Wind farm policing costs add to rural communities’ burden

Policing the windmills on Wolfe Island is to cost Frontenac Islands Township more than $25,000 more this year. (Elliot Ferguson/The Whig-Standard)

Policing the windmills on Wolfe Island is to cost Frontenac Islands Township more than $25,000 more this year. (Elliot Ferguson/The Whig-Standard)

The Whig-Standard, January 20, 2016

By Elliot Ferguson

MARYSVILLE — Recent changes to how the Ontario Provincial Police bill municipalities for service could have a major impact on rural townships that are home to wind turbines. More than six years after the turbines on Wolfe Island became operational, Frontenac Islands Township council was surprised in December when it received a bill for policing from the Leeds County OPP.

“They charge us the same in this new policing formula for a wind tower as they do for a house,” Mayor Denis Doyle said. “It costs us a lot of money.”

Frontenac Islands Township pays an average of about $300 per household for policing, meaning new policing fees for the wind turbines properties added almost $26,000 to the township’s policing bill for 2016.

“We were dumbfounded why our rate went up so much,” Doyle said, adding that township staff had to go back through the bill to find out the reason for the increase. “That’s gone way up from what we were expecting.”

Ontario sets tax rates on different types of properties depending on their use. Residential and commercial properties pay the full amount of property tax, while land being used for farming or forestry pay 25 per cent of the tax rate. Properties where wind turbines are located can only be taxed at a rate of five per cent of the full tax rate, Doyle said.

Many rural municipalities in Ontario have been struggling under rapidly rising policing costs, which have increased because of increases in wages and benefits in recent years. A few rural townships also face the prospect of having industrial wind energy projects built in their townships, whether welcome or not.

A spokesperson for the OPP Corporate Communications in Orillia said the cost for policing wind turbines is being looked at by the provincial government.

“At present, the issue of wind turbines is being reviewed and we expect a decision from the ministry in the near future,” said OPP Sgt. Peter Leon. “Until that decision is made, it would be inappropriate to comment at this time.”

North Frontenac Mayor Ron Higgins said he knew cellphone towers were considered residences for police billing purposes.

“But I didn’t know wind turbines were included,” he said.

Read the story at The Whig here.

Follow Elliot Ferguson on Twitter at @elliotatthewhig

Comments

Mike Jankowski
Reply

I don’t trust the costs our government projects will include a cost like this.

Have WCO a running list of all things which should be factored into the cost of Industrial Wind power generation?

Thanks.

Parker Gallant
Reply

Mike, First, I would trust none of the projections coming from QP. As pointed out on numerous occasions by the Auditor General the failure to do cost/benefit studies has had a huge impact on the Energy portfolio. It seems the Energy Ministers appointed by both the past and present Premiers; McGuinty and Wynne simply believe they can simply issue directives and their wishes will come true.

On your second question, I am afraid there is no running list of things that get in the way of IWT generation and affect pricing as they simply keep popping up willy nilly. The list would be endless from killing bats, who consume insects that affect crop production causing farmers to either use pesticides or produce lower grade crops (sold for less) to affects on property values eventually causing reduced assessments and less revenue for the local municipality via realty taxes.

Mike Jankowski
Reply

Thank you. Perhaps we could categorize factors which influence costs as Direct and Indirect or other?

For the average person, it might be of value to have such list, ensuring the direct part is complete, so that when we see such communications, we can test them within our limited abilities.

I enjoy reading your posts and articles,.

Thank you.

ScepticalGord
Reply

Frontenac Islands Township is a WILLING HOST to wind turbines.

Don’t like the elevated costs associated with your mismanagement of the municipality?
Tell it to the Czar.

Barbara
Reply

Could the name of the parent company be added as a foot-note to the articles posted?

People from all over read the WCO posts but don’t know who owns what.

Wind Concerns Ontario
Reply

What do you mean by “parent company”? The wind developers? If someone is interested they can always search on the project name.

Barbara
Reply

“parent company” is business jargon for who actually owns a company.

Subsidiaries have parent companies that own them or have majority stakes in companies.

Raymond Beaudry
Reply

Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands twp charges $325 for residential I believe so the added costs for policing wind turbines is $7800.The police can even get to the turbines to police them. Apparently the justification for extra policing is concerns of sabotage to the turbines.
As within the article on fair taxation for lands leased, the wind industry pays the industrial rate for the turbines footprint whereas they should pay the industrial rate on the entire 100 acres of lands leased and not the farm rate. the twps would then recoup some of the policing costs.

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