Special to The Journal
Lambton County has earmarked $60,000 to back a Charter challenge of the way Ontario approves industrial wind farms.
In addition to the money, county staff are also applying for intervenor status in the case, which pits a handful of Huron County residents against three large industrial wind projects.
Taxpayers in Sarnia, which currently has no turbines, fund about 52% of the county budget.
St. Clair Township Mayor Steve Arnold said Lambton needs to protect the health of its residents.
“Every other industry, when they’re expanding, we in St. Clair Township demand health studies,” he said.
The $60,000 budgeted for the Charter of Rights and Freedom challenge includes $20,000 already set aside for a local anti-wind organization.
The group, We’re Against Industrial Turbines-Plympton-Wyoming, asked the county to join the fight because the case could help stop Suncor Energy’s Cedar Point project, which places 46 turbines in Plympton-Wyoming and Lambton Shores.
Group spokesperson Santo Giorno said the province has breached the Charter by trampling on property and municipal rights.
“It doesn’t make companies consider the potential health effects of wind turbines,” he said. “The onus is on the individual to prove it will hurt them. Our right to appeal is then essentially denied.”
The case is expected to be heard in London divisional court in November.
County councillors also made eight Huron County residents who are spearheading the challenge honourary citizens of Lambton.
One of them, Shawn Drennen, who is fighting Suncor Energy’s K2 Wind project near Goderich, said he was thrilled by the move.
“Lambton County council has recognized and is truly supporting the health of the people with the respect required by elected officials,” he said.
“Lambton County has been one of the counties which has truly understood the issues here right from the start.”
Heather Wright is publisher and editor of The Independent in Petrolia