Setback By-law

Passes 1st and 2nd reading in Wainfleet. Third reading set for April 10th Council meeting.

Council was regaled once again by the legal representative of the wind Developer, who was allowed to speak on the premise that he had new information to convey on the issue.

There was none, just a re-hash of the previous delegation to Council in February.  The  Developer’s agent kept referring to an “illegal” by-law, one that if Council were to try to enforce would result in costly consequences, and perhaps even “personal” liability.  Finally, the man, then, more-or-less intimated to Council that if it was not going to enforce the by-law his client show know about it.

First, the by-law is NOT illegal: if it were to prohibit the erection of IWT’s in Wainfleet, then it would be ultra vires (illegal) the GEA.  The By-law merely states that if IWT’s over 90 meters are erected in Wainfleet, then they have to be setback 2km from the nearest property.  One can argue that because ONTARIO REGULATION 359/09 of the EPA states that the setback shall be “at least” 550 meters, without saying “and only” 550 meters, the Wainfleet By-law remains in compliance with the GEA, and may, in fact, be enforceable.

Does the Developer’s legal agent know something we might not?

4 thoughts on “Setback By-law

  1. But once it is read a 3rd time and approved can we be certain that Wainfleet Council will go ahead and enforce it?
    So far no Municipal Council in Ontario has actually challenged either the provincial government or the Ontario wind energy industry?
    It has been private groups or individuals, raising cash by donations, and claiming negative health effects and property devaluation. All the wind energy companies have done is to claim they are complying with the GEA and have never had to prove that some folk living in close proximity to IWTs will be negatively affected.
    You make an excellent point regarding the ‘ least 550 mtrs..’ and that could be another way to make even a biased court in Ontario take notice.
    However, isn’t the most important part of this whole present issue that our elected Council have no legal choice but to do all they can to protect the township’s best interests, specifically with regard to public health and negative economic impacts?
    They do have the authority to adopt and enforce the Bylaw.
    They do have the authority to ignore any staff advice or recommendations to the contrary.
    They do have the authority to instruct the Chief Building Official not to issue Building Permits.
    All they really need is the support of their community and the will to do what is right.
    Will the province, even under the Green Energy Act, override a municipality with regard to public health and economic impacts without having to prove their case?
    Will the Ontario wind energy industry really take Wainfleet to court with all the negative publicity it will entail? Rankin may do on his own, but that would be purely personal and local and would likely backfire on him?
    If they sue Wainfleet then they will have to prove there are no health issues, no property devaluation issues and that minimum safe setback550 mtrs has been conclusively proved to be safe.
    All Wainfleet should need to do is to prove, on all the available evidence, that they are only showing due diligence in protecting the health, safety and economic future of the community who elected them as best they can.
    Wind energy is in trouble worldwide, investment by speculator investors in the US has plummeted. Here in Ontario they are fighting to maintain the status quo for as long as they can to have as many projects approved as they can before it all falls apart! The NRWC spokesperson only yesterday claimed that their contract will be ‘grandfathered in’…!!!
    This is crazy! We need to stop it any way we can and kill any existing contracts………….
    Once these machines are built we are screwed! Far better to go down fighting and who knows, we may just stop them being built in Wainfleet. Wouldn’t that be something…………..

    • There a cost to fighting the State, a huge cost because of its monopoly on power. If this Province were enlightened enough to subsidize the litigation costs involved in clarifying the Green Energy Act, then there would be no need for manna from heaven and we could proceed to enforce setback by-laws. Instead, the provincial government has sought to force its green policies on the citizenry by removing their democratic rights at the local level. If instead it had chosen not to remove those powers and had also kept the FIT programme, there would then have been a fair fight between citizens and local councils, and developers after lucrative FIT contracts. The fight being fierce, the Developers would then cry, foul! And demand the government make the fight less fair. Maybe the government knew this at the time of enacting its green debacle and decided that fair was not fair.

      • So the only way forward is to try and force a situation where it is the IWT companies who bring a case against the township.
        The Council only have to defend themselves, not pay huge amounts to bring on a lawsuit.If the Council’s responsibility to protect the public health and economic effects are to be ignored at every level of Canadian law then objecting to these disasters has always been just a waste of time.

        • The cost of the Defence would still have to be borne by the Council and it wouldn’t be cheap. Protesting and objecting are necessary to turn the wheels of justice, which in a civilized society wind exceedingly slow.

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