By Kevin J. Sabo
For the Advance
The County of Paintearth Council received a delegation from the Paintearth Wind Project during their Dec. 3rd meeting.
The 42-tower, 150-megawatt project in a region of the County southwest of Castor has been in the works since its initial application to the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) in 2017.
During the planning stages of the project, Paintearth Wind LP was working with landowners that would be affected by the project and in 2018 when an agreement could not be reached with all stakeholders, a request was made by the company to pause the project.
The AUC granted the pause, and the project sat in limbo while the project worked with the stakeholders.
“We recently compromised with the last landowner,” said Dan Tocher, the stakeholder relations manager for the project during his update to council.
“We haven’t been oppositional; we’re very much interested in collaborating with all stakeholders.”
With the compromise reached, Paintearth Wind LP notified the AUC via letter on Nov. 1st that the consultation with the stakeholders had concluded, and to resume the application process.
“The application for the project is now being reassessed,” said Tocher.
“We’re expecting permits in the next month or two.”
The project, if approved, is projected to start construction in the second quarter of 2021, being fully operational by the fourth quarter of the same year.
Paintearth Wind LP has been a supporter in the community, supporting the Halkirk Bull-a-rama, for around the last decade, and plans to earmark around $25,000 a year for other community initiatives once operational.
“Paintearth Wind is always interested in getting into the community, anywhere in the County,” said Tocher.
Other highlights of the Dec. 3rd council meeting:
• County Resident Marilyn Weber was appointed to the Weed & Pesticide Appeal board for a one-year term, ending in October 2020.
• County administration continued “house-cleaning” from the Municipal Accountability Review, this time requesting council approve the 2018 audited financial statement instead of just accepting it as information.
• The gravel crushing has concluded at Lone Pine, and council has given Public Works permission to begin hauling away from the site, taking advantage of the good weather. Public Works expects the gravel haul to take around 40 days to conclude and is coming out of the 2020 budget.
• Council has agreed to pay the $630 for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities membership for 2020.
• Council has approved the 2020 interim budget. The budget will see the County spending around $13.8 million in 2020, down 1.26 per cent from 2019 levels. This budget reflects $3.3 million for capital projects and $10.4 million on public works spending. The final budget will be approved in the spring.
• Council has approved $5,527 for the 2020 draft budget for Coronation Memorial Library. The Coronation Memorial Library did request $7,500 for the year.
• County administration has received a letter from Deputy Minister of Municipal Affairs notifying the County that they are satisfied with the actions and timelines presented to correct the legislative shortfalls found during the Municipal Accountability Review.
The County has until October 2020 to correct all the legislative gaps found in the review.