Don’t dictate energy plan

The Barrie Examiner

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty is clearly floating a trial balloon through the wind-turbine community with his NIMBY message.

‘Not in my backyard’ isn’t a reason for blocking new energy projects that will be tolerated by Queen’s Park when its Green Energy Act is rolled out, the premier says.

McGuinty told a London audience the legislation will include provisions to stop special interest groups, or municipal governments, from trying to block green energy projects for anything other than safety or environmental concerns.

He says the province hopes to create 50,000 new jobs from green energy projects, and that he’s convinced Ontario residents want those jobs in their communities, which means being a willing host to giant wind turbines or solar panel farms.

Maybe, maybe not.

There’s no question that most Canadians understand the need for less reliance on nuclear energy. Canadians get that. The question is where to put new energy projects, a concern Barrie residents know all too well.

Opposition was long and loud to building an ethanol plant at the city’s former Molson brewery. Residents were never convinced it wouldn’t smell bad and foul the air and water. City council, acting on these concerns, threw up roadblocks that essentially ban ethanol plants in Barrie.

The proponent, Northern Ethanol, eventually withdrew its application to the province to operate a plant.

Now city politicians and staff are working their way through a policy on wind turbines. A public meeting is to be scheduled on a policy that could allow turbines of various sizes in most parts of the city, except for the downtown and lakeshore areas.

But city councillors have already expressed concerns about a landscape dotted with wind turbines, and that the policy cannot be too permissive.

These concerns are not limited to Barrie. In Innisfil, there are fears about a proposed wind turbine farm along Highway 400. If approved, it would connect to a 44-kilovolt grid on Innisfil’s 5th Sideroad, requiring feeder lines and a substation.

There are concerns about the noise from turbines, the shadow flicker from its blades and how it will affect area property values. Not to mention five, 390-foot-high turbines on 200 acres of agricultural land.

Are these the type of NIMBY roadblocks McGuinty is talking about? Or are they safety and/or environmental concerns, which the premier says will be considered as legitimate reasons for a roadblock?

The premier has said the Green Energy Act will have rigorous safety and env i ro n m e n t a l s t a n d a rd s , but there are few details at this point. All of which makes things confusing for Ontario residents who might or might not want wind turbines, biofuel plants and solar panels in or near their backyards.

McGuinty and the Liberals can rail all they want about the NIMBY crowd, but there are many unknowns about new energy projects and what they will mean to our urban and rural communities.

It’s not fair to people who’ve lived in their homes for years to have their peace and quiet, or their sunlight or their fresh air adversely affected.

If the province wants to dictate where these energy plants are located, they had better be sure it’s OK with the neighbours.

The next Ontario election isn’t that far away.

2 thoughts on “Don’t dictate energy plan

  1. McQuinty says 50,000 new jobs,where is he getting his figures from ? Canwea’s own Wind vision 2025 for Canada claims 55,000 MW will give us 52,000 jobs,for all of Canada! They usually have rosy numbers,but I think Dalton’s are pie in the sky.I bet very few of them are for more than 6 months.Ontario is only expecting 10,000 MW by 2020

  2. Right now there is enough information out there that is not being considered by the government just so they can look green. The documentation of the health affects from the wind turbines. Why should people being forced from their homes because of the turbines. People in our area that are wanting to host the wind turbines are trusting the wind companies and believing what they say because the person that come to the door was honest. With the promises of money to help things out with the way they live. If they would really take a look at the way they have lived they would see that things have not being to bad at all. They are only looking at the green that is going in their wallets. They are not taking into consideration the fact that their neighbours could be affected. This lady is telling the ones who don’t like the view that we have four or five other options because our necks are on a swivel. This is not very neighbourly to have no consideration for those who live around you.

    Good Neighbours Don’t Host 400 foot Wind Turbines

    If this is the direction that the government has decided to go then why are they placing these wind turbines next to people? There are thousands of acres of crown land available next to major transmission lines going to Toronto where there are no people living next to them to be affected.
    One has to start to wonder what the real goal is of the government. Is this the way to force Rural Ontario into the city? If they can’t stand to live there then they will move on their own. The landowners who are hosting these wind turbines maybe should be watch the wolf wearing the sheep clothing.

    Remember there are lots of you that are signed on for the wind turbines that had signs in your yards that said Back Off Government. Maybe the government finally has got what they were after in the first place.
    So lets all get together on this thing and protect our selves our neighbours and our future generations that will have to clean up our mistakes of today.

    (Keep Wind Turbines Away From People)

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