centre and the lakeshore area

Logos and advertising will not be permitted on wind turbines

On The Agenda

* Kathryn Whyte of Hillcrest Public School and Meaghan Cunningham of Assikinack Public School will be sworn in as Barrie's new student mayors.

* Stefan Della Rovere, captain of the Barrie Colts, will be honoured for his efforts as a member of Canada's world junior hockey team, which recently won a fifth straight championship.

* Barrie councillors will consider a motion to negotiate exclusively with the YMCA/Correct Group of Companies to re-develop the former Allandale station lands.

* Aileen Carroll, Barrie's MPP, will make a presentation to city councillors about the initiatives of Ontario's Liberal government.


Source: http://www.thebarrieexamine...

FEB 2 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/18872-council-to-discuss-wind-turbine-policy-new-report-deemed-more-progressive
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