Enniskillen says its an “unwilling host” to turbines

Enniskillen Mayor Kevin Marriott and Councilor John Phair listen to concerns about wind projects April 2, 2013. PAGINATORS USE THIS ONE Heather Wright/The Topic Enniskillen Mayor Kevin Marriott and Councilor John Phair listen to concerns about wind projects in the community.

Enniskillen Mayor Kevin Marriott and Councilor John Phair listen to concerns about wind projects in the community.

Enniskillen Township council says it can’t be clearer about its opposition to wind turbines in the community declaring itself an “unwilling host.”

Concerns have risen in the municipality in the past two months as three wind energy companies go door-to-door in the municipality, trying to find landowners willing to have industrial wind turbines on their property. The three companies could plant as many as 51 turbines in the countryside around Petrolia.

A community group, CORE – Conservation of Rural Enniskillen, has been formed and has been pressing council to take a stand against the project.

Mayor Kevin Marriott says council has been opposed to the projects but recently took the added step of passing a motion declaring itself to be an unwilling host to the wind energy centers. “I heard this was happening in a few municipalities across the province,” Marriott says, adding council unanimously supported the move.

The motion pleased CORE spokesman Chad Burke. “I believe that our mayor, our council, is doing everything they can do to keep industrial wind turbines out of our township,” Burke says in an email.

But he concedes it isn’t just in the municipality’s hands. “It is up to the provincial government to stop or halt construction on industrial wind turbines  I believe that we must have an independent Health Study completed as well as the right for a municipality to decide if they want to have industrial wind turbines constructed. ”

There are about 75 communities which have passed a similar motion. Marriott hopes call them together and find a way to bring their concerns to the Premier.

Marriott says he has received letters from the premier’s office saying projects will not go ahead without local support. “I find that hard to believe when you get Wainfleet and Plympton-Wyoming’s (court cases to stop the turbines) going forward,” he says.

“The province was going to do something about it…if the premier is going to say this; we’re going to make sure she knows …how many people are against this. We’re going to hold her to it.”

Marriott plans to organize municipalities who have declared themselves “unwilling hosts” in southern Ontario, while an eastern Ontario mayor will do the same there. Marriott hopes to gather everyone together in the very near future to plan a joint strategy. “I really believe there is power in numbers and I believe that many will help.”

– Heather Wright

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