Some councils putting health and safety concerns ahead of developer dollars
Several municipalities in Ontario are taking a stand against wind power development out of concern for their citizens, reports the Windsor Star, in spite of the fact they may be risking revenue and largesse from corporate wind developers.
Cash-strapped Amherstburg council declared the town an “unwilling host” for wind turbine projects and is potentially turning away big bucks from future developers in property tax revenue and payments turbine operators make to towns per unit.
Lakeshore gets $100,000 in property tax revenue from its 120 wind turbines and will receive $4 million over 20 years in annual payments made by the wind turbine companies per unit to the municipality, said Steve Salmons, Lakeshore’s director of community and development services.
“It’s been a financial windfall for us,” Salmons said. “We also have $1 million in road improvements and repairs (developers made) that wouldn’t have gotten to.”
Lakeshore council is “open for business” when it comes to wind turbines. Salmons estimated the turbines will have a $7 million economic impact on the town including lease payments made to land owners. Amherstburg Coun. Diane Pouget is unconvinced by the financial benefits. “We don’t know what the health issues are associated with (wind turbines). We have asked for no further wind turbines to come into our community until we receive all of the (health) information.”
While the town may be passing up sources of revenue, Pouget said health and safety are a paramount concern for council. She said it was her understanding that Ontario pays the U.S. to take its power when it has generated too much, partly because there is no way to store renewable energy The federal government is doing a study on the health effects of wind turbine noise and results are due next year.
It is approximately 70 weeks until the next municipal election in Ontario.