Regional SDBA dismisses most requests for changes to wind farm development permits

The Palliser Regional Subdivision and Development Appeal Board (SDAB) upheld the issuance of the 10 development permits under appeal in their written decision dated July 24, 2020 following a Merits Hearing on July 16 – 17, 2020 at County of Paintearth council chambers.

Submissions by the appellants, 11 landowners, who were appealing 10 of the 74 turbines addressed setbacks from the Fetaz’s aerodrome as per Transportation Canada TP1247; setbacks from floodplains; setbacks from environmentally significant or sensitive areas; reclamation bonds; impacts on view; impacts on health and safety; impacts on property value; impacts on relationships between neighbours; emergency response; traffic; impacts on wildlife and vegetation; and impacts on groundwater and wells.

According to the SDAB’s written report, most of the additions and amendments requested by the residents living in and near the proposed wind farm, did not get dealt with because the SDAB did not have the authority to change anything that had been approved by the AUC.

This included the setback requirement of 750m to 1000m requested by the appellants on any dwelling on lands not leased for the Halkirk 2 Project; and none of the 10 turbines under appeal, according to the AUC decision, are located are on Environmentally Sensitive Areas or a floodplain.

The appellants asked that the development obtains and conforms to any and all pertinent municipal, provincial and federal regulations in relation to the 4000m setback from an aerodrome as per Transportation Canada documentation on Aviation – Land Use (TP1247). The Board deemed that had been addressed by AUC.

The adherence to the County’s land-use requirements, natural environment policies were all deemed to have been dealt with through the AUC decision.

The Board allowed, along with Capital Power who were not opposed, for the requirement for Capital Power to enter into a Road Utilization and Development Agreement with the County prior to commencing construction and further it shall be required to pay a security bond in a sum to be determined by the County prior to the commencement of construction will be made.

Condition #6 and #7 were not disputed. Capital Power must apply for development permits for any required storage or stockpiles prior to construction and that Capital Power’s procurement process contain methods and a means to allow for local corporations to compete for contract work where possible were both conditions added that were not disputed by Capital Power.

The appellants requested conditions be placed on Capital Power and/or the County to indemnify the appellants for costs that may be incurred to ensure compliance with the development permits in the event the appellants believe enforcement is required to ensure compliance.

The Board deemed that obligations and commitments have been imposed by the AUC and could not be addressed by the SDAB and that enforcement is in the discretion of the municipality.

The Board did, however, encourage Capital Power to work with the non-participating residents with respect to the final location of wind turbines within the 50m area approved by the AUC “as such cooperation may go a long way in addressing the concerns of adjacent landowners”.

Appellants included Gerald Borgel, Brenda Anderson, Dwayne Felzien, Adam Fuller, Rhonda Fuller, Donald Coulthard, Doug Potter, Lynne Potter, Terry Vockeroth, Peggy Vockeroth, and Brian Perreault.

Due to the pandemic,  parties attended either on site in the parking lot or by teleconference.

The entire decision is posted on the County of Paintearth website at www.countypaintearth.ca

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