Big government knows best?

Wind power policy
By John O’Toole/The Scugog Standard

The McGuinty government had a great opportunity last week to reverse its previous approach and allow meaningful public consultations on its wind power policy. Unfortunately, they keep insisting ‘Big government knows best.’ Using their majority, the McGuinty government voted down a two-part resolution that called for:

1. A moratorium on all wind farm projects pending an independent comprehensive study of health and environmental impacts of industrial wind farms.

2. Restoring the planning authority governing wind farms to local municipalities.

Democratically elected local councils and staff are the best judge of what developments should be permitted in their own communities. The McGuinty government must stop trampling on the rights of municipalities and give them the final say over whether or not they host industrial wind farms. Sadly, there are many government MPPs who were essentially ordered not to break ranks or vote according to the wishes of their citizens on the question of wind farms.

It is this failure to listen to the advice and input of citizens and MPPs that caused the McGuinty government to flip-flop on its controversial sex education policy last month. This government’s failure to consult also meant cancellation of a review of the new healthcare bureaucracy, the Local Health Integration Networks (LHINS). It has led to the Harmonized Sales Tax and the dispute with Ontario’s pharmacists.

This government had a great opportunity to develop a plan for wind power that is fair to everyone, but they blew it!

Clarington is the site of two proposed industrial wind farms, according to an April 8 announcement from the McGuinty government on new energy projects. It is my understanding that the two different proponents of these wind projects have not spoken with the mayor or municipal planning department. I would like to thank the local residents who have taken the time to speak with me on this subject.

In addition to the lack of consultation on wind turbines in general, the information provided by the government in announcing 184 new projects can best be described as minimal.

What communities need is more details such as: the exact location of wind farms; estimated value of the development; the number of units; setbacks from neighbouring properties; location of power lines and roadways; value of building permits; number of jobs created; and more.

I will continue to press for information because it is our right to know the size and location of these proposals. I welcome your comments. I can be reached at 905-697-1501 or 1-800-661-2433 and by e-mail at john.otooleco@pc.ola.org.

5 thoughts on “Big government knows best?

  1. Fighting to gain back the rights for municipalities is important, I’ll admit, but what happens when the municipalities overlook the concerns of it’s residents and in turn allow themselves to be mislead by Big Wind’s (or other renewables) over pronounced assurances and claims. This is the reason why communities such as Shelburne, Goderich, Ripley, Chatham/Kent and now Essex are living with unwanted Industrial Wind projects. Unless municipalities take on the task of putting into place the necessary by-laws to protect it’s residents against excessive noise, lowered property values, decommissioning cost, and unique environmental requirements needed for their area, we are still doomed to see further wind development and more victims. Municipalities do not have the resources for all of this.

  2. Thank you John O’Toole, please please please, keep up the fight for us- So many people are being hurt by this arrogance- Our health, our wildlife, our “quiet country” dreams have been robbed and our equity that took a lifetime to build is lost, for a false green energy that reduces 0 emissions, in fact creates more emissions and will break our economy! 10 years from now we will have better technology- What is the big hurry to destroy rural lands all over Ontario- Decisions made in a panic are never good-

  3. FYI

    The weak kneed Norfolk Council egged on by an equally supine planning staff sold out its citizens ~ 5 years ago to AIM PowerGen/International Power Canada.

    The people who had the first batch of GE 1.5 sle Industrial Wind Turbines [IWT’s] erected in their neighbourhood were wealthy landowners who had poverty stricken farm labourers living in the houses dotted sparsely among the industrial farms left after the tobacco growing era in the Norfolk sand plains ended. The land owners live in their McMansions well separated from the effects of the IWT’s. Or, if they miscalculated the effects of the IWT’s on their homes within earshot, they speedily and surreptitiously moved their families out of harm’s way.

    Bouyed by the “successful” infiltration of the first 38 IWT’s into Norfolk County, the CEO of AIM/International Power and President of the Ontario Liberal Party managed a further incursion of 18 Vestas 1.65 MW IWT’s within a 3 km radius on the bedrock Clear Creek Ridge which extends into Lake Erie almost to the American shore. This cluster was ramped up in November of 2008.

    It is this cluster of 18 IWT’s within an enclave of ~ 140 houses which is causing adverse effects for > 70 people who signed a petition entreating Norfolk Council, Ontario MoE, MoE&I, MoHLTC, and Federal MoHealth, MoIndustry, MoNR for relief from the debilitating symptoms being caused by these unwanted industrial machines; all to no avail.

    Not all residents of the enclave are affected in the same way or to the same degree. The lucky, young, physically fit ones who can get away from the area every day for 10 to 12 hours or weekly for 3 to 4 days may be able to survive the lab rat conditions forced on us by AIM/International Power, but for the young who barely have the words to describe the sleep deprivation and other adverse effects or those who are bound to living in their homes 24/7/52, the prognosis is dire. For this last group, it may turn out to be a death watch.

    There is a Latin phrase which ends “…..we salute you”, that is to those who will have to continue the struggle for years to come.

    All the best.

  4. About 2 years ago when this family became engaged in the fight against IWT’s – I naively called upon many old friends and others for support.

    I have been (on and off) politcally engaged over the years and through these activities, made some friends and acquaintances, here and there.

    To my chagrin and great surprise – really without exception, they all (even my friends) remained silent when I asked for their help. The Green cone of silence (fear of being labeled NIMBY or anti-green) lowered itself with a vengeance.

    Like many, I also wrote the Premier, various Ministers and a number of other politicians including my own MPP and MP – and those of neighbouring ridings.

    The only person to respond was someone I had never met and with whom I was not acquainted – John O’Toole. He wrote me a personal letter which clearly showed he understood my concerns and was, at least, sympathetic. (I know, as my father says – that and a $1.50 will get you a cup of coffee!) however, at the time Mr. O’Toole’s letter arrived – it was very welcome and encouraging. He deserves to recognized for the effort – one that escaped all others.

    A couple of weeks later, Frank Klees actually called me to discuss these concerns and although we did not agree on every point – he once again shared many of my concerns and provided a much needed sense of support.

    Now – if only their Party would come right out and decry Industrial Wind Turbines as a legitimate answer to any energy needs – promise to revoke FIT (the energy Gold Rush in Ontario would come to a sudden and screeching halt!) and get rid of the Green Energy Act – in fact, start over with a safe, sensible and affordable energy policy that does not assail the average Ontario citizen – I think it would greatly improve their chances of forming the next Government.

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