DIXON’S CORNERS – Residents from the rural areas of South Dundas had windmills and a Lakeshore Drive grain terminal on their mind during the second all-candidates meeting in the municipality.
Roughly 200 people were at Matilda Hall to hear from the candidates running for council, deputy mayor and mayor on Tuesday night.
The candidates tackled a number of audience questions on agriculture, roads, economic development, social housing and the waterfront plans for Morrisburg and Iroquois.
But the bulk of the questions were over concerns about windmills.
First up were the nine candidates for three council seats.
Candidate Marc St. Pierre suggested the municipality should have a voice at all levels of government when it comes to potential wind and solar power projects.
Candidate Phillip Blancher says the politicians need to listen to the people. “You need to listen and respect their wishes. You protest…you don’t go and settle road use agreements (with a wind power company). You don’t agree to (solar) tile farm land.”
But candidate Robert Gillard says you can’t fight hard with the province when you’re asking for money for projects. “You step on their toes and they push back pretty hard,” Gillard said. He admits the windmills are “not a beautiful site” and suggested the previous administration started too late in fighting their arrival.
Candidate Bert Geertsma says the windmills are an “eyesore” and South Dundas needs to take a stand.
The three candidates for deputy mayor – Jim Locke, Del Jones and Carl McIntyre – and the two for mayor – incumbent Steven Byvelds and Evonne Delegarde – found the windmill concerns coming around again.
South Dundas resident Cindy Peters wondered what would happen to the money coming from EDP Renewables for the Brinston wind power project (The company is cutting a cheque for $30,000 a year for the next 20 years for a community benefit fund).
“My hope is a committee would be formed and you would tell us where to spend that money,” said mayoral incumbent Byvelds. “Give us some ideas.” Delegarde agreed and assured the audience the money is being kept in a reserve account to be used strictly for the Brinston-area for community projects.
The mayoral and deputy-mayoral candidates were also peppered with concerns over the building of a grain terminal on the UTI terminal on Lakeshore Drive. One woman described the construction at the site saying there was a huge hole in ground. “Why isn’t there a security fence? I am concerned,” she said. Deputy mayoral candidate Jim Locke vowed to get to the bottom of the problem first thing Wednesday morning. Locke questioned why the project was even moving ahead.
Another debate will be held Monday Oct. 20 at 6 p.m. at the Iroquois Civic Center.