Articles filed under Zoning/Planning from Canada

Tilting at windmills: National body says Brighton only municipality with moratorium

But the decision by Brighton council last week to place a moratorium on erection of windmills, pending a review, shows the potential for resistance. The move follows a similar short-term step by Alnwick/Haldimand, but is otherwise thought to be unique in Canada. By passing the by-law, Brighton became the only municipality in the country known to have a moratorium on windmills, according to the national wind energy association.
28 Feb 2008

Transformer noise dominates OMB hearing

Following unchallenged presentations by lawyers for Canadian Hydro Developers and the Township of Amaranth, two acoustical experts testified that the transformer is in compliance with Ministry of Environment guidelines, but that there'll be modifications to reduce the sound levels even further. Specifically, according to expert Steve Titus, the sound within the homes of the neighbouring Thompson and Whitworth families was that the sound levels at 360 hertz now have a raw measurement of 15-20 dBln, which he said translates to between 9 and 14 dBa (decibels) - the sound perceived by the human ear. ...The present transformer is rated at 83 decibels. CHD has agreed to replace it with one rated at 80, and the second transformer would also be at 80 decibels. At that rating, he said, the noise level would be similar to the present. The tested rating of the transformers, however, is in the order of 71 decibels, which would reduce the sound below the present level. Additionally, the substation would be fully enclosed with a 6.5-metre sound barrier.
28 Feb 2008

Mixed reviews for wind power

While one can appreciate the economic and environmental benefits of wind power, residents of four communities in Eastern Kings County, P.E.I., wish they had asked some tough questions. Low-frequency noise from the wind turbines at the Eastern Kings Wind Farm has forced two families to move. Kevin and Sheila Bailey, and their son and daughter-in-law Dwaine and Dodi Bailey, left Elmira seven months ago and moved to nearby communities. Problems started a year ago when the turbines began operating. ..."We were told the windmills are coming, and you don't want to make too many waves." Now, he wishes the community had taken a more active role before the wind farm went up in the centre of four communities.
24 Feb 2008

Amaranth turbine hearing rescheduled

The conclusion of the Ontario Municipal Board hearing into the Amaranth portion of the 132- megawatt Melancthon II wind farm is being scheduled for the township offices at Laurel on Feb. 27 and 28. ...At the earlier hearing, Mr. Jackson indicated his dissatisfaction with an earlier Certificate of Approval for the first of two 230 kV transformers at a time when neighbour Paul Thompson and others said they were still unhappy with the noise abatement.
21 Feb 2008

Wind farm proposed for Hat area

Another wind energy company is looking at developing a wind farm in the Medicine Hat area that could be producing 120 megawatts of electricity by late 2009. ..."Our biggest hurdle right now is getting our environmental assessment component completed, which is possibly going to be done here in the fall. ...Plava said he's expecting less resistance for the project than did the previously proposed Wild Rose Wind Farm, which encountered opposition from environmentalist concerned about the impact on the Cypress Hills Fringe Area and the impact on view sites in the hills.
18 Feb 2008

Villain or hero: The answer is blowing in the wind

Blight on the landscape? Benefit to the environment? These are likely to be just two of the many issues debated when public consultation begins on construction of a second wind farm in Algoma. ..."The site was picked because it is good, high elevation and close to the lake" says spokesperson Catherine Taylor-Hell, whose consulting company will carry out the public process for Vortex. Little information is known about the developer - there is no website and all initial contact with the company is being done through M.K Ince and Associates Ltd., of Waterdown, Ont. ...This will be its first venture in Northern Ontario and its first lease on public land.
16 Feb 2008

Wind farm proposed south of city

U.K.-based developer Fred.Olsen Renewables is seeking to build 50 to 75 wind turbines on the summit of Mount George, 38 km southeast of Prince George. ..."Birds and wind turbines can coexist quite happily, but you have to know what kind of birds you have," he said. In some wind farms birds of prey nesting nearby have had no problems, he said. However other birds, like geese, can collide with turbines if they're along a migration route. In addition, the developer has to consider the effect on the human landscape - broadcast signals, air traffic and aesthetics.
15 Feb 2008

Wind farm decisions deferred; Submissions to continue March 25

Several wind farm projects slated for the municipality have been deferred until next month. However, there was still more than three hours of discussion Monday on the four sites Gengrowth is proposing for North, South, East and West Kent. Doug Desmond, a local lawyer speaking for concerned residents, had asked council during the planning meeting to put off the matter so proper submissions could be prepared. "A lot of information we needed to respond to was not made available until recently," he said.
12 Feb 2008

No single answer for wind farm rules: report

Nova Scotia municipalities grappling with questions about wind turbines near homes will not find a templated solution in a new report prepared for the group representing them. A consultants' report suggests the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities choose land-use bylaws or development agreements to make rules dealing with noise from wind turbines and the distance they should be from homes. Though the report makes some suggestions, there is no single prescription for municipalities that have to set their own rules.
6 Feb 2008

Zoning rules broken

The setback from an industrial wind turbine to a home is smaller than the setback to an industrial zone. Since the wind turbines themselves are industrial, this would seem to be an absurd policy. The setback from property lines and roadways is 50 metres. Since the turbines are 120 m. tall, if one should fall, throw ice, or parts, etc. it would damage neighbouring and/or municipal property. This will also affect what citizens can do in the future with their property (i.e.: not being able to build a barn, or house, or any number of future opportunities that will be curtailed) and so, will be infringing on their rights. The setback from an off-site residential dwelling (a house on a non-leased farm for example) is 300 m., while the setback is 600 m. from a rural residential home (i.e. a house on a severed rural lot). Isn't a home - a home?
5 Feb 2008

Up to municipalities to set turbine rules, report says

A new report prepared for the group representing Nova Scotia municipalities concludes there are no internationally accepted standards for dealing with the controversial issues around wind energy. The 117-page study by environmental consultant Jacques Whitford outlines a broad range of possibilities available to host municipalities but says it will be up to elected officials to decide how restrictive they want to be in their approach to regulation and the specifics of their bylaws. Setting rules governing the location of wind turbines is up to the municipality ..."Each municipality is unique, and one size may not fit all," he said adding the options in the study "can serve as starting points for good local policy and municipalities can tailor them to suit the needs of their community." The issue of noise, impact on property values and the appropriate distance between a turbine and homes have been the hot-button issues in Nova Scotia.
2 Feb 2008

Wind farms construction guidelines get positive reaction

Nova Scotia municipalities now have some model guidelines to follow when dealing with proposals to construct wind farms in their communities. The Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities released the model wind bylaws Friday to help municipalities establish rules around where wind turbines can be erected. And that's good news for such elected representatives as Colchester County Coun. Doug Cooke who believes the municipality should begin drafting its own bylaws as soon as possible, in light of the growing number of wind farm projects being proposed.
1 Feb 2008

Town prompted to support wind power site

A Toronto-based wind power company's presentation overshadowed what was to be a scheduled "wind farm discussion" by Essex Town Council, held prior to the regular council meeting, Jan. 21. "Currently, we have four projects in southern Ontario," said Mike Crawley, president and CEO of AIM PowerGen Corporation. ...Members of the Essex County Wind Action Group (ECWAG), which is lobbying for the responsible development of wind power in Essex County, expressed concern that the meeting, which was identified as a "wind farm discussion" on council's agenda, was "one-sided". "The legitimate concerns brought forward by many residents were not even touched on," said Bill Anderson, chair of ECWAG, which places the effects of wind turbines on humans and wildlife at the top of their list of concerns. ECWAG includes members from across the county, including the town of Essex, but they were not invited to speak at the meeting, Anderson noted. "The recommendations in the Jones Group report are far more restrictive than in any Ontario county that has seen wind power projects built," the AIM outline stated.
1 Feb 2008

No means no, Kingsville says to offshore turbines

Kingsville council has reaffirmed its opposition to offshore wind turbines. "We don't think it's a good idea putting it right offshore or right at the shoreline," Coun. Gord Queen said Tuesday, after council passed his motion the previous evening. The Ministry of Natural Resources ended a moratorium on offshore wind power projects earlier this month. When Queen originally put forward his motion opposing offshore wind turbines, he didn't know the moratorium had been lifted. But he said the motion "sets the tone as far as the town of Kingsville is concerned." He had concerns about the impact wind turbines would have on the commercial fishing industry, the Jack Miner Bird Sanctuary and the way the lakefront's appearance would change. He's worried about the impact on tourism.
30 Jan 2008

Offshore wind power gets green light; Construction costs would be large

Even though the Ontario government has lifted the moratorium on offshore wind development, one consultant predicts turbines won't be popping up in Lake Erie any time soon. Prior to AIM PowerGen starting to acquire options in 2001 to build what is now the Erie Shores Wind Farm, the company was looking at the possibility of commencing with an offshore development in Lake Erie between Elgin County and Long Point. AIM consultant Jim Wilgar explained the lakebed is already segmented and leased for natural gas development. At the time, AIM had identified sections that weren't leased yet and approached the ministry about the possibility of wind power development. "The ministry, at the time, hadn't given any real thought to wind power in any of the Great Lakes," Wilgar said. Around the same time, other developers were also looking at the possibility of offshore wind power generation. One such proposal was to build turbines in the Leamington area. "There was a tremendous public disagreement," Wilgar said of the Leamington proposal. "The ministry slapped a moratorium on any offshore wind development by anyone."
25 Jan 2008

German wind power firms target Quebec

Established German wind energy companies see the nascent Quebec market as an opportunity to increase market share as well as work their way deep into the Americas, an industry networking session was told yesterday. Among the scores of companies - Canadian and international - that participated in Hydro-Québec's current call for tender of 2,000 megawatts of wind power was REpower Systems, a German-based giant that has yet to make its mark in Canada. "We see Canada as a premier wind market, one of the Top 10 globally within the not distant future," REpower's Matthias Schubert told a luncheon organized by the Canadian German Chamber of Industry and Commerce. And Quebec's call for tender - which closed in September - offered a "very interesting opportunity to start"
24 Jan 2008

Ontario lifts moratorium on offshore wind energy development

The provincial government of Ontario has lifted a ban enacted more than a year ago on offshore wind energy developments and will soon resume accepting applications for such proposals, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources announced. "This government is committed to developing clean, renewable sources of energy so Ontarians will have a sustainable supply of power now and in the future," Natural Resources Minister Donna Cansfield said in a statement Jan. 17. "Offshore applications we've received to date will be processed, and we are preparing to accept new applications for both onshore and offshore developments."
22 Jan 2008

Natives demand say in energy megaprojects; Saugeen First Nation may take court action if they're not consulted

Legal action by the Saugeen Ojibwa could derail or delay major energy projects in Bruce County, Saugeen lawyer Arthur Pape warned an Ontario Energy Board hearing this week. Before anyone starts building new power lines to the Bruce nuclear power development site, Saugeen representatives want the province to have separate talks with affected First Nations governments, Pape said. ...Without adequate consultation, Pape said his clients could well pursue court action to disallow results of the power system plan review. Such legal action "might very well result in the plan being neither economically prudent nor cost-effective," he told the board. Proposed nuclear and wind power developments raise "environmental risks" crucial to First Nations people, Pape argued. That federal action "undermined the credibility and the stability" of public safety protections, Pape said.
19 Jan 2008

Winds of change blow in new rules

As Nova Scotia moves to harness wind power as never before, municipalities will soon have some help as they craft rules to regulate wind turbines. The Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities and the province have hired environmental consultants Jacques Whitford to look at the science around issues such as setbacks, noise and impacts on wildlife, and how other areas deal with turbines. The report is expected within two weeks. "We know there’s going to be a lot more wind development in this industry and we saw it as a way we could go out and give some assistance to municipalities as they go forward instead of them all duplicating the same process," said Jason Hollett, a program administrator with the Energy Department, which is helping to fund the project. The province has decided that between 18.5 and 20 per cent of Nova Scotia’s electricity must come from renewable energy sources by 2013.
17 Jan 2008
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