Central Elgin councillors on Monday, Aug. 16, rejected an appeal to reconsider charging rent to a weather-forecasting business if it wanted to place a weather station on municipal property in Port Stanley harbour.
Earlier this year, Weatherflow told councillors that the station would play an important role in reporting and predicting weather in the Port Stanley area, since other monitoring stations were miles away and the village had a microclimate of its own.
Councillors agreed, but imposed an annual $2,500 rental fee for the use of municipal property.
At the Aug. 16 meeting, Darin Higgon of Port Stanley appealed that decision.
He wrote that Environment and Climate Change Canada did not have funding for more monitoring stations, and relied increasingly on such privately-owned weather stations to provide local and marine forecasts.
“Our local reports and forecasts are extrapolated from stations far away,” he argued.
Local boaters, commercial fishing operations and other water users could benefit from a more accurate forecast, he said.
Weatherflow had agreed to consider a rental fee of $600 a year, a compromise considering it did so in only one other case for its stations across North America, he added.
Mayor Sally Martyn observed that council had already made a decision on this issue.
Mr. Higgon didn’t think the company would proceed now, given the price.
But even at $2,500 municipal staff didn’t feel Central Elgin’s costs would be covered, said Mayor Martyn.
Councillor Fiona Wynn said Weatherflow charged a subscription fee to its customers, and that price should be high enough to cover costs such as rental of station space.
Cr. Dennis Crevits said unless a councillor wanted to move reconsideration of the original decision, council should move onto other business.
That was what happened.
Rob Perry, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Aylmer Express