Lambton municipality squares off against Suncor over turbines
Published Wednesday, February 26, 2014 6:31PM EST
One Lambton County municipality is facing off against a major corporation.
A wind turbine project slated for Plympton-Wyoming was the subject of a court hearing in Sarnia on Wednesday
Protesters were camped outside the Sarnia courthouse to send a message to Suncor Energy that they're not interested in having wind turbines in their community.
Ingrid Willemsen is with the group We're Against Industrial Turbines in Plympton-Wyoming or WAIT-PW.
She also wanted to show support for a municipal council that has brought in bylaws trying putting limits on structures.
"We're just so thrilled that they've put it on the line, that they've taken this on," says Willemsen.
Suncor is challenging those bylaws, one which calls for a two kilometre separation from households and a 32 db noise limit.
An almost identical bylaw was struck down by the courts last year.
Suncor lawyer Albert Engel told the court both a professional planner and a noise level expert said "It's impossible to build a wind turbine anywhere within the borders of the town under the bylaw."
The Plympton-Wyoming lawyer seemed resigned to the fact that the bylaw surrounding noise levels and distances wouldn't stand the test in court.
He says there are other powers municipalities have that should stay within their control and most of them are to do with fees.
One bylaw change - raise the development charge from $100 per turbine to $10,000 per turbine plus a $200,000 decommissioning fee.
The issue has been divisive in the community.
Plympton-Wyoming resident Don Van Os still grapples with the knowledge his father and two brothers signed turbine lease agreements already..
"It gets a little bit heated and that's the way it's going to be for a while," admits Van Os
Plympton-Wyoming Mayor Lonnie Napper says both the province and the courts haven't given rural municipalities much hope.
"I just think we want somebody that will listen to us. Give us our rights back here in rural Ontario. we're just getting stomped on here," says Napper.
The judge hearing the Suncor challenge has reserved decision.
A ruling should come down within a couple of weeks.