Lambton County is ready to step into another wind battle even before the official fight begins.
Councilors recently gave approval for the county’s legal staff to get involved in an Environmental Review Tribunal Hearing into the Suncor Energy Cedar Point project in Plympton-Wyoming and Lambton Shores even though the project has not received final approval.
Plympton-Wyoming Mayor Lonny Napper spearheaded the plan after council received a letter from We’re Against Industrial Turbines (WAIT) voicing concern over changes Suncor has made to its project. WAIT says the changes to power lines while considered ‘minor’ by the Minstry of the Environment and Suncor should have been reviewed by the public.
“This is very close to home,” says Napper whose municipality has been fighting Suncor in court over the project. “There were significant changes made to this project…this is another opportunity to show we are an unwilling host.”
But some councilors were worried about the cost. Lambton County is already in the middle of an ERT hearing for the Jericho project. The legal bill for that fight has yet to be tabulated so there is no definitive way to say how much it will cost.
And county staff once again raised concerns that the county could be asked to pay Suncor’s costs if it loses the appeal.
But Deputy Warden Bev MacDougall agreed with Napper. “The consistency of county council’s position is very important,” she says. “As I drive by each industrial wind turbine…I worry more and more about the landscape.”
MacDougall says Lambton has to send a message to the province. “Premier Wynne says she would take to heart those protests of those who are unwilling hosts…It is time for us to be heard.”