Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Wind Turbines - We Need a Lawyer

Wind Turbines - We Need a Lawyer (Letter to the Millbrook Times)

An idea was mentioned to me by a landowner which should be seriously considered by Council. Would it not benefit landowners, the Township and the citizens of Cavan Monaghan to have Council retain the services of a lawyer to help residents understand the consequences of signing a wind turbine lease option agreement? After all, decisions made by individual residents are going to affect a large part of the township for a very long time, so Council has a vested interest.
A wind turbine agreement can be complicated, confusing and filled with uncertainty. There is the length of the lease (20 to 40 years or longer), the seemingly unlimited rights over the property - including installing service roads, one acre service areas around each turbine, installation of hydro lines and towers and rights to the land at anytime. There are concerns of property damage, soil errosion, damages resulting from turbine fires, toxic PCB's, faulty parts causing total collapse, stray voltage and ice thrown from blades. There are documented cases of this and serious health problems (another important subject to be addressed) experienced not only by the leasor but also by residents at neighbouring properties caused by the wind turbines.
Who is responsible to decommision the old, possibly rusted 400 foot high turbines in the future (in 20 to 40 years these companies could be long gone). How will hosting wind turbines affect land property taxes and yearly income taxes. In the future what restrictions and burdens will our children inherit from the agreement and their ability to sell the property. Making a lawyer available to taxpayers who have questions is an option the Township should seriously consider, unless of course, the Province has taken away that right. (Our democratic right to object to the wind turbines was taken away from us by the Green Act.)
We need a lawyer, who can meet and assist groups of landowners who need their questions answered. Hopefully Council can help out in this matter. No one should sign anything until they've had the benefit of legal advice.