By Paul Jansowski, Owen Sound Sun Times Staff
Grey County staffers are still investigating drawing up a bylaw that would protect residents from health effects of wind turbines.
“We’re doing our homework and polling what’s out there,” Lance Thurston, Grey’s chief administrative officer, told county council on Tuesday.
County staff was directed last month to investigate using Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms — which states “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice” — as a way to protect county residents from any adverse impact on their health as a result of “proximity to wind turbines.”
The move followed the introduction of a bylaw, since passed, by Arran-Elderslie. It uses Section 7 to require Health Canada and three provincial ministries to provide certificates confirming that any wind generation facility built there “will benefit, or will not harm, the health, safety and well-being” of residents before a building permit for a turbine is issued.
“We’ve looked at the bylaw . . . we talked at the western Ontario’s wardens’ caucus CAO meeting what other municipalities or counties are doing,” Thurston said when Kevin Eccles asked about the staff’s progress. “We’re not at a point where we’re ready to make any recommendations to council or committee.”
The Arran-Elderslie bylaw aims to trump Ontario’s Green Energy Act, which stripped municipalities of any control over where wind farm sites could be built. It states, however, that its intent is not to “prevent or restrict” wind generation, but rather to promote their use “in a responsible manner.”