The Town of The Blue Mountains will invite a representative from TC Energy to a future council meeting to discuss the company’s proposed pumped storage energy project in Meaford.

At its meeting on Jan. 29, council passed a resolution to invite TC Energy’s Project Director John Mikkelsen to present at a future council meeting.

The invitation comes after Mikkelson wrote council a letter in which he expressed concerns about council’s decision to support a resolution from the Township of Archipelago that opposes the pumped storage proposal. Council voted in favour of the Archipelago resolution at a meeting in December 2023.

“We are concerned with the content of the Township of Archipelago’s resolution and believe it is important that you hear from us directly. From the start of project development, TC Energy has worked hard to earn the trust and support of local communities, Indigenous Nations and project partners,” Mikkelsen said in the letter.

The controversial pumped storage project has been proposed on military lands owned by the federal government in Meaford.

The project would involve building a 375-acre reservoir dam, elevated from the shoreline. Electric pumps at water level would pull water from the bay with intake pipes far from the shore, and send it up to the reservoir during off-peak hours when demand for electricity is low. Later, when the demand on the grid increases, the water would be released back into the bay by gravity, generating power for the grid.

The proposal is currently working its way through the federal and provincial approvals processes.

After receiving the letter from Mikkelsen, Coun. Paula Hope suggested he be invited to attend a future council meeting to make a presentation. Coun. Gail Ardiel also suggested that the council for Archipelago be invited to participate in a joint meeting.

“It’s very important to engage in dialogue with TC Energy,” said Hope.

CAO Shawn Everitt said the town had been in touch with representatives from TC Energy and said the company would be willing to make a presentation to council.

“They’re more than happy to come to a future meeting,” said Everitt.

However, the CAO said a joint meeting with Archipelago would complicate the proceedings.

“Logistically, it’s not an easy thing to do,” Everitt said.

Ultimately, in a 5-1 vote, council passed a resolution to invite Mikkelsen to a future meeting and to notify Archipelago that it was welcome to watch. Deputy Mayor Peter Bordignon opposed the resolution and Coun. Alex Maxwell was absent.

Bordignon said the resolution was not necessary and said council had already made a decision when it supported the Archipelago resolution opposing the project.

“I’m not sure to what end this resolution gets us to,” he said. “Why are we inviting them when they can come at any time? We’re having a lot of discussion on something we’ve already come to a resolution on.”

By Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jan 30, 2024 at 10:36

This item reprinted with permission from   Collingwood, Ontario

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