At the August 11, council meeting, EDP Renewables representatives Ken Little and Tom Lo Turco asked one more last time for a municipal support resolution for the proposed South Branch II project, and this time, council flatly denied the request.
The decision was deferred from a July meeting, and before the vote, Ken Little said that this resolution was a chance for South Dundas to lock in the proposed municipal benefit at an early stage.
“We are coming to you as a business working locally, that wants to grow locally,” said Little. “We have worked hard to build here in South Dundas and to build what we think is a great project. We will continue to develop it hand in hand with council. What we are requesting is for you to support a business that wants to grow in South Dundas.”
South Dundas deputy mayor Jim Locke was the only member of council who voted in favour of supporting the resolution of support.
He said that hydro rates will not be impacted by this contract, that they are a result of the poor planning and inefficiencies of Hydro One.
“Three years from now, as sure as there will be an election campaign, candidates will be asked ‘what is your plan for economic development?’ Here we have a chance to bring in over $10 million over 25 years in taxation and community funds, not to mention the benefits to local businesses and individuals who live and spend in South Dundas,” said Locke. “If we do not support this project, and it was to go ahead anyway, we lose $6.5 million right off the bat. I am not willing to take that gamble.”
Of the EDP proposal for the South Branch II project, South Dundas councillor Bill Ewing said, “I read it as blackmail. I am not prepared to support this resolution. I am not in favour.”
“I look at this as risk versus reward. There is too much uncertainty about this project,” said South Dundas councillor Marc St. Pierre. He also outlined the reasons he does not like the Green Energy Act.
“We are not the only municipality debating this, a lot of others are turning it down,” said St. Pierre of the EDP request for support. “I can’t support it.”
“I think the existing wind project strained and divided the community. I think further turbines will put further strain on relationships,” said South Dundas mayor Evonne Delegarde. “I don’t want wind. I have no desire to support this resolution. I will not support it.”
South Dundas councillor Archie Mellan declared conflict of interest on matters regarding EDP, so he does not participate in discussions or vote or related resolutions.
Immediately following the decision, EDP representatives would not comment, asking for time to collect their thoughts on the matter.
The next day, Ken Little responded: “EDP Renewables Canada (EDPR) was disappointed with the outcome of the South Dundas Council’s decision regarding the Municipal Council Support Resolution for the South Branch II Wind Farm. The Council missed a significant opportunity to potentially secure annual benefits and funding for the Municipality.
The decision made by Council will result in a loss of direct income to the Municipality of over $250,000 annually, and $6,500,000 over 25 years, if the South Branch II Wind Farm is successful in securing a contract through the IESO.
EDPR remains committed to create an aggressive bid for the South Branch II Wind Farm into the IESO Large Renewable Procurement I (LRP I) process.
The Council’s decision also puts at risk the over $55,000,000 which we demonstrated would be invested in the local community as the project will be less competitive in LRP I.
As a large business that already operates in South Dundas and continually engages both Staff and Council, we wanted to take the opportunity through LRP I to expand our presence and investment in South Dundas.
It appears that some preconceived notions regarding wind energy and the electricity market were not altered even in light of the facts and benefits presented to Council over the past year.
We find that when the wind energy industry is demystified through study and factual engagement, the benefits of this innovative and cost effective technology become transparent.
EDPR commits to continue to engage the Council on the South Branch II project and encourage Council to request Staff research and recommendations to address any of the misunderstandings which were apparent at the meeting Tuesday night.”