THUNDER BAY – Under the Ontario Municipal Act there are specific areas where a municipal government should go “in camera” or behind closed doors for discussions.
One is when discussing legal issues, such as Thunder Bay City Council has done over the Big Thunder Wind Farm over recent meetings.
On Monday night, a motion was put forward to indemnify Loch Lomond Ski Resort over possible legal implications from wind turbines. Legal advice was needed, and that led to over four hours of “in camera” time while the Mayor and Councillors discussed the issue.
The speed on Tuesday which Horizon Legacy Energy Corporation, Horizon Wind Inc., Horizon Wind Limited Partnership, Big Thunder Wind Park Inc. and Big Thunder Wind Park Limited Partnership launched legal action demonstrated the importance of Council having those guidelines from the Municipal Act.
It is likely that City Councillors now have the full measure, and more about the complaints that opponents of the Big Thunder Wind Farm proposal have tried to share with them.
Horizon Wind Energy LLC, a Houston Texas based wind energy company, which some have mistaken as a part of the Thunder Bay project were very quick earlier this week to get the information out that they are not associated in any way, shape or form with Horizon Legacy Energy Corporation, Horizon Wind Inc., Horizon Wind Limited Partnership, Big Thunder Wind Park Inc. or Big Thunder Wind Park Limited Partnership.
For clarification Horizon Wind Energy LLC, based in Texas, is not affiliated with the company Horizon Wind, Inc. EDP Renewables Canada is Horizon Wind Energy LLC’s affiliate company in Canada.
In launching their $126 million law suit, it is now likely that the Big Thunder Wind Farm in Thunder Bay is now finished. Councillors, who in 2006 were enthusiastic, are now far more aware of facts on the project. Candidates for office in Monday’s election have seen how the project has been one that has divided this community.
It will be difficult at best and impossible at most, for any agreement after a law suit to be reached by the City of Thunder Bay and the company. For the most part, the law suit had done one thing already; it has united many people in our community against the current proposal and its proponents.
There can be critical commentary against City Council for getting into this situation. However back in 2006, the shift to anything “green” was popular. It is still atop the McGuinty Government’s political agenda, and Premier McGuinty has price tag blinders on when it comes to the price tag of green energy.
That however is a discussion for provincial politics. In Thunder Bay, Councillors are now in a position where without the ability to seek legal advice behind closed doors, we could be facing a law suit that could be hard to win.
The Big Thunder Wind Farm divided Thunder Bay with some for, and some against. With the launching of the law suit against the city, the one thing that the company likely didn’t expect has happened, they shifted the tide of opinion against themselves.