There were no objections to Mayor Truper McBride’s motion to develop a renewable energy framework for the land-use bylaw at Monday’s town council meeting.
Mayor McBride’s motion originally tabled at the Mar. 11 meeting calls for the town to establish a framework to guide just exactly what is acceptable in renewable energy infrastructure development within the municipality and to inform the Alberta Utilities Commission of it’s decisions no later than December 31, 2014. It also sees council sending a letter to the Rocky View School Division requesting an application for a wind turbine at the Cochrane High School be put on hold until the framework is completed.
McBride previously explained he believed the community needed to have a discussion on how its wants such development to occur.
“Our municipal development plan speaks very strongly that renewal energy is a direction Cochrane is going to be going and it is right for the community, but the land-use bylaw is silent on it and doesn’t say how we’re going to do it,” McBride explained prior to originally giving notice of the motion.
What brought this matter forward is the proposal to erect a wind turbine at the Cochrane High School by its sustainability committee. McBride praised the students for the leadership they have shown the community.
“These students have championed renewal energy in Cochrane to date and they should feel incredibly proud that they have gotten it to this point where we’re developing policy around renewal energy,” said McBride. “I think that’s a significant achievement for high school students.”
The No Turbine in Town (NTT) group has been vocal in their disapproval of establishing the wind turbine in the Cochrane Heights neighbourhood.
NTT spokesperson Brenda Samborski were extremely pleased with this unanimous decision and hope the school will comply with the request to put the project on hold.
Let’s be clear, this is not about trying to stop green energy, this is about doing it in a responsible manor,” she said. NTT’s position remains the same in terms of a responsible and respectful location for this turbine and for all future placements.”
Samorski encourages everyone to share their perspective on the issue with the town council and administration so all voices can be heard.
On Feb. 27, NTT members approached some town councillors with their concerns. They asked for council to deliberate on a resolution calling for no wind turbines to be erected until more research is completed and standards are established for their locations. NTT wants the town to wait until a Health Canada study is completed on wind turbines, research how other municipalities deal with turbines and then determine the appropriate locations.
“We asserted that the town might not have jurisdiction on this matter but there is little doubt that the town’s position is relevant to this matter,” said Samborski.
“AUC Rule 007 specifically asks the applicant to attach any necessary municipal permits/approvals with the AUC application – and to explain why they are not attaching them with the application. Why would the AUC ask for this information if what the municipality thought was of no relevance to the AUC?”
One of those town councilors, Jeff Toews believed the right decision was made Monday night.
“This is something that needs to be discussed with all the town,” he said Monday night.
He said the concerns brought forward by NTT should be examined.
Addressing members of the coalition in the audience, Toews said, “You were heard and you’re an important part of the community.”