Articles filed under Zoning/Planning from Canada
A decision has been made. After months of debate, the Ontario Municipal Board has decided to allow the CAW to erect a wind turbine. The property set aside for the development is at Bruce Road 25 and Highway 21 in Port Elgin.
PUGWASH - Now that the Municipality of Cumberland has put off making a decision on its controversial wind turbine bylaw all opponents of the proposed Gulf Shore project can do is wait. "I'm glad they didn't make a decision. That would've been the worst thing that could happen," Gulf Shore resident Lisa Betts said Thursday. "They admitted themselves they haven't had a chance to read all the information that has been submitted."
At the eleventh hour and at the brink of hard-won success, Maritime Electric "ran the numbers" and decided the bypass they worked with us to secure was too expensive after all. At a meeting on Friday, April 20, I was told that the differential cost was about $75,000. This is approximately 2% of the cost for the entire transmission line expansion, estimated at about $3.75 million. According to government sources, it is less than one half of the amount they spent on a botanical analysis and environmental assessment process (required by provincial policy) to safeguard rare flora and ecologically unstable wetlands/streams. Less than $100, 000 to save a community, and Maritime Electric bows out of a year-long commitment. It beggars the imagination.
Canada needs a national policy to tear down barriers for electricity trade among provinces to fuel the construction of an east-west transmission grid, Kathy Dunderdale, Natural Resources Minister for Newfoundland and Labrador, said yesterday. Ms. Dunderdale met yesterday with Ontario Energy Minister Dwight Duncan and native leaders, including former Northwest Territories premier, Stephen Kakfwi, to urge the development of a "green power corridor" that would deliver electricity from hydro and wind power from northern Canada to energy-hungry cities. Newfoundland is eager to develop the 2,500-megawatt Lower Churchill project in Labrador - which could be expanded to include wind power - but has no access to southern markets.
Both proponents and opponents of Cumberland County's controversial bylaw regulating wind farms will have to wait another two weeks before knowing whether it will become law. Council voted Wednesday, after hearing 18 presentations and being handed 61 briefs, to table any decision on the bylaw until May 2. "We need time to review all of the information we have received today," Warden Keith Hunter said in asking council to table the bylaw after hearing nearly four hours of testimony before more than 70 people who packed into the council chamber.
An offshore wind farm development in the Hecate Strait is diving into new waters and looking for direction. The NaiKun Wind Energy Group, the company proposing a wind farm in the shallow waters northeast of the Queen Charlotte Islands, is the first company in Canada to have officially entered into the environmental assessment process for an offshore wind farm.
HIGGINS MOUNTAIN - Through thick fog, heavy winds and ice, members of Cumberland County council braved the cold weather to take a tour of Higgins Mountain where three wind turbines are operational. The tour was to provide more information to the councilors before today's meeting where a bylaw proposal is on the table.
Bluewater mayor Bill Dowson says the most common concern over wind turbines in the municipality is site lines along the lakeshore. Dowson says the municipality is looking at establishing a bylaw similar to the one passed in South Huron and proposed in Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh that would require a distance of 400 metres from homes and 600 metres from urban developments.
PUGWASH - With a deadline fast approaching for County council to decide on a current wind turbine bylaw proposal, residents surrounding the Pugwash Wind Farm development site are asking council to reconsider. During an open house Wednesday night to provide information about the project, more than one concerned citizen voiced their opinion on next week's deadline regarding the setback of wind turbines from residences. Currently there are no bylaws pertaining to the setback from wind turbines from residences in Cumberland County. Council is proposing, however, that a distance three times the height of the turbine be in place.
Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh Township council is sending a letter to the Ministry of Environment asking for an immediate response to a report on the affects of noise from wind turbines. At council's March 20 meeting, Reeve Ben Van Diepenbeek said the township still has not received a response back from Minister Laurel Broten who they met while attending a conference in Toronto in late February. Coun. Doug Miller said it was the minister, herself, who said the ministry would respond to their questions and a report by Dr. Vandenberg,
The people of Haida Gwaii have only two chances to comment on the environmental assessment for the proposed NaiKun wind farm project. The first public input period is happening now and ends April 28.
A proposed cross-border power transmission line connecting electric systems in Alberta and Montana has cleared a major regulatory hurdle in Canada. The National Energy Board, Canada's equivalent of the U.S. Department of Energy, on Wednesday issued a permit authorizing construction and operation of the line in Alberta.
Some local residents and citizens' groups expressed disappointment with two recent wind energy meetings that they feel did not fully address the negative impacts of wind power developments proposed for much of Essex County. "Overall, the presentation was extremely one-sided - unfortunately," said Malden resident Bill Anderson, chair of the Essex County Wind Action Group (ECWAG), speaking of a public wind energy meeting co-hosted by the Essex County Federation of Agriculture and Kent County Federation of Agriculture March 29 in Tilbury.
Officials from the Montana Department of Environmental Quality had allotted three hours to hear public comment on the proposed Montana Alberta Tie, Ltd. (MATL) transmission line project. Although approximately 60 people turned out for the hearing, which was held in Cut Bank on Wednesday, March 28, only about a dozen of those offered testimony on the project-the majority of which was very supportive. As proposed, the 130-mile transmission line would extend from the Montana-Alberta border northeast of Cut Bank to an existing substation just north of Rainbow Dam near Great Falls. DEQ has tentatively selected a preferred route, which contains "small revisions" in five areas to reduce impact on property owners. The proposed action by the DEQ also requires MATL to use single pole structures along 24 miles of the line.
Wind farms may soon change the sky-line of Lambton Shores. At a special public meeting last night at Thedford, Council approved in principle, amending the zoning by-law and the official plan to allow wind turbines. The approval allows rural properties owners to receive hydro from small scale turbines or provides compensation to those who agree to have private commercial units erected on their property. The approval comes with some stiff restrictions. Generally, one turbine is permitted per 50 acres of land. Turbines must also be at least 400 metres away from any off-site homes.
Increasing the distance between wind turbines and residences to two kilometres would effectively end the development of a proposed windfarm on the Gulf Shore. "Without question if the municipality enacted bylaws requiring two kilometres we would simply just terminate further work on the project," Atlantic Wind Power Corporation president Charles Demond said after speaking to Cumberland municipal council. "Two kilometres would be at the absolute extreme of anything that's being contemplated around the globe." While the project is still in the development phase, the company hopes to erect 20 to 27 wind turbines on the Gulf Shore near the Irishtown Road. The company is holding an open house in Pugwash on April 11. Cumberland County is in the process of regulating wind turbines and has proposed a setback of three times a turbine's height. It could be in a position to pass its bylaw on April 18
People can co-exist with wind farms, but only if there's sufficient space between them. Lisa Betts doesn't think that's the case with a proposed wind farm along the Gulf Shore and she's urging Cumberland County to take another look at a proposed bylaw that would require 300 per cent separation between turbines and residences. "That's not even close to enough. It should be two kilometres," Betts said. "We've got to have the county set these things back enough that they don't bother anybody, whether it's a cottager or if they're sitting trying to do lessons in schools or if they are a young family. This county's big enough for both of us, but this particular one just seems so wrong."
Enbridge has a number of planning hurdles to overcome in the coming weeks, as public opposition to its wind proposal continues. The Enbridge Ontario Wind Power Project Environmental Screening Report (ESR) was accepted by the Environmental Assessment and Approvals Branch (EAAB) on March 19, after 21 requests were issued to elevate the project to a full Environmental Assessment (EA) last year. "(The EAAB) evaluated all the environmental work that was done, using the various criteria," said Debbie Boukydis, Enbridge's director of public and government affairs. "From that they determined we met the ESR requirements." Boukydis said they knew a wind project had never been elevated to a full EA and awaited the result with confidence. As of the April 2 deadline to appeal the EAAB decision, 10 individual appeals were filed from the original 21 requests. Boukydis said Minister of Environment (MOE) James O'Mara now has 45 days to review the EAAB decision, before making a final ruling. Kathy McCarrel, a resident at the border of Saugeen Shores and the Municipality of Kincardine, is one of the 10 appellants fighting the EAAB decision. McCarrel was concerned that the decision will be looked upon as an example to other wind projects, ultimately impacting future decisions across Ontario, being that Enbridge's is the largest proposed in Canada to date.
That's not good enough for Lisa Betts, who is calling on the county to increase the setback to two kilometres. She feels the setback should be 10 times the height of the turbine. Only then would nearby residents not have to listen to the turbine blades or be bothered by shadows cast by the turning blades. While she may or may not be crying wolf, we have to be sure there is sufficient evidence to support the county's proposed setbacks before it ends up with egg on its face. After all, it's a situation that's going to keep coming up as more developers look at the county as a location for wind farms.
Residents of an eastern Ontario island community are divided over a wind power project that will earn revenues for their township, but that some fear will industrialize their rural landscape. The Wolfe Island Wind Project off Kingston, Ont., will consist of 86 2.3-megawatt wind turbines and is scheduled to begin construction this fall, says the company that is to build, own and operate them.