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Turbine agreement before council called ‘premature’ and ‘manipulative’

County residents opposed to industrial wind turbines on the south shore of Prince Edward County are being invited to rally as council deals with a proposed Road Users Agreement regarding the wpd Canada project.

The agreement describes payments to the County and other matters to be addressed regarding the 27-turbine project on the south shore.

“Any agreement with wpd now is premature until the Environmental Review Tribunals (ERT) for Ostrander Point and the White Pines wind projects are finished,” said Orville Walsh, president of the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC).

In its decision Feb. 26, the ERT involving APPEC and wpd, ruled the development would cause “serious and irreversible harm” to the turtles and Little Brown Bats, suspending wpd Canada’s Renewable Energy Approval, pending remediation hearings, but no date has yet been set.

Walsh noted APPEC, and other county groups are calling on members and supporters to make a point of attending the Committee of the Whole meeting Thursday, March 24 at 1 p.m. at Shire Hall in Picton to show support as councillors are discussing the proposed agreement.

The Road Users Agreement is one of the conditions in the REA (Renewable Energy Approval) issued to wpd by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change.

“Although the REA was suspended, the decision is having little effect on wpd,” said Walsh. “Most concerning is that the agreement gives prior approval of some of the very issues that are still to be ruled on by the Tribunal. We suspect that wpd is anxious to have a Road Users Agreement finalized before the resumption of the ERT in order to use it to support its legal case.”

Walsh said a strong presence from the community will support the mayor and those councillors who will be speaking out against the Road Users Agreement and “will send a strong message to wpd that the County will not be bullied or manipulated.”

APPEC is asking members and supporters who are unable to attend the meeting to give a brief message to their councillor before Thursday’s meeting stating any agreement now is premature until the tribunals for Ostrander Point and White Pines are finished.

Mayor Robert Quaiff said Thursday’s motion represents one of the most important council has ever had to consider for the good of constituents.

Quaiff is expected to urge councillors to turn the motion down.

“I have fought for years to keep turbines out of the County, recognizing early on how badly they would affect everything we hold dear – our economy, our tourist industry, our property and business values,” said Quaiff. “The contrary spin of the wind industry is professionally and effectively done, but please don’t for a moment believe their avaricious approach and intentions.”

“It would turn our paradise into a grubby factory – a heartless string of turbines stretching from Wolfe Island through Ernestown and Amherst Island to our south shore. Indiscriminately as it spins and is devastating to some of the most beautiful vistas and countryside in Canada.”

Over the past few years, Quaiff has introduced and supported the “Not a Willing Host Community” moratorium along with 91 municipalities in Ontario, and was instrumental in the formation of the Wainfleet Working Group travelling to communities along Highway 401, meeting with provincial cabinet ministers and challenging Premier Kathleen Wynne at a number of opportunities.

Quaiff sees several deficiencies in the proposed agreements and agrees their acceptance would strengthen wpd’s position returning to the ERT.

Earlier, the County requested annual payments of $7,500 per megawatt, plus profit sharing based upon 4 per cent of output plus annual cost of living, exclusive of regular taxes and recovery of costs. This request was not acceptable to wpd. The alternative payment has been negotiated in consultation between staff, wpd and respective solicitors. The proposed “Community Benefits Agreement” provides an annual payment by wpd of $7,000 per turbine ($3,500 per megawatt) toward. This amount would be increased to $8,500 per turbine in years 11-15 and $9,500 per turbine in years 16 to end of term.

Quaiff is also dismayed that wpd this month is “arrogantly” attempting to move forward with its land clearing regardless of ERT decisions and those yet to come.

“I refuse to have my legacy seen as being the mayor who was a party to turbines in the County,” said Quaiff. “My father’s favourite saying was ‘You’ve got to stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything’. I hope the councillors will join me in voting a resounding ‘no way’ on Thursday.”

The 215-page report is available on the County website.

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  1. Mark says:

    Everyone’s question. I suspect Wynne would have the reasoning.

  2. Sue3 says:

    Please forgive my ignorance, but I really do not understand this entire scenario.
    If the ERT has ‘suspended’ approval, then why is ANY of this happening?
    Why are any agreements even being considered?
    Why would wpd even consider clearing the land?
    If they don’t have approval, there is no project.

  3. Chuck says:

    I am aware of the meeting, however I cannot leave work. I am however very concerned about turbines. It just strikes me as peculiar that the County staff have been negotiating an agreement and Council seems to be surprised by the fact that it is now on their agenda. Something seems amiss.

  4. Gary Mooney says:

    Chuck, I was speaking generically. I don’t know the process that resulted in this item being added to Thursday’s agenda.

    If you’re worried about wind turbines in the County, come out to the Committee of the Whole meeting at Shire Hall on Thursday at 1:00 pm to demonstrate your concern. I’m told that this item will be early on the agenda.

  5. Chuck says:

    It appears to be more than a request. County staff have entered into negotiation with WPD. That was either directed by Council or is required by law even prior to project approval.

  6. Gary Mooney says:

    Susan, my comment was based on a misunderstanding of Chuck’s commment, which he has now clarified.

    You ask why this item is on the agenda? Here’s my guess: If one party makes a request of County government that requires a vote of Council, it has to be presented to Council for that vote, even if nobody on Council is in favour.

  7. Susan says:

    Gary Mooney; Chuck made a good point that should have been considered as such. There was no need to call him out to a meeting or dismiss his comment. Really, who is going to vote to enter into a road users agreement without approval of the project? And why is this on the agenda to begin with? Why are Council dealing with a staff proposal unless they requested such?

  8. Fred says:

    Well he has fought harder to prevent Industrial Turbines raping our County than any other politician I am aware of. I believe he is sincere in his efforts.

  9. wevil says:

    the mayor worries more about his legacy and media appearances than anything else

  10. Chuck says:

    Sorry Gary, I obviously left the wrong impression. I know the Mayor is serious and I applaud him for that position. My point was that I do not believe Council would entertain entering into an agreement at this time although the article gave the impression that was an issue in doubt. I didn’t mean to confuse or demean the need to present a stance.

  11. Gary Mooney says:

    Hey Chuck, how about coming out to the Committee of the Whole meeting on Thursday, 1:00 pm to see if the Mayor is serious?

  12. ANNE HENDERSON says:

    Watching this process in PEC with dismay, as we go through it here on Amherst Island.

    Greetings from Amherst Island. All power to the people of PEC and kudos to your mayor for standing with you against the Government of Ontario. Underlying the fact that it’s wrong to site industrial wind turbines in people’s living spaces, is that Ontario has more power than it can use, and has to dump it in the US at fire sale prices. What’s the big rush to cover the province with wind turbines? Answer: just follow the money. Anyhow, good luck in your fight.

  13. Chuck says:

    This story appears to be media hype. I don’t think any Council member will give it the time of day.

  14. Gary says:

    I support all opposition to any agreement with this German company that has no respect for the Tribunal. As to calling my Picton Councilors, no thanks. They fooled me once on the Council Size debacle. Never again, no trust!

  15. Betty says:

    “Contemptuous” comes to mind when referring to wpd’s cold and calculated affront to the environmental review tribunal’s decision on White Pines. The government of Ontario consistently says that the legal process must run its course. So Let It!
    When the environment is pitted against so called industrial entities such as huge utility companies from Europe our environment must win. Who cares more about the south shore than we the people tasked to protect it?

  16. Taffy says:

    “Premature” and “manipulative” is only the half of it. Mayor Quaiff has it right -“arrogant” neatly fits the actions of White Pines, alias wpd. To do this and state also that it is starting land clearing when the ERT very recently turned thumbs down on its 27 turbines, thus making its REA meaningless at least until the second hearing, is the height of deliberately thought through policy, arrogantly expressed. All power to the Mayor and each and every Councillor this Thursday.

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