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Wind Tower proposal causes confusion

Members of Grey Highlands council did their best to clear up some confusion about a wind tower planning application the is currently before the municipality. The public galleries at Monday morning's meeting were once again full of opponents of the AIM Power Generation planning proposal to install a number of wind towers in the southern part of Grey Highlands.

Members of Grey Highlands council did their best to clear up some confusion about a wind tower planning application the is currently before the municipality.

The public galleries at Monday morning's meeting were once again full of opponents of the AIM Power Generation planning proposal to install a number of wind towers in the southern part of Grey Highlands.

Two residents spoke to council about the matter as unscheduled delegations. Osprey Township resident Doug Dingeldein made a lengthy presentation to council. He said the municipality's setback requirements of 300 metres for wind towers are now completely inadequate in light of proposed provincial regulations that would place a minimum setback of 550 metres on wind towers and a maximum of 1,500 metres - depending on the size, the number and the noise produced by the towers.

Dingeldein said if the municipality continues to follow its policy of 300 metres, it would open itself up to legal action on the matter.

"These proposed regulations would have significant impact on the Plateau project," he said. "The province is saying: under no circumstances are (wind towers) to be closer than 550 metres. That's a significant difference from... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Members of Grey Highlands council did their best to clear up some confusion about a wind tower planning application the is currently before the municipality.

The public galleries at Monday morning's meeting were once again full of opponents of the AIM Power Generation planning proposal to install a number of wind towers in the southern part of Grey Highlands.

Two residents spoke to council about the matter as unscheduled delegations. Osprey Township resident Doug Dingeldein made a lengthy presentation to council. He said the municipality's setback requirements of 300 metres for wind towers are now completely inadequate in light of proposed provincial regulations that would place a minimum setback of 550 metres on wind towers and a maximum of 1,500 metres - depending on the size, the number and the noise produced by the towers.

Dingeldein said if the municipality continues to follow its policy of 300 metres, it would open itself up to legal action on the matter.

"These proposed regulations would have significant impact on the Plateau project," he said. "The province is saying: under no circumstances are (wind towers) to be closer than 550 metres. That's a significant difference from the policies in place," he said.

Dingeldein showed council a map of the locations of the proposed AIM Generation Plateau towers and said that none of the turbines as proposed would be allowable under the regulations being considered by the province.

"With the new regulations the province is attempting to recognize the health hazards. The province recognizes there is a problem and is trying to put a number on it that is a significant distance that it will neutralize that issue," he said.

Virginia Love-Stewart also spoke to council on the wind tower proposal. Love-Stewart lambasted council for its handling of the file and accused municipal officials of breaking their promise to hold public meetings about the proposed wind energy project.

"To date, the public's efforts at getting answers to their legitimate questions - questions relating to their health, the value of their lifetime investment in their homes and their quality of living in this community and other environmental concerns - have gone unanswered," said Love-Stewart.

Both Mayor Brian Mullin and Deputy Mayor Dave Fawcett addressed the concerns raised by the delegations.

Mayor Mullin said there is a lot of confusion about the matter and he noted that emails about the matter have been flying in recent weeks. The Mayor explained that there are multiple processes being undertaken on the wind turbine application. One process is the local planning application and the other is through the provincial government.

Mullin said under the Planning Act the Municipality of Grey Highlands must hold a public meeting on the application.

"Before any decision by this council on a zoning application there is a public meeting under the Planning Act. That's the law," said the Mayor.

Deputy Mayor Fawcett said the municipality can even require multiple public meetings if it feels an additional meeting is warranted. The Deputy Mayor also pointed out that the proposed setbacks referenced by Dingeldein are only in the discussion phase.

Fawcett said at this point the only true setbacks for wind towers are contained in the Grey Highlands alternative energy policies.

"If the province passed a regulation that makes the setbacks 700 metres or 800 metres that is provincial policy and we have to enact those because they're more restrictive," said Fawcett, who pointed out that the municipality can't follow provincial policies until they are enacted. "Until they put that policy in place we can't deal with their pretend policy. Right now they're just talking," he said.

Fawcett said Grey Highlands is bound by provincial policy and must implement the province's policies if they are more restrictive than existing municipal policies.

Mayor Mullin told the residents at the meeting the municipality is being very careful with the wind turbine proposal, because it's a touchy subject for all involved.

"It's safe to say this council will move forward very cautiously. We understand and appreciate the comments from the public. We receive emails every day about this. I ask you to bear with us as the process continues. We're being very cautious," he said.


Source: http://www.bluemountainscou...

JUN 25 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/20825-wind-tower-proposal-causes-confusion
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