A vertical wind turbine located in Weyburn’s northeast corner will have to come down by mid-summer, city council decided on Monday evening, after receiving numerous letters of complaint from neighbours.
While stating support for green energy, council sided with neighbours and with a report from administration saying that wind turbines should not be allowed in residential neighbourhoods in the city.
The wind turbine was put up in 2010 by the owners, Dustin and Vanessa Storle, in the yard of their home on Brown Crescent.
A frustrated Coun. Rob Stephanson wanted more information, saying, “This was the step we missed. If we’re doing this fairly, we should have had this information in front of us before the decision was made, not after.”
Before the vote, he commented that he didn’t want to see a “rash” decision made, and asked if it was really a big deal if the decision waited until May or June, since with the weather Storle wouldn’t be able to remove it until then anyway.
Coun. Nancy Styles said from the research she had done on turbines, she did not feel a residential neighbourhood was an appropriate location for a turbine.
“I truly appreciate you want to be green … (but) I truly do not believe that this is an application for residential neighbourhoods,” she said.
Coun. Dick Michel said he understood in 2010 the turbine was allowed on a trial basis only, and on the basis of the feelings of the neighbours, he doesn’t feel the turbine belongs there.
“I personally would not want to see turbines in residential neighbourhoods. I do not think it suits the decor of a residential neighbourhood. I wouldn’t want to see them all over the city,” he said.
“I have nothing against windmills,” commented Coun. Laura Morrissette, noting her family is putting one up, but on a farm.
“There are just too many houses around this one. This just isn’t the place for them.”
As Storle is a grain producer, he asked for more time to be able to remove the turbine, and was given until July 30 to have it gone. In a letter to council, he indicated that the village of Lake Alma was receptive to have it relocated there.
City council gave final reading to a new bylaw governing portable signs in Weyburn, including a change making it separate from the city’s zoning bylaw.
Under the new bylaw, it will cost sign owners $75 for a yearly registration fee for each portable sign registered with the city.
Enforcement of the bylaw will be by a bylaw or police officer, and not by a staff of the planning and development department.
Head of the department, Martino Verhaeghe, told council that under the zoning bylaw, enforcement of the signs bylaw “involved a cumbersome court process”; with the new bylaw in place, there will be fines levied for breaches of city regulations without having to go through court; also, the license for the signs will be revoked if the registration fee is not paid for 90 days or over.