It’s a long shot.
That’s what Lambton County Warden Todd Case says about the possibility Lambton County residents could benefit from a Charter of Rights case on wind turbines in Ontario.
The county has been asked to be part of the landmark case of a Huron County couple who say they shouldn’t have to prove actual health problems in a charter of rights case but the probability of any health affects.
Last month, three local anti wind groups, WAIT in Plympton-Wyoming, CORE in Enniskillen and the Middlesex Lambton Wind Concerns, asked Lambton County to join the court battle as an intervener. That, they said, would give local residents facing the possibility of hundred’s of turbines in their neighbourhood the same protections granted to the Goderich area couple.
They’re hoping to have all wind development stopped until the charter case is decided. The wind groups, who say political lobbying has not helped, believe this may be their last, best chance to stop the turbines from being erected in Lambton.
County council talked about the possibility in committee meetings with the county’s solicitor suggesting any legal action would cost upwards of $30,000 just to get started. And Solicitor David Cribbs suggested Lambton likely wouldn’t gain intervener status.
But the decision was delayed to allow Case to meet with the groups. The warden says the meeting was productive and he understands fully where the groups’ concerns.
“My position is it (the court action for Lambton) is a bit of a long shot,” says Case. “But as much as it is a long shot, there is that potential to help Lambton County residents.”
County council was expected to decide last Wednesday whether it would put up the cash and lend its name to the cause, but Plympton-Wyoming Mayor Lonny Napper and Enniskillen Mayor Kevin Marriott – both strong anti-wind advocates – asked for the decision to be delayed until the end of November.
“The rationale was to allow more time to educate council on why their viewpoint is what it is,” says Case.
In the meantime, council heard not everyone is interested in stopping wind energy companies from setting up shop in Lambton. James Armstrong of Dawn-Euphemia voiced his support to council, saying he has several leases for the turbines.
Armstrong says he doesn’t like the Green Energy Act which governs the process, nor how much it is costing. “The government should have waited and spent more money on research and development and spent more on transmission lines…much work that needs to be done to get things working at top efficiencies,” he says. “It bothers me immensely that were paying some producers not to produce.”
But he feels the province is set on wind energy so felt he could take advantage of it and earn extra income for his farm “Personally hope to see one of those wind turbines on the land.”