Concerns raised over Armow Wind agreement


By Barb McKay

A Kincardine councillor has raised concerns that an agreement signed with the developers of the Armow Wind Project could prevent the municipality from supporting its residents’ fight against it.


Jacqueline Faubert asked if council would support a resolution from the Municipality of South Bruce to support initiatives by HALT (Huron-Kinloss Against Lakeside Turbines) and Safe Armow citizen groups to challenge the construction and operation of the Armow project.


Kincardine CAO Murray Clark said council should be cautious because it passed a bylaw accepting a memorandum of agreement with Samsung and Pattern, the developers of the 92 industrial wind turbine Armow project. He said council should obtain legal advice before supporting actions against the development.


As part of the agreement, Pattern and Samsung will contribute $1,030,000 to the Kincardine airport to improve local operations. Another $630,000 will be donated annually for the next 20 years to a community benefit fund. Pattern and Samsung have agreed to a 3,000-metre setback from primary and secondary urban communities of Kincardine and Tiverton and the lakeshore. The companies have also agreed to bury all low-voltage collector lines located on private property carrying electricity from the project's wind turbines, where feasible; create a tree preservation and replacement plan; follow an emergency preparedness and response plan; and implement a complaint resolution process.


Faubert said she would like to see some points in the agreement clarified, either by municipal staff or by the municipality’s legal counsel. She referenced a letter, submitted by HALT member Karen Breitbach who pointed out clauses in the agreement are restrictive. One in particular, she said, will prevent council from supporting the actions of its citizens who have concerns about the Armow development. Clause 17.3 states:


“SP Armow shall be entitled to terminate this agreement if the municipality adopts any resolution or bylaw, obtains a judgment court or tribunal order or undertakes any other action or event including the provision of funds to any third party which whether directly or indirectly prevents the project from proceeding substantially as proposed or prevents the project from being operated and maintained following the Commercial Operation Date. SP Armow shall provide 30 days written notice of its intention to exercise its rights under this subsection, which notice shall allow the Municipality to exercise the dispute resolution process set out in Section 18 of this agreement.”


Faubert said it is unclear if council can support resolutions against the project without the agreement being terminated; if councillors can continue to sit on the Multi-Municipal Wind Turbine Working Group; and if the municipality’s amended noise bylaw can be upheld. She said she also doesn’t understand why the agreement was dealt with in a closed session of council when other municipalities have dealt with similar agreements in open session.


A report is expected to be brought back to the July 2 council meeting.


In related news, three local wind groups, SWEAR (Safe Wind Energy for All Residents), HALT and HEAT (Huron East Against Turbines) announced that Falconer LLP, the law firm representing them individually, was awarded the right to have the groups’ Divisional Court appeals joined. The groups have launched legal challenges against the construction of wind farms near Goderich, Kincardine and St. Columban.


Hearing dates have been set for Nov. 17, 18 and 19.