SCUGOG: The newly-elected council of Scugog Township received their first swing at the Illumination LP solar power farm near Purple Hill on Monday, Feb. 9, inside Council Chambers.
Scugog Mayor Tom Rowett and ward councillors received a letter which confirmed the Province of Ontario’s approval of the project, after a lengthy trial. Shovels are expected to hit the dirt at the site in March of this year.
The property, located along Regional Road 19 (Shirley Rd. and Russell Rd.) has been sought as the site for a ten megawatt solar farm by solar energy developers since the summer of 2011.
Canadian Solar, the most recent proponent of the project, was informed by the previous terms Council that the proposed site went against Scugog’s official plan - as it would mean the destruction of protected prime agricultural lands.
After reaching a tentative agreement with the council-of-the-day, which afforded the Township extensive safety measures and revenue, the project was dropped by Skypower and taken on by Canadian Solar - who declined to enter a similar agreement.
Instead, Canadian Solar has offered the Township solar panels and equipment, which would generate 30 kilowatts of solar power - and earn the Township approximately $225,000 over the next 20 years. Also, the Township will be given a preferred customer rate on any future solar equipment which they may wish to purchase.
After a staff study, the Township of Scugog has determined that target-sites for the supplied solar panels include both the Caesarea and Port Perry fire halls, the Perry St. municipal offices, and Scugog Arena on Reach St.
The budget meetings, which will decide where the solar panels are constructed, are currently underway and will be finalized by March 30.
The Community Liason Committee for the project, a group of environmentally concerned citizens which aims to voice the concerns of the public, has requested that Council attempt to reach a better compensation deal, and advocate for the protection of local roads and bird habitats.
Scugog Council decided to receive the letter for informational purposes, and to draft a response at a later date.