Councillor has some concerns about small hydro turbines in residential areas

Wellington Coun­ty is planning a public meet­ing in Arthur May 27 to hear comments before its sets official plan policies for wind turbines.

Centre Wellington Town­ship’s planner, Brett Salmon, said he foresees difficulties with smaller generators.

“People seem comfortable with big ones,” Salmon said. “The county seems to be strug­gling with [policies for] the smaller ones.”

Its draft proposal noted “key aspect of the wind energy policy proposed for Wellington would be to set out micro, small, and large scale turbines, at which dif­ferent policies would apply.” Small and large hydro generators would not be permitted in residential areas, and no wind turbines would be allowed in a greenland system.

The county defines micro as a generator producing  3 kilowatts or less, small as generating more than 3Kw and less than 100Kw, and large ones as generating over 100Kw. That did not please councillor Fred Morris, who noted micro generators would be permitted in the official plan for people’s back yards.

Salmon said that might be possible, but the idea is the county wants local munici­pali­ties to have regulation control.

Morris asked if there has been concerns about noise generated from the turbines.

Salmon said there has been some. He added that it will be up to local munici­pali­ties to determine how to fit the micro turbines into zoning bylaws. There are diffi­culties determining adequate setbacks. He added the coun­ty’s policies are based on re­sults from Ontario Municipal Board hearings.

“There’s a lot of push to allow wind energy,” Salmon said, and the township’s planning advisory committee has al­ready considered ways to regulate them through zoning.

Morris said turbines in residential areas would be un­sightly like TV anten­nas were.

Salmon said that is “one argument we’ll hear.”

He said there are lots of large projects where there was no controversy.

Councillor Walt Visser add­ed the OMB did not reject large projects when it heard appeals.

Morris said the issue should be raised at the coming public meeting. “I don’t think we should allow them in back yards.”

Salmon wondered what would happen, though, if a builder wanted “a green de­vel­opment” that featured its own hydro turbine, which “could serve the whole neighbour­hood.”

Mayor Joanne Ross-Zuj noted, “The technology is chan­g­ing fast and furious. We’re playing catch-up” with regulations.

Visser wants local control.

Morris said, “I think the coun­ty should forget residen­tial.

“To me, it doesn’t make sense in a residential area. What if it blew over?”

Salmon said, “We can choose not to allow them.”

An open house on the county’s wind energy policies is set for Tuesday, May 20 at the Arthur community centre starting at 4:30pm.

The public meet­ing May 27 starts at 7pm and it will be held at the Arthur community centre at 158 Dom­ville Street.

There are two public meetings that night. The first is planned to run 30 minutes and deals with county growth forecasts, and the second is the wind energy policy, which starts at 7:30pm.