Much ado about wind
Weary members of Addington Highlands Council spent most of their council meeting on Monday (June 1) listening, and talking, about a potential wind power project in Denbigh.
Presentations in opposition to the project by Rosemary O'Connor, Alice Madigan, Dianne Isaacs, and Paul Isaac were received, and there was one in support of the project by Ed Yanch. Rosemary Oconnor presented the results of an informal referendum on the project. Of 104 ballots cast in Addington Highlands, 101 said they disapprove of the project, 2 approve of it, and 1 was undecided. From North Frontenac residents, 10 ballots were cast, of which 9 were opposed and only 1 was in favour of the project,
Alice Madigan then presented a 540 name petition opposing the project. She said that most of those who signed live in or around the hamlet of Denbigh.
Dianne Isaacs then suggested that council seek legal council concerning whether the fact that Nextera has offered to pay up to $350,000 per year for 20 years to the township only if council supports the bid and the bid is ultimately successful, constitutes acceptance of a bribe, which would make the township open to legal scrutiny. Paul Isaacs presented an excerpt from a contract that he said revealed some of the potential pitfalls of the NextEra lessee agreements. Although owners of properties where turbines are located will receive at least $7,000 per year through the 20 year life of the project, those that contain roads will receive a minimum of $2,000 per year and those with transmissions lines a minimum of $1,000 per year. Because Ontario Power Generation will be in a position to appropriate lands of those property owners who refuse to have power lines run across them, Isaacs said the township should insist that the landowners who are forced into accepting the line should receive “at least 2 or 3 times what those who are willing to have their lands used are paid.”
Councillor Bill Cox intervened as far as the contracts between Nextera and residents are concerned,
“It is not our role to intervene in private contracts entered into by residents. Where would we stop if we started meddling there?” he said,.
Finally Ed Yanch pointed out that the township stands to receive $7 million over 20 years if the project goes through, and the economic activity would bring needed work for local residents.
“In my years living here there were two other occasions this kind of Nimbyism took place. One was when the provincial government was thinking of selling off cottage lots, and the other was when Bon Echo was proposed. Both times there was opposition, but where would Addington Highlands be now without cottages on our lakes and Bon Echo Park,” he said.
Later, in the body of the Council meeting, Councillor Tony Fritsch made 5 separate motions relating to wind power proposals.
The first two were endorsed. They were that staff contact municipalities where NextEra and RES Canada (the two companies who are seeking council support for wind power project) have completed projects to find out how the process worked.
The others, that township staff contact 10% of the 60 municipalities in Ontario that are already hosting wind projects to see what their experience has been, that council prepare a 'bargaining position' prior to meeting with Res or NextEra to finalize the Community Vibrancy agreements, and that no decision on the matter be made prior to August 4th, were rejected by Council.
Council will be meeting on July 6, and that is the final meeting before NextEra needs to submit their bid, and unless a special meeting is called for later in July, the decision on NextEra will be made at that meeting. As far as RES Canada is concerned, the township has not been approached with a deadline, but the company has set up public meetings on July 2nd from 6 to 9 pm at the Denbigh Hall.
A list of questions submitted to NextEra and answers from the company are being posted on the Addington Highlands website this week. We will link to it from Frontenacnews.ca
A picnic table is to be installed, at a maximum cost of $200, outside the Denigh library to encourage use of the free wifi at the library.
Question about dispatch in Denbigh – Councillor Kirby Thompson said that he has been approached by Denbigh Firefighters concerned that since the dispatch service has been moved to Kingston they are not receiving some calls within their territory, which are then being handled either by Plevna or Northbrook based fire departments, which are located further away. The query will be forwarded to Fire Chief Casey Cuddy.
A tender was awarded to Danford Construction for the rehabilitation of Hughes Landing Road in the amount of $672,860. Danford was easily the lowest of four bidders. In second place was Crain's Construction at just under $1 million, followed by Greenwood ($1.17 million) and Cruikshank ($1.22 million)
The paving contract for both single and double surface treatment on various roads was awarded to Greenwood Paving at a price of $18,440 per kilometre (single surface) and $35,670 per kilometre (double surface). There were only two bids for the contract, and Greenwood’s was the lowest.