Council approves community clubs plan for solar panels at Eden Mills hall

Guelph-Eramosa councillor Doug Breen says the township has “interfered” enough with plans to erect a 5 kilowatt solar project beside the Eden Mills community hall.

“We’ve got to give the authority to the people that have the responsibility to run the hall,” Breen said on Dec. 19 of the Eden Mills Community Club.

On Monday night council formally granted its approval of the community club’s plans for the hall, which have created some controversy in the community since this fall.

The club has partnered with the village’s Millpond Conservation Association to complete several energy upgrades at the hall.

The proposal includes the installation of two 10- by 20-foot solar panels beside the hall and facing the village’s main street, which has drawn the ire of some residents in the area.

“Many of us feel they are imposing their views on the village,” Michael Coull said of community club officials.

The resident and gallery owner appeared before council on Monday night to argue one last time against the location of the solar panels.

“I think it’s going to be a real loss of heritage,” he said, adding local property values are also likely to suffer.

Coull told council some residents may leave the village if the location is not changed.

“All we’ve ever wanted was a compromise,” he said.

At a public meeting on Nov. 24 meeting, Coull said the panels could be affixed to the building itself, but architect Charles Simon said officials looked at all possible locations,  and beside the hall is “the absolute optimum position.”

The township, which co-owns the building with the community club, asked for the public meeting last month to ensure everyone was informed.

“We’ve tried to make sure that everyone in the public has had their say,” Mayor Chris White said.

Added Breen, “We’re never going to please everyone.”

Council voted unanimously to allow the community club to proceed with the hall upgrades  as planned (including the solar panels).