David Cooper, Toronto Star
87% of the land in the Province of Ontario is "Crown Land"- owned by the government. They decided to open some of it up for wind power, and set a deadline of 8AM February 20th. There used to be a limit on the number of applications that one company can make, but there were too many shell companies being set up so the government removed that limit and set up a first-come, first served system. Result: one company, SkyPower, parks line-sitters in sleeping bags days in advance, much like a Spice Girls concert or a Toronto condo launch. A few minutes before the office opens, a car arrives with at least two hundred applications for the line-sitters to hand in. The result? A possible monopoly for one company.
Peter Gorrie writes in the Star: "No one is suggesting SkyPower did anything illegal or unethical. Criticism centres on the government policy and a result that few appear to have foreseen.
"I don't think anyone anticipated someone would submit a large number of applications," says [another applicant] Pundsack.
SkyPower president Kerry Adler says with evident pride that his company did, indeed, grab the front of the line and "made a large number of applications ... We took advantage of a great opportunity, as everyone had an opportunity to do." Neither he nor the ministry would reveal how many applications SkyPower filed or how much land they cover.
A team of 12 company staff spent a long time scouting sites, Adler says. Before the opening, "several members of our management team spent the night in parkas and sleeping bags. Whether we secured the windiest areas, that's competition at its finest."
It seems to us that in this computer age there has to be a better way to deal with this than having people sleep on sidewalks in the middle of winter. ::The Star