Passes resolutions that target negative aspects of wind energy, emphasize urge to regain voice in deciding whether renewable energy projects built within its boundaries
By Marguerite LaHaye
Updated 14 days ago
When Prince Township Coun. Amy Zuccato takes aim against the Green Energy Act, her council colleagues don’t joke about tilting at windmills.
At Zuccato’s urging, they agreed at February’s regular meeting to adopt two resolutions that target the negative aspects of wind energy and underline the goal of many municipalities to regain their voice in deciding whether renewable energy projects are built within their boundaries.
Municipalities lost that voice with the passage of the Green Energy Act in 2009, and the first resolution council adopted gives notice to the Ontario government that Prince Township wants it back.
“I think the power should be given back to the municipalities, given all the negativity surrounding the windmills,” said Coun. Ron Amadio.
Copies of the resolution will be forwarded to Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Mike Mantha and to Premier Dalton McGuinty.
Council then passed a companion resolution seeking a municipal voice if Brookfield Renewable Power should ever wish to add new turbines to its Prince Wind Farm.
Under the Green Energy Act, the township need not be consulted.
At a Feb. 4 public meeting on renewable energy, hosted by Prince and attended by Mantha, residents aired concerns that Brookfield planned to build eight new turbines in the shield zone overlooking Jackson Island.
Brookfield subsequently denied having any such plans; however, Zuccato said she wanted a resolution “just in case” the eight new turbines were proposed in future.
Chambers agreed, noting that before the building of the wind farm in 2005, he attended open house meetings, where he was assured he wouldn’t see any turbines from his Prince Lake home.
“I see 17. And we hear them … Where they’re going to put them, it’s going to affect other people, so I think we should try to do whatever we can and make it known we want to be involved in the process,” Chambers added.
“There’s adverse health effects tied to the windmills, so having more of them isn’t going to be a good thing for the residents of Prince,” Zuccato said.
“And I don’t want to see more trees cut down for putting eight more up.”
“The township does benefit from the tax dollars from the windmills,” said Lamming. “But we don’t benefit if there’s health aspects.”
Zuccato also proposed a change to Prince Township’s new logo, adopted in 2008, which features the silhouettes of three windmills.
But other councillors pointed to the cost and time involved in getting the logo changed, and preferred not to revisit the issue now.
“I think we should start with the rest of our business which is still waiting,” Chambers said. “Maybe we can bring this up again in another year.”
Council also defeated a resolution petitioning the Ontario legislature to strike a Select Committee on Energy to investigate the numerous concerns with renewable energy cited in the Auditor General’s 2011 report.
Council’s objection to the resolution was based not on its intent, but on its language, which included the phrases “impropriety and corruption” and “lacking in contrition.”
“I think the language is very inflammatory and politically biased,” Yanni said
“I don’t think you’re going to gain anything by that.”
Lamming agreed, cautioning his colleagues that it would be unwise to “mean-mouth” officials of the same government that holds the purse strings for municipal grants.
Zuccato said later that the resolution was generic, circulated provincewide by organizations opposed to the growth of taxpayer-subsidized renewable energy projects without any studies into their cost-effectiveness or their adverse health effects.
She speculated that council would adopt the resolution in future if she requested that it be amended to omit the aggressive language.