Any donations coming from wind companies will have to be approved by Lambton County Council.
The decision comes after a controversial decision by Lambton’s Creative County Committee to accept $50,000 from Suncor Energy – one of the owners of the Cedar Point Wind Energy Centre.
Plympton-Wyoming residents and their council fought for years to stop the project. They eventually gained the county’s support and Lambton committed money to the legal action against the Cedar Point project. It also declared itself an unwilling host.
So when the Creative County group accepted the cash, some were offended.
Recently, Santo Giorno of WAIT-PW went to council expressing his concern. Giorno says the group appreciates the county’s support but is frustrated by the donation.
“We’re feeling a little bit irritated that they (Suncor) used the county and the county committee to improve the look of their project,” he says, noting just a few weeks later Suncor sold its stake in the project.
“It’s not illegal but it’s not appropriate… I think it was a missed opportunity to get some creative wisdom on this.”
Petrolia Mayor John McCharles agreed asking council to approve a plan, which would see any donations from wind energy companies come before the full council.
“I had some comments prior to the meeting saying ‘why would the county that has all along said it was an unwilling host, accept the money? …you’re taking money from who you are objecting to,” he says. McCharles concedes it would be difficult to turn that size of a donation down but “Why would the county accept money from the people they were fighting in court?”
“Common sense says there would be issues on this donation,” added Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley. “We want to reaffirm our long-term objection to wind farms and forget about the past; this should not have happened.”
But Plympton-Wyoming Mayor Lonny Napper was still stung by the donation. “We’re an unwilling host for wind turbines – I just think this body has lost all its integrity,” he says. “If you’re an unwilling host you’re in there for the long run or you’re there for lip service.”