Article

Council rezones land for turbines

Municipality of Kincardine council is unanimously endorsing a massive Enbridge wind farm project in the northern section of the municipality.

Council passed a site plan control bylaw for the project area, which will have a total of 121 wind turbines, at its June 14 planning meeting.

“We continually bill ourselves as being environmentalists, as good stewards of the land, it is now time to stand up, to be accountable and responsible for that,” Deputy-Mayor Sandy Donald said, prior to the recorded vote being held.

Donald added approving the project will help change the future of energy production in the province and help struggling farmers, who will host the turbines on their land.

“Farmers will now be able to feed cities in other ways. Perhaps this way they will be better paid for it,” he said. “Remember, the province is hungry for more than food.”

Council’s decision came one week after a five-hour public meeting was held at the Municipal Administration Centre. Residents spoke on the pros and cons of Enbridge’s proposed $400 million 200-megawatt wind farm.

The company currently has 154 possible sites for the turbines, with 132 being in Kincardine and 22 more in Saugeen Shores. Enbridge will choose the final sites once it decides which properties are more desirable for the turbines.

The project still requires the support of Bruce County... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Council passed a site plan control bylaw for the project area, which will have a total of 121 wind turbines, at its June 14 planning meeting.

“We continually bill ourselves as being environmentalists, as good stewards of the land, it is now time to stand up, to be accountable and responsible for that,” Deputy-Mayor Sandy Donald said, prior to the recorded vote being held.

Donald added approving the project will help change the future of energy production in the province and help struggling farmers, who will host the turbines on their land.

“Farmers will now be able to feed cities in other ways. Perhaps this way they will be better paid for it,” he said. “Remember, the province is hungry for more than food.”

Council’s decision came one week after a five-hour public meeting was held at the Municipal Administration Centre. Residents spoke on the pros and cons of Enbridge’s proposed $400 million 200-megawatt wind farm.

The company currently has 154 possible sites for the turbines, with 132 being in Kincardine and 22 more in Saugeen Shores. Enbridge will choose the final sites once it decides which properties are more desirable for the turbines.

The project still requires the support of Bruce County council.

The county’s agriculture, tourism and planning committee met on June 15 to discuss 16 concerns over an environmental screening report submitted by Dillon Consulting Ltd., on behalf of Enbridge.

After the meeting planner Leah Andrews said in a telephone interview that most of the concerns had been dealt with or no longer applied.

She said concerns that still had to be worked out regarded sound levels created by the turbines and setback issues.

County council will discuss the issue at its July 6 meeting. The county may request an environmental assessment of the project if its concerns aren’t addressed by this time. Other parties may also request an environmental assessment.

If the county approves the project, Kincardine council will rezone all properties slated to get the turbines and vote on a second site-plan for each property, which is currently being drafted by the municipality’s building department.

Council will also have to vote on the issue of a second laydown site, which is an area used to store turbine parts before they are erected and a temporary use bylaw for a batch plant, which will be used for mixing cement.

Dodd said Enbridge is now looking at using a local cement supplier, instead of building its own facility. He said Enbridge would not use a site near the Glammis bog, as it initially planned, even if a cement plant is needed.

Municipal council had the opportunity to discuss the project with Enbridge officials before voting.
Coun. Maureen Couture said the decision was made difficult because of the lack of guidance from the province.

“The province has left local planning authorities sort of high and dry regarding standards for wind farms,” Couture said.

She was also the first councillor to mention Bill 51, which has been discussed at the provincial level.

The bill would give the province the authority to control large energy projects, instead of municipal councils.

Mayor Glenn R. Sutton said he was also concerned with the bill.

“If we defer and dilly-dally around, next fall it would be pulled out from under our feet and the province will have the power to basically do what they want,” he said, when adding his support for the project.

“I think it is the logical thing to do. Let’s make this a success story and let’s move forward and make this project something people come from miles around to look at.”

A number of councillors also raised the issue of setbacks during this time.
Couns. Gordon Campbell and Barry Schmidt were concerned about the setback of wind turbines from neighboring properties.

Schmidt said he would like this setback to be the distance that equals the height of the turbine, which is 121 metres from the ground to the tip of the rotor blade, instead of the 50.5m presently proposed.

“They shouldn’t have the potential of having a windmill falling on somebody else’s property,” Schmidt said.

William Pol, a planner hired by Enbridge for the project, said the company looked at increasing the setbacks of about 20 per cent of the turbines by 30 metres, but decided against it after further review.

He said turbine locations were chosen after discussions with landowners, studies of soil, noise and geotechnical reviews.

Chuck Edey, from Leader Resources, said changing the setbacks would delay the project by about a year and a half.

“To go back and repeat that literally starts the process continually all over,” Edey said. “That would be catastrophic for the project.”

Scott Dodd, director of planning economics for Enbridge, said the company is looking at negotiating with neighbouring property owners on a confidential basis once the final turbine locations are chosen.

Pol also noted studies have shown the location of turbines doesn’t materially affect land values.
David Smith, the senior planner with Bruce County, said the issue of setbacks shouldn’t surprise Enbridge because the county planning department provided the company with recommendations similar to what council mentioned early in the project.

Smith also told council Enbridge has requested that entire farm lots be rezoned for the turbines, instead of individual locations.

 


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

JUN 21 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/3142-council-rezones-land-for-turbines
back to top