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Small Victory

Rick Conroy — Wellington Times — March 21, 2014

OMB grants 12-year-old appeal

In the summer of 2002, Mayor James Taylor signed a bylaw that would mark the beginning of a conflict that continues to churn through this community 12 years later.

It wasn’t exactly the County’s first brush with industrial wind turbines. Council had rejected an earlier project, by just a single vote, that would have seen industrial wind turbines raised over Hillier.

But the proposal by Vision Quest, a subsidiary of TransAlta, to build as many as 32 turbines between Royal Road and Army Reserve Road in South Marysburgh was different. In 2002, municipalities still had the authority to decide where, how many and even if such industrial wind energy projects would be built in its communities.

That all changed with the Green Energy Act in 2009—when municipal planning authority, many other regulatory safeguards and protections were taken away by the provincial government to ease the development path for the industrialization wind energy developers.

Unlike the Hillier proposal, the Royal Roads project was off the beaten path. Council reasoned that industrial wind turbines were likely inevitable and feared the County would be frowned upon by provincial officials if it refused another wind energy project.

Despite bitter resistance, council approved the Vision Quest plan. It had been a bitter fight—neighbours fighting neighbours. Some moved on—unable to live with the prospect of industrial wind turbines swirling overhead and the broken relationships in the rural community.

Bill Wightman, a veteran of the Hillier resistance efforts, decided he would lead the effort to appeal council’s decision to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). Wightman was joined in the action by 20 individuals, as well as the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters and the South Shore Conservancy.

Last month, the group learned they won.  Continue reading here….

Rick Matthews panoramic image of an industrial wind turbine blade at a truck stop on the 401 highway. (Above) A closer image also by Matthews, reveals a saw-toothed cutting edge on the blade.

Rick Matthews panoramic image of an industrial wind turbine blade at a truck stop on the 401 highway. (Above) A closer image also by Matthews, reveals a saw-toothed cutting edge on the blade.

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