Chris Fell, Staff www.simcoe.com
To say that opposition to industrial wind turbines invading our rural landscape is growing would be an understatement.
Several municipalities in Grey and Bruce counties are now pondering the possibility of challenging the McGuinty government’s draconian Green Energy Act through the Canadian Charter of Rights of Freedoms.
I hope every municipality in both counties – including the counties themselves – get on board with this possibility. If they all combine their resources, a legitimate challenge is possible. There is strength in numbers and it has to happen now – before these industrial installations destroy our rural countryside.
Since the Premier of Ontario demolished the land use planning rights of municipalities by passing the Green Energy Act, municipalities that want to preserve their rural landscapes and stop an industrial invasion of the natural environment must look for other options to stop these projects.
Grey Highlands council has already tabled a road agreement that would allow the wind energy company that wants to put 11 turbines in the southern end of Osprey Township.
This is exactly what local municipalities must do since their planning authorities were removed by the government.
Municipalities must look at every bylaw, every provincial/federal statute and every other regulation on the books for ways to stop these projects.
In layman’s terms: municipalities have to learn how to cheat. To use a more sporting term: they need to find some grey areas in the rule book.
If turning down the road agreement stops the process – great. If municipalities are really serious about protecting their citizens they have to examine every single option available to them.
Can special development charges for these proposals be implemented? Who will pay for their decommissioning in years to come?
Can special building fees be implemented, for tighter controls over these kinds of things?
Since the projects propose industrial uses in rural/agricultural areas perhaps a special “industrial road toll” can be put in place to ensure the municipality’s roads are kept in top shape.
Are there old height restrictions on the books? Are there any bylaws on the books governing towers with moving parts (remember, small windmills used to be ubiquitous on family farms of years gone by)? Maybe there are even some old, hand-written bylaws from 1854 that are relevant.
The point is, the province made this a dirty fight by quashing the planning authority municipalities are charged with. Those planning authorities were designed to be fair and to protect the public
Mr. McGuinty shouldn’t be surprised when municipalities look under every rock, search through every file cabinet and read every bylaw book to find other ways to protect their citizens.