Monday, 23 April 2012

More on the Kenney vs. MPAC case

This is a guest blog entry by Roger Short

It appears that some people are never satisfied, no matter how fair the outcome, nor how much they irritate (former) friends while costing them and others in the process.

The issue has to do with a retired couple, both former Civil Servants, who objected to wind turbines on Wolfe Island a couple of years after start up.

They asserted that their property had suffered devaluation as a direct consequence of the turbines being installed (strictly according to regulations, by the way).  They then raised a formal complaint against The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation and the Township of Frontenac using Ontario's Assessment Review Board and asked for their property assessment, and thereby taxes, be reduced.

The finding after considerable investigation, was that  the current value of the property was fair and consistent.

A day or two after the decision, one of the complainants was interviewed on CBC radio on the matter.  He repeated that the hearing was biased, that the defendants had each used high-powered lawyers to make their case and that he was left with little support.

Specifically, as part of his rationale, he asserted along the lines, "....well, properties always go up, don't they?"

During the radio interview, it was evident that he was devoid of solid facts to make his case. There was plenty of subjective opinion, but without any consideration of the large body of independent expert work supporting the view that real estate valuations are unaffected.

The complainants apparently had it in mind for years, and had been opposed to the Project as part of a small group of Opponents.  In this instance they had insisted on getting a letter stating that their taxes would be reduced, and that the cause was the Wind Turbines. 

As part of the appeal process, before the decision was handed down, a specific noise study was carried out.   We have learned that over an 8 week period, the results confirmed the noise model information and that the level was 37dBA.

What was left unsaid was that it cost the Township $40,000 in expenses, while it cost the defendants  virtually nothing.  When asked in the same interview what they planned to do next, he replied along the lines of, "we'll probably appeal, it will only cost $150 to file and try again".

What this suggests is that they have estranged former friends, cost the Township time and money, ignored what "a reasonable person" might have accepted, and are all set to waste more public time and money, regardless of its merits but probably rather to quell their frustration.

You be the judge.


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