County urged to go fast, slow

When it comes to wind, county councillors should make a quick decision – or maybe not.
That is what councillors heard on Jan. 31 when they con­sidered the planning com­mittee minutes.
That committee recom­men­ded the director of plan­ning prepare an amendment to the county official plan to add policies on wind energy for consideration by the committee and council.
Councillor Mike Broom­head urged council to proceed with good speed. “It’s important to push ahead,” he said, adding that com­panies wanting to build wind turbines can simply take the county to the Ontario Municipal Board if council does not act quickly enough. Broomhead said that means the county and the township will have to pay legal fees at the hear­ing.
He said of the proponents, “These guys are going to come champing at the bit come spring to get these towers up.”
He asked if the amendment can be ready by March.
Engineer Gord Ough said that will be up to the committee and to council.
Broomhead asked that the committee and staff “place a high priority on it.”
But planning committee chair­man Walter Trachsel said the committee has held off its decision while waiting for the results of a hearing from Kin­cardine.
“Some are not as simple as it looks,” Trachsel said of the proposals for private power gen­eration. “We want to make sure it’s a proper policy for the county.”
Broomhead replied, “I’m saying the building season is the building season.”
Councillor John Green said his entire Mapleton council (which has also had proposals for towers, and actually has one running), attended an entire day of that Kincardine hearing in Kinloss, and he said those councillors will share infor­ma­tion with Wellington County.
Councillor Bob Wilson said he would “caution against moving too quickly,” on the pol­icy. “People in the county will have to look at them for the next 40 years,” he said.
Wilson also cited the York Soaring Club’s letter of con­cern. It stated some concerns “over proposals to develop wind power generation farms in the immediate area sur­round­ing our active airfield.”
Peter Foster, of Caledon East, writing on behalf of that club, located near Arthur, said its officials have been led to believe there are as many as five separate com­panies who have expressed some sort of interest to the local planning office with two in particular (TransCanada  and Florida Power and Light) hav­ing mature and large scale plans for the area.
“These significant opera­tions are being actively pursued at a time that there is an ap­parent void in municipal policy as to the location of wind tur­bines in the vicinity of aero­dromes or airports.”
Foster said in his letter the large turbines could chase mem­bers away from the club because their sheer size can be intimidating.
He asked for a 5km distance for the turbines from such air­ports and aerodromes.
Wilson told council that the York Soaring Club has been operating since 1956, and its property has been used for such things as emergency landings.
Wilson said while its situ­ation might be unique, “It’s reasonable to make sure places like that are very well protec­ted.”
He also added that if anyone is unfamiliar with the huge turbines, “You can see about 50 outside of Shelburne.”