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Council defers its wind turbine zoning decision

There were many speakers but no decisions made at Thursday night’s Planning Advisory Committee public meeting on the proposed Enbridge wind farm.

About 120 people crowded the Municipality of Kincardine council chambers and spilled into the hallway, during the over four-hour meeting. In all, 27 oral presentations were made, in addition to Bruce County Planner Leah Andrews and Enbridge representative Scott Dodd. Because of the volume of speakers and issues raised, council deferred discussion and a decision on the re-zoning of the 121 turbine sites until its June 14 council meeting.

The sentiments of speakers were split down the middle, with an estimated 13 for, 13 against and one neutral to the project, which could see 121 wind turbines erected in the former Bruce Township and southern Saugeen Shores. Written submissions received by the municipality were eight for, six against and four neutral.

Arguments against the wind farm were based mostly around the visual impact, setbacks, noise, the location of the proposed cement plant, affects on wildlife and the decrease in neighbouring property value and enjoyment of that property.

Arguments in favour were generally broader in scope and included it being a boon to the local economy, the fact it’s a ‘Green’ source of energy, how it would benefit local farmers, how it should be considered agriculture not... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

About 120 people crowded the Municipality of Kincardine council chambers and spilled into the hallway, during the over four-hour meeting. In all, 27 oral presentations were made, in addition to Bruce County Planner Leah Andrews and Enbridge representative Scott Dodd. Because of the volume of speakers and issues raised, council deferred discussion and a decision on the re-zoning of the 121 turbine sites until its June 14 council meeting.

The sentiments of speakers were split down the middle, with an estimated 13 for, 13 against and one neutral to the project, which could see 121 wind turbines erected in the former Bruce Township and southern Saugeen Shores. Written submissions received by the municipality were eight for, six against and four neutral.

Arguments against the wind farm were based mostly around the visual impact, setbacks, noise, the location of the proposed cement plant, affects on wildlife and the decrease in neighbouring property value and enjoyment of that property.

Arguments in favour were generally broader in scope and included it being a boon to the local economy, the fact it’s a ‘Green’ source of energy, how it would benefit local farmers, how it should be considered agriculture not industry and how the issue of bird deaths is overrated.

Arguments against

Kerry McPhee, who lives on Conc. 6 of Bruce Twp., expressed his dismay at the fact his property is beside the proposed cement plant. His family is planning to sell their old schoolhouse to buy their retirement property on the lake.

“It will lower my property value so much I won’t get what I need to pay for the other place. I wish you wouldn’t let them do this to Bruce County,” an emotional McPhee said to council.

Kathy McCarrel, who represented the Windfarm Action Group, said it has nothing to do with agriculture and should be considered an industry. She also said setbacks -- 600 metres from hamlets, 350m from residences, 151.5m from Hwy. 21 and County Rd. 11, 111m from municipal roads and 50.5m from property lines -- were nowhere near enough. She asked for “more realistic” setbacks, among other things.

Ed Roberts of the Tiverton and District Ratepayers Association had strong words for Enbridge.
“This is a case of city suits trying to put one over on the county hicks. Enbridge gets everything -- we get nothing,” Roberts said.

John Thompson, a Conc. 10 resident, said sound levels will be harmful to his family, even if they fall under Ministry of Environment guidelines.

“Why should we be forced to live with (noise) ... just because the Ministry of Environment says it’s OK?” Thompson said.

Bill Palmer, of southern Saugeen Shores, said there have been 34 cases of turbines falling over in the last eight years, while flying blades have been documented to land 500m from the base of turbines. He compared a falling turbine to a falling Greyhound bus. He told council it must ensure the public’s safety.

“You are representing the public ... you say it’s safe when you sign that zoning bylaw,” Palmer said.

Carol Clark, of Conc. 12, said this is a case of Not In Anybody’s Back Yard, instead of NIMBY. She said there is a high potential for accidents and health issues. She asked council if the municipality was ready to join Enbridge in the line of fire when it comes to possible illnesses and subsequent lawsuits.

Arguments for

Larry Kraemer, president of the Kincardine and District Chamber of Commerce, was the first to speak in favour of the project.

Kraemer said the chamber is in favour of the project and the economic benefits it will bring. He said Enbridge has acted in a responsible manner and involved itself in the community quickly.

“It will be a boost to our small and big business sector and the entire community,” Kraemer said.
Chuck Edey, who drafted the original plan for Leader Wind before Enbridge took over, spoke passionately about Kincardine being a leader in renewable energy production in Ontario. He said the province needs Green energy because, “coal is killing children ... they have puffers and asthma ... children are forced to stay inside in cities, while our kids are fortunate to breathe clean air.”
He asked council to not stall the entire project if only a few turbine sites don’t meet the criteria set forth. Those issues can be cleared up on their own, he said.

Steven Goetz, of Kincardine, spoke on the dire need to produce Green energy, as the environment is heading towards disaster in the next decade. He said Kincardine must be forward-thinking and be a leader in the province.

“The stakes are too high and the opportunity for community renewal is too great,” he concluded, to the loudest applause of the evening.

Kincardine resident Robert Cottrill said Environment Canada has a ‘wind atlas’, which lists Kincardine as one of the best sites for wind energy production in the country. He said the project must move forward now, as Enbridge has been a good corporate citizen the entire process.

“If this opportunity disappears it’s not going to be the last one ... Enbridge seems like people we will at least be able to work with and will listen to us,” Cottrill said.

Jennifer Webb said few are upset with Bruce Power being visible from area beaches, because they know it is required for energy production and our economy is based around it. She felt the wind farm is also a necessity.

Bruce Ribey, a participating landowner, farmer and business owner, said NIMBY is not a good enough reason to stop this project. He said power lines are something people have accepted with open arms, so why not wind turbines?

“Are you saying Hydro lines are more aesthetically pleasing than windmills? Power must be generated and transported in someone’s backyard,” Ribey said.

He likened this issue to Bruce Township’s founding fathers, who cleared their land and formed the municipality 150 years ago.

“It takes courage to take that first swing with your ax.”

Farmer Les Kemper said this issue reminds him of the pig barn issue of over five years ago. He said those shouldn’t have been called factory farms or industrial areas, they were just bigger barns to suit the changing face of agrictulure.

Phillip Andres said the community has been a leader in wind energy with Huron Wind and this wind farm is not, “an adventure in new technology.” He said everything carries some sort of risk, including cars and planes. He hoped people would support the turbines.

Laura Carroll, of Conc. 12, said her particular vehicle kills more birds than turbines are said to. She asked the anti-turbine group, who have argued on behalf of birds and bats, if they have quit driving cars and covered their windows, as both kill more birds than turbines.

The final speaker was Ed Hale, who built the 65m tower at Exhibition Place, in downtown Toronto.
He said it is a tourist attraction and is completely safe. He said a one-year study showed two birds per year die at the hands of the turbine and the argument is overrated.

“Birds aren’t as dumb as we think they are,” Hale said.

Council will discuss the issue and make a zoning decision on June 14.

 


Source: http://www.kincardinenews.c...

JUN 14 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/3020-council-defers-its-wind-turbine-zoning-decision
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