Letter to the Editor: Deputy Mayor Responds to Issue #9/19 Article Regarding Solar Power Installations

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To the taxpayers of the Northern Bruce Peninsula,
This is in response to the recent article on the front page of issue #9 dated June 11th to the 25th 2019, of the Bruce Peninsula Press. It was concerning the council meeting on May 27th, 2019.
After reading the article, one may be left with the belief that I am opposed to solar power and its benefits. Let me assure you nothing could be further from the truth.
I am opposed to anything (except of course in an emergency situation) brought before council that requires a rushed decision that does not allow staff and council an opportunity to examine all of the facts.
On May 13th 2019 the presenters, Moose Power, who were seeking council’s support in this matter, portrayed a sense of urgency to council and relayed the fact that this will be their last project seeking approval in the Province of Ontario. I asked myself “why is this the last one?”
On May 27th 2019, at the next council meeting two weeks later, staff gave council two options to consider. The first option was that this council “not align with the resolutions of the 2014-2018 council and support entering into site plan control with the property owner(s)”. So in other words this municipality has not permitted these types of projects in the recent past, but council could approve this one.
The second option was for council to “deny the request to enter into site plan control, UNTIL SUCH TIME as staff is able to provide council with SUFFICIENT INFORMATION in support of the request to enter into site plan control”.
Approximately one week after the May 27th council decision, a Provincial directive dated June 11, 2019, now requires green energy producers like Moose Power to provide proof of the need for the wind/solar power prior to any approvals being given. Perhaps my question “as to why the rush?” has been answered. Please see Amendments to the renewable energy approvals regulation. https://ero.ontario.ca/notice/013-3800.
If we had given staff time to do the research, this information, along with the facts that the Green Energy Act has now been cancelled, and Ontario is now paying these companies NOT TO PRODUCE POWER, it may have made it more difficult to find information in support of these projects.
My mistake and for this I apologize to the taxpayers, was that I should have been more vocal about supporting option two. I did suggest we could examine both locations on our June 3rd, 2019 annual road/site tour, prior to any vote, but I was told it would be too late.
The decisions we make at the council table can have far reaching ramifications. I want my decisions to be based on research, complete and accurate staff reports and I don’t think we should work on anyone’s timeline but council’s.
Finally, I am in no way criticizing how the other members of council voted on this matter and my dissenting vote made no difference to the final outcome. On a personal note, I happen to like recorded votes.
Debbie Myles, Deputy Mayor