On July 21, council supported Arran-Elderslie Township’s bylaw that calls for the protection of life, liberty and security of person under Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, claiming wind turbines cause serious health effects.
The letter to Pickering from the chief administrative officer said council is “not opposed to ‘green energy’ projects per se, however we wish to promote their use in a responsible manner to benefit, or at least, to do no harm to any individual by such use.”
Toronto Hydro is currently undergoing studies to install a string of up to 60 wind turbines along Lake Ontario from Scarborough to Ajax.
In 2009, provincial Green Energy Act provisions removed the municipal approval process for renewable energy projects and replaced it with provincial approval, but municipalities still have a say in the health, safety and well-being of its residents.
Ward 2 City Councillor Doug Dickerson noted there are different schools of thought on whether wind turbines negatively impact health.
“If the jury’s still out, one must err on the side of caution,” he said.
Ward 1 City Councillor Jennifer O’Connell said she supported the bylaw not because of health concerns, but because of the close proximity of the turbines to communities, and noted the bylaw was fair and balanced.
“I think it’s a good position for us to take,” said Coun. O’Connell.
Ward 2 Regional Councillor Bill McLean, who’d just returned from a conference on the Great Lakes, said this “hits the nail on the head” in reference to needing a strong environmental review process when dealing with the Great Lakes.
Ward 1 Regional Councillor Bonnie Littley said it makes sense to ensure environmental and consultation processes are in place, but noted it’s time to make the move to climate change and other green initiatives.