Solar farm proponents given rough ride at Mono meeting

August 26, 2015   ·   0 Comments

Suncor and Canadian Solar’s first real con- tact with the residents of Mono was nothing short of an embarrassment for the two companies, who appeared to be pulling what many citizens considered a ‘bait-and-switch’ in order to satisfy the Province’s requirements for their application to construct a solar farm in the town.

Although the organizations had submitted a notice to Mono Town Council that they would
be hosting a ‘Public Community Meeting’ on August 19, to introduce residents to the concept and address concerns, when residents arrived at the Mono Community Centre where it was to be held, the firms stated they were only giving an Open House.

According to one representative, the ‘miscommunication ’ was blamed on local newspapers incorrectly reporting that it was a public meeting, However, the statement was retracted when it was pointed out that a letter sent to the

Town of Mono described it as a public meeting, and instead the proponents attributed the ‘Public Community Meeting’ phrase to ‘industry jargon’.

One local resident who felt attendees deserved the public meeting they had been promised , forced the companies to provide such a meeting, where things continued to go downhill for Suncor and Canadian Solar.

Resident and former Councillor Elaine Capes retrieved a speaker and microphone from her car, and urged the com- pany representatives to make a presentation and answer the questions local residents wanted to ask. Unfortunately for the five representatives present, the meeting contin- ued to go downhill for them, as residents asked questions they could not answer, including why information regarding the chosen site was not correct.
What ensued over the next 45 minutes could be described as nothing less than a roasting. As one resident pointed out, not only had the organization failed to provide any legitimate information (including having the location of the project wrong – stating it was on Adjala’s 25 Sideroad, in the Township of Mono) – but they also had been unable to provide satisfactory answers to any of the questions the residents presented.

One other issue presented by residents was that those living near the proposed solar farm had not received any notification of the meeting. While the representatives said notices were sent, it seemed none of the residents, at least of those present at the meeting, had received anything.

The question was also raised as to why Suncor and Canadian Solar had not taken out ads in the local newspapers notifying residents of Mono in the meeting. Further research revealed that the companies had taken out ads – but in a Caledon paper which does not circulate in Mono.

At Tuesday morning’s Mono Council meeting, Sharon Edmonds, who heads the Citizens Against Solar group, asked Council to take a stand against the proposed solar farm.

“We would ask that Council underline and re-support their letter to the Premier by unanimous rejection of any application/ request from Sheldon Solar LP, Suncor, Canadian Solar or any other application for an industrial solar plant on the subject site,” said Ms. Edmonds. “We also ask that The Town commence with a process to have the subject and surrounding lands restricted to ‘existing use only,’ (so no future applications could be made under the Green Energy and Green Economy Act), or alternatively at least restricted from Industrial use.”

Following its July meeting, Mono Council had submitted a let- ter to the Premier declaring their lack of support for the project, and Dufferin-Caledon MPP Sylvia Jones wrote to the Minister of Energy regarding the town’s opposition to the project.

Ms. Capes, who was also part of the presentation at Mono Council, added that while the Province has a list of requirements the two firms must fulfill in order to submit their application, the Province often doesn’t look into full details of that fulfilment, giving companies a potential loophole on the application.

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