By Mac Christie, Times-Advocate Staff
VARNA – Bluewater municipal council received comments from the Bluewater Heritage Advisory Committee about NextEra Energy’s Heritage Assessment Report for the proposed Bluewater Wind Farm at its regular council meeting June 18.
A report, presented by committee chairperson Dave MacLaren, provided multiple recommendations and concerns the committee holds regarding NextEra’s report.
“Our biggest concern was with regard to process,” said MacLaren, noting the committee had difficulty whittling down its observations and concerns. “The fact that the heritage committee was not consulted as part of the heritage report, seemed to us to be (a problem).”
The committee listed six recommendations regarding the Heritage Assessment report, including that all renewable energy projects be required to notify all municipal heritage advisory committees and councils when heritage assessment reports are being prepared and that their input be included in the reports.
The committee also suggested the entire municipality be included in the report, since the village of Bayfield, Zurich, as well as Lake Huron are not taken into account as heritage features.
Among other recommendations, the committee suggested that the report acknowledged that the cultural heritage landscape of Bluewater will be forever changed by the development.
Stanley West Coun. George Irvin said he agreed with everything in the report, adding it’s unfortunate heritage designations don’t include the lake.
Other council notes:
Bylaw to be repealed
Council decided to bring back information to repeal a bylaw from 1965 that allowed for “transient traders,” such as a food cart, to be placed in Bayfield.
Coun. Geordie Palmer said because of the age of the bylaw and in fairness to other established vendors, it should be repealed.
Councillor-at-Large Tyler Hessel said since there at least eight empty stores in Bayfield as is, there is plenty of space for people to go.
“Transient merchants, I believe is not something Bayfield is looking for,” said Hessel. “They don’t want to be a Grand Bend, they don’t want to be a Southhampton.”
Hessel, who owns a business in Bayfield, noted there was a petition signed by almost every business on Main Street Bayfield stating they don’t want transient businesses.
The issue was before council because Joseph Rapai was applying for a transient permit for a Gelato Vending Machine, but withdraw his request since he found permanent premises.
Zurich Coun. Janisse Zimmerman asked staff to look for similar bylaws related to other areas of the municipality.
Bike path denied
Council received a letter from the Ministry of Transportation denying fully-paved shoulders on Highway 21 for the purpose of a bike path.
Council had passed a resolution asking the ministry to consider paving the entire shoulder on the highway from Huron Road 83 to Hendrick Road when the highway is resurfaced.
Instead, the ministry suggested that cyclists should use parallel roadways where there is left traffic.
Bluewater CAO Steve McAuley said the ministry had indicated the Huron County bike path. He also said it was suggested that the ministry felt there was a lack of input from the public.
Council passed a motion that staff draft a letter to the Minister of Transportation regarding the correspondence from the ministry disagreeing with the decision not to pave the shoulders.
Farm building concerns
Council discussed a letter from the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office concerning the use of farm buildings for “assembly occupancy.”
Assembly occupancy means using a building for a gathering of people, such as for a dance or wedding.
According to the letter buildings used for this purpose must meet fire safety requirements in building and fire code. If one of the buildings were used to hold such events the owner would have to contact the local building official to find out if a Change of Use permit was required.
Deputy Mayor Paul Klopp said he hasn’t had anyone complain to him about holding events in farm buildings.
“I don’t like it,” he said of the letter. “I’d like to find out where all these concerns are and who’s been raising them.”
He noted it came up at Huron County council recently, adding the letter would refer to anyone having a party or someone has a farm sale in the barn.
Stanley East Coun. Dave Roy agreed, noting the way it’s written up would prevent having a 4-H club.
“If you have a 4-H club and you have 20 kids in your barn, you’re in trouble,” he said.
Council passed a resolution directing staff to find out what other local municipalities are doing in regards to the issue before moving forward.