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Development charges tacked on turbines

Large wind turbines have the same impact on infrastructure as single-family homes, concluded officials from a pair of local municipalities. That's why Amaranth and East Garafraxa councils recently implemented a new development charge specific to the renewable power producers. "They are part of the community and there is wear and tear on the community," Amaranth Mayor Don MacIver says of turbines. "Like everything else, when a new development comes into a community ... they a have responsibility to share in those costs."

Large wind turbines have the same impact on infrastructure as single-family homes, concluded officials from a pair of local municipalities. That's why Amaranth and East Garafraxa councils recently implemented a new development charge specific to the renewable power producers.

"They are part of the community and there is wear and tear on the community," Amaranth Mayor Don MacIver says of turbines. "Like everything else, when a new development comes into a community ... they a have responsibility to share in those costs."

Development charges are designed, and mandated, to help municipalities recover the cost of creating or expanding services due to growth.

Prior to this summer, neither municipality collected development charges for wind turbines. In 2007, Amaranth struck a deal with Canadian Hydro Developers that saw the municipality receive $4,000 annually for each of the 22 turbines in the township.

However, that ability no longer exists.

"Before the Green Energy Act ... you were able to negotiate with the companies as to what they were going to do and what they weren't going to do, and ... what they were going to pay to do it," explains East Garafraxa Mayor Allen Taylor.

"If we have development... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Large wind turbines have the same impact on infrastructure as single-family homes, concluded officials from a pair of local municipalities. That's why Amaranth and East Garafraxa councils recently implemented a new development charge specific to the renewable power producers.

"They are part of the community and there is wear and tear on the community," Amaranth Mayor Don MacIver says of turbines. "Like everything else, when a new development comes into a community ... they a have responsibility to share in those costs."

Development charges are designed, and mandated, to help municipalities recover the cost of creating or expanding services due to growth.

Prior to this summer, neither municipality collected development charges for wind turbines. In 2007, Amaranth struck a deal with Canadian Hydro Developers that saw the municipality receive $4,000 annually for each of the 22 turbines in the township.

However, that ability no longer exists.

"Before the Green Energy Act ... you were able to negotiate with the companies as to what they were going to do and what they weren't going to do, and ... what they were going to pay to do it," explains East Garafraxa Mayor Allen Taylor.

"If we have development charges, we can make sure that the rest of the constituents in the municipality aren't paying to fix up damage they do to road networks and things like that."

Developers are exempt from paying for library and recreation services since they're redundant. However, they're required to pay the full residential rate for fire protection, transportation, police and administration.

As such, the residential charge in Amaranth is $9,330 and turbine proponents must pay $7,060. East Garafraxa collects $9,185 and $6,530 respectively.

Neither municipality collects fees for other commercial or industrial developments.

"They would be seen as a normal part of doing business," Ulrike Kucera, media relations officer for the Canadian Wind Energy Association, says of the new development charges. "These charges vary from region to region and have a history within municipalities. The levies vary depending on the impact of existing infrastructure."

According to reports presented to both municipal councils - they share an administrative staff - the Township of North Wellington was the first to implement a turbine-specific development charge.

Council there approved the fee in May and it was not appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board. The local councils are banking on the hope there won't be an appeal either.

In terms of residential development charges, Amaranth approved a three per cent rise, while East Garafraxa went two per cent in the other direction.

Taylor says the reduction is an effort to keep in line with the annual construction index.

"If that's what the numbers say, that's what the numbers say," Taylor explains of the decision. "If it goes up, it goes up. If it goes down, it goes down. We don't have to worry about trying to have to justify where it is."

As for Amaranth, MacIver explains the township hadn't bumped up its development charges in a couple years and a review of the situation suggested it was warranted.

"Existing residents aren't expected to carry the load for new residents," he says.


Source: http://www.orangevillebanne...

SEP 3 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/22026-development-charges-tacked-on-turbines
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