Posted on Wednesday, December 13, 2017 at 11 a.m.
Champlain Township says “No” to wind turbine
Champlain Township council is saying “No” to the provincial government that it does not want to be part of a wind turbine project for the Prescott-Russell region.
The gesture is a symbolic one because even Mayor Gary Barton admits that the township is going to be part of the Eastern Fields Wind Power Project (EFWP) in Prescott County whether council and the residents like it or not.
“We have already declared ourself as an unwilling host,” Mayor Barton said during Tuesday evening’s council session.
Council received a seven-page document from the Ontario environment ministry for the Eastern Fields project’s renewable energy approval application. The document is the Municipal/Local Authority Consultation report which the ministry wants township council to sign off on as part of the project approval process.
“I don’t want to sign this document,” said Barton. “But I think we have to make a statement that we oppose it (wind turbine project).”
The original concept for the Eastern Fields project was to locate all of the wind turbines in The Nation Municipality, which also has declared itself an unwilling host. The company’s transmission substation would be in a corner of Champlain Township which is closest to the provincial power grid link.
But now, Mayor Barton told council, the township will have at least one of the wind turbines set up near Vankleek Hill because the original location for that one was too close to the Alfred Bog, a protected natural heritage site.
The site for the wind turbine in Champlain Township is a field near the intersection of Nixon and Fitzpatrick Roads, about nine kilometres southwest of the Vankleek Hill village boundary. Several neighbouring farm owners have posted their own protest signs (see photo).
Ontario’s Green Energy Act gives priority to approved alternative energy projects, overriding municipal zoning and planning regulations. Mayor Barton noted that council can still refuse to file the municipal consultation report with the province even though that won’t stop the Eastern Fields project.
“We’re making a statement,” Barton said. “‘We don’t want to sign your document.’”