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Adopt this municipality’s bylaw to help protect from turbine “fall out”

Dear Mayor Mertens and Council members,

With respect, I am writing to ask that you please take note of the recent bylaw passed by the municipalitiy of Plympton-Wyoming to protect their municipality and its residents. I request that on behalf of the residents of Prince Edward County you take similar steps to protect our municipality from future “fall out” resulting from any industrial wind development that might take place here. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/story/2012/03/05/wdr-plympton-wyoming-wind-turbine-deposit.html

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CBC News…March 5, 2012….Municipality wants $200K deposits for wnd turbines
“A Lambton County municipallity is making sure it won’t get stuck with the bill if developers walk away from industrial wind farms. Plympton-Wyoming, east of Sarnia, passed a tough new bylaw that requires developers to deposit $200,000 for each wind turbine they want to build.
“We need to make sure that residents are not on the hook to rebuild roads or to take down turbines when the subsidies are gone and everybody takes off,” said Marcelle Brooks is with Middlesex Lambton Wind Concerns.”

We in Prince Edward County also need to take a “tough” stand to protect ourselves from wind developers and a Liberal goverment that finds democracy inconvenient.  While Ontario’s municipalities may have had the option of ‘choice’ manipulated away by the Green Energy Act, the municipality of Plympton-Wyoming’s bylaw nevertheless demonstrates a creative approach and concern on behalf of its residents. I ask what the municipality of Prince Edward County’s ‘creative approach’  to protect it’s residents will be in the face of impending wind turbine development?
Thank you.

Sincerely,

Chris Hall
North Marysburg

Filed Under: Letters and Opinion

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  1. Marie says:

    I know I am off topic here, but is there any case where class action or municipal rezoning might make sense for properties adjacent to IWT’s. I was reading about one families experience over the last couple of years with MPAC and it looks like he is getting the raw end of the deal. It looks like MPAC is not eager to budge concerning this, and wondering if the strength in numbers applies here. As a ballpark number being anywhere with about 1000 metres of a turbine can be considered a 100,000 loss in property value. If MPAC refuses to acknowledge this, should we be petitioning the county to come up with a new land classification as being next to a windmill. Quite simply, given a choice, people will simply not buy a property with a turbine or turbines in close proximity. This has to get recognized at a tax level. Does the anti IWT movement in the county have any recognized lawyer types?

  2. Chris Keen says:

    It would be irresponsible of Council not to implement some plan that insures a bond is placed for each turbine erected. If I were a landowner, I would not be leasing my land without this. Landowners could well be a party to any lawsuits that might result from problems with IWTS.

    You can count on the fact that if there is any reason whatsoever for any of these companies to walk away from their developments, they will do so, declare bankruptcy, and stick County taxpayers with the remediation costs. They don’t live here – they don’t care.

    That the province did not require a performance bond is not surprising. It is just another example of how little thought and planning went into its “Green” Energy Act.

  3. Gary Mooney says:

    Wind developers will likely establish a separate subsidiary for each project, with the only asset being the particular project. Then, if anything goes wrong, there is no call on the parent company’s assets.

    Regarding decommissioning, the province requires a plan, but no advance funding or guarantee of performance. If the developer decides to walk away from the project, the only recourse is to the assets of the project — i.e. the turbines themselves.

    With today’s very large turbines, gearboxes fail every 7 or 8 years and so there would be a replacement required at about 15 years. At this point, revenues will have fallen to about 70% of original due to natural aging of the hardware. The developer may decide that it is not economic to repair and, in the absence of advance funding or guarantee re decommissioning, may walk away leaving rusting hulks in landowners’ fields.

    The next level of responsibility would be the landowner, who may not be able or willing to pay for decommissioning, which could be $100K or more per turbine after salvage value. If not the landowner, then the municipality, which (in theory) has the money to do the job. That’s us, folks.

    In addition to decommissioning issues, it’s quite possible that developers will be sued by neighbours for adverse health effects, or loss of property value, or both. Maybe a class action suit. (Lawsuits have already been filed in a few situations.) This is another scenario in which the developer might walk away from the project in the later years.

    The province was either naive or negligent in not requiring advance funding or a guaranteed of performance. Would a municipal by-law to deal with this issue work? I don’t know, but it would be prudent of the County to investigate this possibility.

  4. Beth says:

    I don’t see an issue with this. What is being proposed is a bond and I have seen this required with many other commercial developments.

  5. Doris Lane says:

    I agree with you all we should definitely have a by-law like this one. I will help in any way I can

  6. David Norman says:

    I’m for a protest in front of Shire Hall to encourage our council to adopt this same Bylaw. How do we go about getting a copy? I think we should act quickly… next week?

  7. Renee says:

    Plympton-Wyoming also passed a bylaw saying a turbine has to be 2 km away from a home.

  8. Suzanne Lucas says:

    I am behind this idea as well. If we do not stand up for ourselves and insist that proper measures are funded to decommision them, we will be cursed with these useless mega-towers for decades and decades to come.

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