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Staff recommends council ‘wait and see’ to regulate turbines with noise bylaw

Municipal staff is recommending council decline an invitation to join a coalition hoping to heavily regulate the operating hours of industrial wind turbines through developing a bylaw that regulates noise outputs.

Staff reviewed the concept following a deputation in February  “after careful consideration of the costs and enforceability” …”there are too many unknown factors and a potential exposure to additional costs and liability.”

Staff advocated a “wait and see” approach to the development of any type of noise regulatory bylaw.

“If the legislation is created and defended, there is nothing stopping council from creating and adopting a bylaw that accomplishes the same thing at some point in the future,” stated the executive summary report to be reviewed by council’s committee of the whole April 24.

Meanwhile, earlier this month, Prince Edward County council called the “White Pines Project Heritage Assessment Report” by Stantec Consulting (revised from last October) “incomplete and deficient” and “lacks appropriate mitigation measures.”  More here

wpd Canada, the renewable energy company developing the 29-turbine White Pines wind project in South Marysburgh, received word in March from the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) that the Renewable Energy Approval (REA) application for the project has been deemed complete.  The process will now proceed to the technical review stage before it can be determined if a REA will be issued for the project.

The 60-day public review and comment  period ends May 10, 2014. Comments are to be considered as part of the decision-making process by the Ministry of the Environment if they are submitted in writing or electronically using the form provided in the notice and reference EBR Registry number 012-1279.

The deadline for community responses to the Environmental Registry for the White Pines Wind Project is May 10.

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  1. IM Messenger says:

    Well if you look at the wording in the article of staff’s role:

    Staff: recommending,
    Staff: reviewed and after careful consideration
    Staff: advocated
    Executive summary report to be reviewed by council’s committee of the whole

    Take a guess. Some new councilors haven’t a clue on what comes out of the previous history of council. And they vote on major issues enforcing a positive or negative change.

    Run for council, get on, find out for yourself. Follow the money.

  2. Al says:

    I am interested to know if the “municipal staff” makes these decisions on the bases of their own bias. How much real power does the staff wheeled overall when it comes to influencing council?

  3. Gary Mooney says:

    I have reviewed in detail the County’s existing noise and nuisance (N&N) by-law, North Perth Councillor Warren Howard’s proposal for an enhanced N&N by-law to be developed by a coalition of municipalities, and the staff report on this proposal.

    First of all, the existing noise and nuisance by-law is very difficult to understand, and therefore, will be difficult to enforce in some situations. It needs remedial work.

    Warren Howard’s proposal was in two parts:
    1. An assertion, supported by some case law, that a N&N by-law can be written that would regulate noise at night from wind turbines, without being overridden by the Green Energy Act.
    2. An invitation to PEC to join a multi-municipality coalition to share the costs of drafting and defending the by-law in court against developers and provincial ministries.

    Based on a direction from Council, staff produced a report on the Howard proposal that focused on the second item. It recommended that the invitation be declined, primarily because of uncertainties about costs, but with the option to reconsider at a later date. Council agreed, and this was the correct decision at this time.

    Council should first consider item #1 — whether it wants to pursue an enhanced by-law, along the lines suggested by Howard. This would require a legal opinion as to the likelihood of success. Then Council should decide how to proceed – either by joining the coalition or going it alone. There are benefits to both approaches.

    Note: To date, six municipalities have agreed to join the multi-municipality coalition. In addition, several other municipalities are individually pursuing an enhanced N&N by-law.

  4. IM Messenger says:

    “MUNICIPAL STAFF is recommending council decline … to heavily regulate the operating hours of industrial wind turbines … after careful consideration of the costs and enforceability … there are too many unknown factors and a potential exposure to additional costs and liability.”

    The municipal staff can’t handle the noise by-laws that are NOW currently set as generic for the county . Ask ppl who live beside or a km away from a summer camp, reception barn venue, ect. in June, July, Aug. The by-laws don’t go far enough.

    A nightmare for admin. staff to draft a by-law for Industrial Turbines – they would be in far, too far over their heads with this one. So. Wait and see once again. Or wait till someone challenges them on decibels or the day/night time schedules, yet again. Spend $15,000 to hire someone who could draft one that will work with consequences and add money to the coffers.

    Drafting! Enforcement! It sucks. This one is riding free on the turtles back. A waste of breath. A waster of time. The current noise by-law is vague, confusing, contradictory and nearly impossible to enforce. Due to these facts 1 by-law is in a state that’s unacceptable, imo. 2 would prove … inept.

    A start. A good try, though.

    (The power is in the hands of the “municipal staff”. That’s the place to make change as well as in council).

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