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Revised wpd road users agreement approved

Before a packed chamber and overflow committee room, County council Tuesday night took its solicitor’s advice to sign a Road Users Agreement with wpd White Pine Wind for its 27-turbine project on the south shore.

Mayor Robert Quaiff and three councillors – Dianne O’Brien, Lenny Epstein and Steve Ferguson – were opposed in the 11-4 recorded vote.

County solicitor Wayne Fairbrother explained the agreement doesn’t change how the County feels about turbines, but offers a $2.7 million irrevocable letter of credit, “insurance” against damage on the 28 km of roads that will be used if the industrial turbine site is allowed to move forward.

“Right on the first page there are four or five recitals that say this County is not a willing host and we remain an unwilling host,” said Fairbrother, also noting it states “the only reason we are entering into this agreement is for the sole purpose of protecting the interests of the County with respect to the use of the roads, and not for the purpose of assisting wpd directly, or indirectly in any outstanding legal proceedings, or any outstanding approvals yet to be obtained. I don’t think we can be much more clear.”

He also noted that even without an agreement, in place wpd could gain its Ontario Energy Board approvals to move forward.

Garth Manning and Alan Whiteley of CCSAGE-Naturally Green and John Hirsch, the named appellant in the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC) ERT proceedings, proposed alternatives. Fairbrother argued the alternatives would not fly. Fairbrother also spoke against a proposal to approve a post-dated agreement. A motion to defer was defeated in a recorded vote of 11 to 4.

Whiteley stated the agreement was “grossly insufficient and if you make a mistake when you sign on for the 25 years with options for two 10-year extensions it could be 45 years, and possibly another six councils. We’ll all be dead by then but somebody will curse you 45 years later.”

Three residents spoke in favour of the agreement, including Drew Harrison, on the concerns of thousands of truck trips and increased weight loads on the roads.

“They’re not going to run up and down your roads overload. We all follow the rules and there’s scales on the 401 as well. Anytime we have run overloaded it’s for the County,” he said to laughter from the gallery and committee room.

Though an Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) appeal upheld February 26, ruled the project would cause serious and irreversible damage to Blanding’s Turtles and Little Brown Bats, future, not yet announced, mitigation hearings are to be held, though the summer months were deemed likely.

The Tribunal ordered Monday that vegetation clearing and site preparation activities associated with the project in areas identified as Blanding’s turtle spring foraging habitat are stayed pending the resolution of appeals.

* * *

APRIL 25 – Council will consider a revised draft of the Road Users Agreement (RUA) with wpd White Pines Wind, deferred from March 31.

Deputations by Garth Manning and Alan Whiteley of CCSAGE, and John Hirsch, White Pines ERT appellant are expected at Tuesday night’s council meeting. A supplementary report will also be received from the Engineering, Development and Works Commission.

The RUA was deferred to allow legal council and senior staff to make text changes and provide schedules identified within the proposed agreement.

Text changes within the draft Road Users Agreement have been revised to address the concerns below, and some comments raised by the public:

-Insert into the recitals that the County has declared itself an “unwilling host” and
enters into the RUA reluctantly and for its protection and not to advance any
position of wpd.
-Revise Section 2.1 to clarify that the intent is not to exempt all County bylaws
that were adopted prior to the RUA (such as half load restrictions), but to only
address the road use prohibition resolution of council respecting Maypul Layn Rd.
-Revise Section 12.1 (c) to delete the text that prohibits our use of the Performance Guarantee until after dispute resolution if WPD disputes the default. In other security agreements the County typically is permitted to use the Performance Guarantee to remedy the default, and deal with the outcome of dispute resolution separately.
-Clarify Section 12.3 to indicate that the amount of the letter of credit is not a limit
on wpd’s cost liability, but that the County could pursue wpd for costs beyond
the Performance Guarantee, if necessary.
-Clarify in Section 24, and any other relevant sections, that a new Performance
Guarantee and applicable permits are required for decommissioning activities.
-Clarify the insurance requirements to ensure the required indemnification from wpd’s winter plowing of seasonal roads and to address any potential that wpd is unable to secure the required insurance.
-Amend Schedule K (Blasting) to indicate no blasting is permitted without
amendment to the RUA.
-Revise Section 15 to clarify that the RUA itself may not be assigned or pledged
as financial security.

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  1. Les stanfield says:

    So now we have to fight our own legal representative. Makes one wonder out loud what is in it for him for him to be so blind to facts and logic. One more thing that seems to be getting lost her is that the original started reports were pointed out by many experts to be seriously flawed, in that they greatly misreported on the extent of turtle habitat. It makes even an optimist cynical

  2. Dennis Fox says:

    hockeyman – sorry about that. I agree, this issue is making everyone’s head hurt – but I hope that wpd loses and goes away.

  3. hockeynan says:

    My head is just fine but is starting to ache after reading this article

  4. Dennis Fox says:

    hockeyman – you obviously do not wear a goalie mask when playing in net. How badly does your head hurt?

  5. Chuck says:

    When you wallow with the pigs expect to get dirty.

  6. hockeynan says:

    Blame everyone who is fighting this and holding up the whole project. Don’t blame wpd.

  7. Dennis Fox says:

    As a resident and taxpayer, I am tired of wpd taking up the time of our council and staff. Their time is being paid for by us, the taxpayers of PEC. Before any agreement is discussed, I want wpd to pay for the number of hours they have monopolized of our municipality – yera after year! At what point will our council just tell wpd to go away? No RUA will be discussed until final approval for their development is given – which we hope is never!

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