Solar farm proposal can go ahead despite no South Dundas support

SunEdison is proposing a ground-mounted solar farm, similar to this one, for a piece of land on County Road 1, south of Glen Stewart in South Dundas. The municipality has been asked to support the project, prompting it to revisit its 2013 resolution on being a non-willing host on wind power. Some councillors wonder whether it should apply to all green energy projects. (Photo/SunEdison)

SOUTH DUNDAS – A proposed ground-mount solar project didn’t get South Dundas council support but that doesn’t stop the developer from going ahead.

SunEdison wants to build a 500 kilowatt (0.5 megawatt) green energy project would be built at 4278 County Road 1 in the former Township of Matilda. It would be anywhere from four to 10 acres on land the township said is not farmable.

It was hoping to get a municipal council support resolution Tuesday night, which would give the company so-called “priority points” or preferential scoring in its Feed In Tariff (FIT) application.

Council voted it down despite a recommendation to approve it by staff.

“Well, I see it going ahead but we still haven’t decided whether we’re a willing participant for wind and this is part and parcel as far as I’m concerned, I can’t support it,” Coun. Bill Ewing said.

Under provincial law (Green Energy Act), projects are exempt from the Ontario Planning Act, the United Counties Official Plan and municipal zoning. The only thing required is building permits.

Coun. Archie Mellan supported it and said he sided with the individual landowner’s right to do what he wants with his property. “Quite frankly I don’t see we have any business trying to stop them,” Mellan said.

Coun. Marc St. Pierre also said he was not a fan of the Green Energy Act. “I see solar panels all over the place, I see turbines all over the place….and my rates (electricity bills) keep going up and up and up,” he stated.

Mayor Evonne Delegarde was also against the support resolution but explained that it doesn’t stop SunEdison from still making an application to the Ontario government.

Attempts to contact SunEdison requesting comment, which has until Thursday (July 30) to submit its application, have not been successful.

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