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Council puts off turbine vote

Arran-Elderslie has delayed enacting a one-year moratorium on industrial wind turbine construction after council was presented with new information at its regular meeting yesterday. Council had been expected to give final approval to an interim control bylaw to impose the moratorium, with a possible one-year extension, despite receiving information from the provincial government that such bylaws are not allowed.

Arran-Elderslie has delayed enacting a one-year moratorium on industrial wind turbine construction after council was presented with new information at its regular meeting yesterday.

Council had been expected to give final approval to an interim control bylaw to impose the moratorium, with a possible one-year extension, despite receiving information from the provincial government that such bylaws are not allowed.

Council agreed to hold off passing the bylaw after hearing there may be other ways to control where wind turbines can be built. David Smith, senior planner with Bruce County's planning and economic development department, said they could support the medical officer of health's efforts to address health concerns about the turbines, or declare the municipality a heritage conservation district.

"You need to have something that is defensible (in court or at the Ontario Municipal Board level)," Smith told council.

"To say the turbines are visually intrusive or that they gave a person a headache is not enough," he said. "You need to have studies completed to back up your claims . . . enacting a bylaw without doing your homework, without making it defensible, is simply not worth it. I... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Arran-Elderslie has delayed enacting a one-year moratorium on industrial wind turbine construction after council was presented with new information at its regular meeting yesterday.

Council had been expected to give final approval to an interim control bylaw to impose the moratorium, with a possible one-year extension, despite receiving information from the provincial government that such bylaws are not allowed.

Council agreed to hold off passing the bylaw after hearing there may be other ways to control where wind turbines can be built. David Smith, senior planner with Bruce County's planning and economic development department, said they could support the medical officer of health's efforts to address health concerns about the turbines, or declare the municipality a heritage conservation district.

"You need to have something that is defensible (in court or at the Ontario Municipal Board level)," Smith told council.

"To say the turbines are visually intrusive or that they gave a person a headache is not enough," he said. "You need to have studies completed to back up your claims . . . enacting a bylaw without doing your homework, without making it defensible, is simply not worth it. I know what you are trying to achieve . . . what I am telling you is that you need something that you can defend."

Smith and Arran-Elderslie chief administrative officer/clerk A. P. Crawford told council they are investigating if council can declare the municipality a heritage conservation district "to protect cultural landforms and views worthy of preservation," Crawford said.

To get such a designation, "a study by a well-qualified consultant needs to be done and that isn't cheap," Crawford told council. The designation "would help to preserve what you have" but cautioned council that placing such a designation "would be appealable to the Ontario Municipal Board. That's why you need to have it professionally done."

Smith pointed out the heritage designation could also limit what happens with other development within the municipality, everything from the construction of roads and putting up telephone poles to erecting silos for farm use and even woodlot use.

Smith suggested council should consider financially supporting Grey Bruce Medical Officer of Health Dr. Hazel Lynn's efforts to establish what effects wind turbines have on people's health.

"Assist her in her work," Smith said. "Use her voice and her data on the health effects as a way of making your concerns known."

The Green Energy Act allows for health and safety matters to be raised "and if you feel the province isn't listening to you, this is one area they cannot ignore. If you wish to really deal with the issue, give some money to the health unit and help them prove their point," Smith told council.

Tara ward Coun. Paul Eagleson called it "disturbing" that Arran-Elderslie "must lead the parade to prove the health effects of these turbines. That should have been done long ago."

Another option Smith suggested to council would be for the municipality to pass a bylaw, but again warned council such a bylaw "has to have a defense behind it."

"There are a lot of people with some real concerns about these turbines," Elderslie ward Coun. Mark Davis said at council's Oct. 13 meeting. It was at that meeting council voted unanimously to impose the moratorium.

Davis argued a moratorium is needed "until a study is done on the health effects of these turbines. Once the turbines are here, they are here . . . let's not make the biggest mistake to ever hit rural Ontario," Davis said previously.

Davis maintains there's "indisputable evidence that industrial wind turbines are having a very negative effect on the health and well-being of a number of people living around existing wind farms in Ontario."

Council agreed yesterday to delay the moratorium until staff presents further information, including about support for the health unit's efforts, at a meeting Nov. 9.

Keith Stelling of Arran Lake told council close to 40 municipal councils in Ontario "have already expressed the same concerns" and encouraged council to contact other municipalities through the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) to garner support for their efforts.

"It would be the first step towards making the isolation of these concerns less critical," Stelling said.

Lorrie Gillis of Grey Highlands thanked councillors for their efforts, saying "other municipalities are watching very closely what happens here. I was hoping the moratorium would be passed today . . . it would send a strong message to other municipalities who are ready to support your efforts."

Later, Davis said he was disappointed the moratorium was not passed at yesterday's meeting "but I understand the reasons why. If we can find a legal way to fight these things fine, but if we can't, we'll have to exercise other options."


Source: http://www.owensoundsuntime...

OCT 27 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/22854-council-puts-off-turbine-vote
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