Jonas Bonnetta | Aug 05, 2015

August 4th 2015 Denbigh Hall

Addington Highlands' Council passed six by-laws on Tuesday night providing support for Nextera Energy and RES Canada in their bids to install industrial wind turbines in the municipality.

To a packed room of local residents, Reeve Henry Hogg, Councilors Bill Cox and Helen Yanch voted in favour of both projects and their updated community vibrancy agreements. Councilors Tony Fritsch and Kirby Thompson voted against them.

Rosemary O'Connor, a local resident, was one of two delegations speaking out at the meeting in opposition to the the proposed wind turbines. She spoke about her frustrations regarding the July 20 meeting at Flinton Hall.

“No way should a decision about such a monumental project as this be made by just three people.”

O'Connor then told Council details about a conversation she had with Hogg regarding the negative impact these turbines might have on the area. During this conversation. she claims Reeve Hogg asked her to “just name me one person who has ever earned a living in Ward 1.”

O'Connor said “At the end of that conversation you [Hogg] inappropriately poked me in the shoulder and said 'if you're so concerned about your property value you can...' and walked away.

“You have lost your perspective. The vibrancy fund has caused you to place money ahead of the people you represent and the land they wish to protect and preserve” O'Connor said.

Paul Isaacs, another local resident, also spoke out against the proposed turbine project and offered the Council a list of reasons as to why they should be considering solar as opposed to the turbines.

He pointed out that solar panels could be mounted on the ground of the existing hydro line corridors and that they would have less environmental impact, bother fewer people, and even last longer.

“To put up a wind farm you have to build a lot of roads, you have to put up a lot of towers, you have to do a lot of blasting, it costs you a lot of money so your vibrancy fund goes down,” he explained suggesting that they could possibly get a larger vibrancy fund from a big solar project.

He then expressed his concerns for the township because of their lack of research done on the projects before making the decision.

The resolutions were then considered

“From my perspective our Council has not done a proper job of dealing with these [turbine] issues,” Councilor Fritsch said before the votes were counted and said he hoped that Council would “take their time and address all the issues, get further community input, and do their homework...”

“I'm still not sold on this,” Councilor Thompson said. “I haven't been given any argument for this.”

Thompson was also frustrated about all the questions they still had regarding the proposals and expressed concern still about the aviation lighting and decommissioning wording in the agreements.

“If the contract is done in 20 years they could still remain in place for another 30 because that's how long the contract is for the landowners.”

Thompson then made a motion to defer the decision until a later date but it was voted down by Councilors Cox, Yanch, and Reeve Hogg.

Council then voted to approve the community vibrancy agreements, municipal resolution of support, and a road use agreement with both Nextera and RES Canada.

The vote on all the motions was the same, 3-2,with Councilors Fritsch and Thompson registering no votes.

Most of the crowd in the packed hall stood up at this point and turned their backs on the council and remained that way for many minutes chanting, “Hey hey ho ho! Hogg must go!”

They then left and the meeting continued on.

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