Dunlop and PCs calling for moratorium on wind energy projects

Liberals Green Energy Act under fire

By Jennifer Burden  The Orillia Packet & Times

“It’s absolutely ridiculous,” McMillan said, adding that the process is undemocratic. “If you can’t evaluate and judge as elected representatives of the people, we’re losing our basic rights.”

The Progressive Conservatives will be tabling a motion at Queen’s Park on Wednesday asking the Liberal government to restore green energy planning decisions to municipalities.

Under the Green Energy Act, which was established in 2009, the province established parameters that made it easier for green energy proponents to further projects without consulting municipalities in an attempt to avoid delay tactics, Simcoe North MPP Garfield Dunlop said recently.

“What we want is all planning responsibilities happening at the local level,” Dunlop said. “It’s not transparent at all.”

The motion is also calling for a moratorium on all new wind projects in the province until a comprehensive, independent, peer-reviewed scientific study can confirm that such projects do not pose a health risk to the communities in which they are located.

“We have been inundated with people from across Ontario opposed to wind energy projects,” Dunlop said.

The Progressive Conservatives are taking advantage of one of four Opposition Days available during this legislative sitting to force debate on the issue.

“Basically, it’s a chance for the opposition to put a motion through to debate it,” Dunlop said. “It will do what parliament is supposed to do — debate about it.”

Dunlop is more concerned with the part of the motion calling for a restoration of decision- making to the municipalities, rather than a moratorium on wind projects because Orillia doesn’t have as high of a wind-energy potential as other parts of the province, he said.

But, earlier in April, The Packet & Times reported on seven large solar-panel projects in Oro-Medonte and Severn townships being awarded to a U.S firm without the municipalities knowing about the projects.

“It’s not fair to the municipalities and it’s not fair to the residents,” Dunlop said, adding that the process is taking a step away from transparency.

The Liberal government was questioned on Tuesday at Queen’s Park about bypassing municipalities when it comes to industrial wind projects.

“Can you tell me, acting premier why have you made it so Ontario families have no say about industrial wind projects in their own backyard?” Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Murdoch asked.

Minster of Energy and Infrastructure Brad Duguid responded: “Mr. Speaker, that’s simply not the case. There are numerous opportunities for public input and involvement in the renewable projects…The proponent of the project must, must consult with the municipality and community. It’s not an option they have to consult with the municipality and they have to consult with the community…This is a thorough process.”

He added that the current process cuts back on red tape, ensuring action takes place with green energy projects.

Orillia city councillor Maurice McMillan said under the Green Energy Act, municipalities are subject to the province telling them what’s in their area of jurisdiction, citing the awarding of solar panel projects in Oro-Medonte and Severn as examples.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous,” McMillan said, adding that the process is undemocratic. “If you can’t evaluate and judge as elected representatives of the people, we’re losing our basic rights.”

jburden@orilliapacket.com

2 thoughts on “Dunlop and PCs calling for moratorium on wind energy projects

  1. Why has it taken a full year for Councils to voice outrage that Democracy in Ontario has been dead since May 2009?

    When elections occur in October we may just want to vote someone into our Municipality that reads a newspaper once in a while!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. It really won’t help to restore green energy planning decisions to municipalities if every time the Wind companies don’t like the decisions, they threaten them with a OMB hearing. Councils just cave, knowing they can’t win

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