Suncor takes Ont. town to court over wind turbines

Wind turbines are pictured near Watford, Ont., in this February 7, 2013 file photo. (HEATHER...

Wind turbines are pictured near Watford, Ont., in this February 7, 2013 file photo. (HEATHER WRIGHT/QMI Agency)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:10 PM ET

SARNIA, Ont. — Suncor wants an Ontario town to quash bylaws that prohibit wind turbine development which is permitted by Ontario's Environmental Protection Act.

Plympton-Wyoming's has a series of bylaws pertaining to wind energy projects, including that turbines be built at least two kilometres from residents -- higher than the 550-metre setback currently required by the province -- and that wind companies pay a $200,000 deposit per turbine to ensure each one is taken down at the end of its lifespan.

About 30 protesters showed up at the hearing for Suncor's application against the town, which got underway Wednesday in Sarnia Superior Court and is scheduled to continue for a full day.

A Suncor lawyer told the court that an identical bylaw was ruled invalid by a different Superior Court as vague and uncertain in its definition of property.

Suncor has plans to erect up to 46 wind turbines in Plympton-Wyoming and neighbouring Lambton Shores and Warwick Township.

The lawsuit may have a far-reaching impact across the province. Aside from quashing the Town of Plympton-Wyoming's bylaws, it is also asking the court to declare that all town bylaws "have no legal application to renewable energy undertaking."

The lawyer representing Plympton-Wyoming, located about 260 km southwest of Toronto, intends to argue the Suncor application is premature.

The town's submissions are expected to be heard later in the day.

It is believed to be just the second time an Ontario municipality has been taken to court by a wind developer.

In October 2012, a wind developer successfully sued the Township of Wainfleet over that municipality's two-kilometre setback bylaw. Last April, a Superior Court of Ontario judge also ruled against the township.


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