Plympton-Wyoming “not a willing host” but will the province listen

To no one’s surprise, Plympton-Wyoming has joined the growing list of municipalities which has formally declared it is not a willing host to wind energy projects.

Premier Kathleen Wynne and Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli have both said municipalities which aren’t willing hosts to wind project will be put further down the list of the green energy projects, even though until now the Green Energy Act took away all power of municipalities to stop the projects.

Plympton-Wyoming has been on the front line of the municipal fight against the wind energy projects. The municipality passed restrictive bylaws which require turbines to be two kilometers from homes, a $200,000 deposit for decommissioning and its building fees of $10,000 after Suncor Energy moved ahead with its 100 megawatt, 46 turbine project.

Suncor is taking Plympton-Wyoming to court over the new fees.

Mayor Lonny Napper says the municipality has been focused on the court battle but now says council passed a motion declaring it was not a willing host to protect the community for any future wind projects.

“We’re losing focus about what’s going on down the road,” says Napper. “All that land from Mandaumin to Forest Line; to me it is going to be more of an impact because the main transmission line is going to go right through there.”

Plympton-Wyoming’s lawyer in the Suncor case, Eric Gillespie, says many municipalities have made similar motions but “how much weight the province will attach to the position of the municipality remains to be seen.”

But Gillespie expects the Premier would not have made the statement if she didn’t mean it. “The province is either serious or it’s not about valuing municipal input,” says Gillespie. “It is really not a matter of looking at the action of municipality; it’s really more of matter of looking at the action of the government in Queen’s Park to see if they are sincere when they say municipalities should have a greater voice.”

– Heather Wright