Mayor urging township residents to not speak to wind developers
By Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
Thursday, May 15, 2014 12:48:34 EDT
Enniskillen Township residents should feel free to exercise their right to remain silent when wind energy companies come calling, says Mayor Kevin Marriott.
EDF EN Canada has reportedly been approaching residents and groups about its Churchill Wind Project proposal, a 100 to 150-MW wind farm it wants to build in Enniskillen and neighbouring Plympton-Wyoming.
Marriott said he turned down a request from the company to meet with township council, and urged others in the community to do the same.
“We’re unwilling hosts,” Marriott said. “We’re not interested, end of discussion.”
Enniskillen was among approximately 80 Ontario municipalities declaring themselves unwilling hosts for wind turbines after the provincial government said it was changing how it awards renewable energy contracts.
The 2009 Green Energy Act took away municipalities’ planning powers for wind projects, leading to an outcry from many rural communities and municipal councils. Last year, the province said a new system of awarding renewable energy projects will require companies to work with municipalities.
“It will be very, very difficult for a developer to be approved without municipal engagement, in some significant way,” Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli said last June.
But, Marriott said that until the province clarifies what it means by municipal engagement, “We’re being vigilant.”
He advised the anti-wind turbine group, Conservation of Rural Enniskillen (CORE), against meeting with the company.
“I said, ‘Whatever you do, don’t consult with them because they may be able to use that as a check mark,'” Marriott said.
“Who knows what could be construed as public consultation.”
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