Turbine control belongs with municipalities: Sylvia Jones

Queens Park, Toronto

Orangeville Banner

If Dufferin-Caledon MPP Sylvia Jones gets her way, the province will hand planning control of wind turbines back to municipalities.  

The local Progressive Conservative introduced a private member’s bill on Monday (April 12) aimed at amending the Green Energy Act (GEA) to do just that.

“I think it’s critically important that local councils, municipal councils have the right to control and influence what happens within their communities,” Jones said.

“We do not have a cookie-cutter society in Ontario and we shouldn’t. Our communities are unique and if municipal councils and municipal elected officials see the need for influencing planning controls, then that’s what should be allowed.”

Prior to the GEA, which was put in place last year, municipalities had control over zoning and official plan approvals that could be used to place restrictions on where turbines could be located.

Municipalities were also able to negotiate amenity agreements with project developers that resulted in annual financial contributions for host communities.

The Ministry of the Environment now has authority over the approvals process. Municipalities are, however, allowed to weigh-in as a commenting agency on each proposed project.

Numerous municipal councils across Ontario have spoken out against their loss of planning authority, including several in Dufferin.

“We’re aware of the concerns of municipalities,” said Minister of Energy and Infrastructure Brad Duguid. “We have to, on behalf of Ontarians and on behalf of our generation, be prepared to move forward with green energy alternatives.”

The goal of the GEA, he added, is to bring renewable energy projects on-stream and help the government meet its goal of eliminating coal-fired power production by 2014. Along the way, the act is expected to create 50,000 jobs in the green energy sector.

“We remain committed to (eliminating coal power). The challenge that we have now is to ensure we don’t let processes get in the way of moving forward in a responsible manner,” Duguid said.

“We know that coal is the single largest contributor to greenhouse gases in Ontario. There’s no question that it is harming the health of ourselves and will harm the health, if we stick with it, of our kids and future generations.”

Jones’ bill received first reading this week; it’s not yet known when it will be up for second reading. If successful at second reading, her bill will be sent to a committee for public input and to hold public hearings.

“I anticipate it will make Liberal members who have been hearing the same kind of issues in their riding uncomfortable and have to defend their position as to why they’ve taken away municipal control,” the opposition MPP said. “Do I think that they’re suddenly going to all see the light and vote for my private member’s bill? …Time will tell.”

Duguid wouldn’t speculate on the chances of Jones’ bill receiving full approval, other than to state it doesn’t have his support.

“They do from time to time come to fruition, but it’s not too often,” he said of private member’s bills. “The positive thing about private members’ bills is they generate debate and discussion. I’m sure this bill will.”

4 thoughts on “Turbine control belongs with municipalities: Sylvia Jones

  1. WOW! – Can we get an environment minister who knows something…….anything about the environment!

    Coal is not the single largest contributior to GHG in Ontario – for cryin’ out loud, electricity production is not even the largest contributor to GHG in Ontario. Who is this guy trying to kid?

    Transportation and Industry far out-distance electricity generation in GHG production in this province.

    Geez, even I know this and I am not even a parliamentary assistant.

    Perhaps Liberal Cabinet Ministers (although it is beginning to appear that this is less partisan than I would hope) should have to pass a basic knowledge test before they are ever again given control of Billion Dollar budgets and the lives of millions of citizens.

    Obviously Clown college just didn’t prepare the majority of these folks for life under the Big Top!

  2. This is an opportunity for the Ontario Liberal Government to correct a HUGE mistake that they have made…if they don’t compromise on this issue they will pay a serious political penalty next election…

  3. I agree Quixote, we need to ask each and every council member to make known where they stand on the issues and also every politician in every party. Our large numbers have a lot of clout and we are growing more and more each month! I think there should have been more exposure of the protest in Belgium, as many people seem to believe that all is well in Europe and use that as an example of how lovely Turbines are. One blogger at CBC said “If wind turbines make people sick then where are all the bodies?” At least 3 bloggers said they hope all us old people will just die and get out of the way of technology we don’t understand! That is very scary stuff. I read all 13 comments and the miss information was dis heartening. I think we need to pool our money from each group and hire good PR people to get the truth out. See you at Queens Park. I will be proud to put my name on my sign!

Comments are closed.