Council bucks mayor's stance on wind farm access
Thunder Bay Mayor Keith Hobbs says Horizon Wind should cut a deal with the province without city help
Thunder Bay city council voted Monday night to extend a licence agreement with the province so Horizon Wind can access the site for the proposed Big Thunder Wind Farm.
But Thunder Bay's mayor said the city shouldn't be involved in helping the developer gain road access to the proposed wind farm site to do preparatory work, tests, and studies associated with the turbines.
Keith Hobbs didn't mince words when he objected to the city extending its agreement for the use of Little Norway Road, which runs over provincially-owned land. Hobbs said the original agreement from 2007 was only to allow Thunder Bay Telephone access to a cellular tower.
"I'm just going to say that we should not be entering into an extension for this. If Horizon wants an extension, then they can apply to the province for it," Hobbs said, questioning why council would help a company that "sued us for $126 million." The city reportedly settled with Horizon out of court.
Despite Hobbs' objection, council passed a resolution that would require Horizon to reimburse the city for the $1,200 annual licence fee.
The city’s acting solicitor Nadia Koltun said the deal "maintains the status quo, and we fulfill our obligations under the existing agreements."
The new agreement with the province runs until 2017, but the city can terminate it if Horizon hasn't built any turbines by September 2014.
Horizon has told the city it intends to submit an environmental application to the province within a few weeks.