Wellington residents want John Wilkinson to clarify statements

Minister of the Environment, John Wilkinson

Greg Layson, Guelph Mercury

GUELPH — Rural residents of Wellington County are demanding to know whether their municipal governments have the right to veto the development of wind farms.

Residents — and the opposition at Queen’s Park, as well — want provincial Environment Minister John Wilkinson to clarify statements he made on the record in May.

Five months ago, Wilkinson, who at the time was the Minister of Revenue, addressed Mapleton Township council. A resident asked him if there was anything the township could do to stop the proliferation of wind farms.

Wilkinson said a company’s application for a wind farm development must include the township’s signature for it to be complete.

Wilkinson was quoted as saying, “If the application is not complete, the project will not proceed.”

“I read that to mean the township’s signature meant something,” concerned Wellington County resident Laura Humphrey said in an interview. “What we want to know is, does the signature mean anything?”

Now, as Environment Minister, Wilkinson has said his ministry has final say on the development of wind farms and that municipalities only need to be “consulted” during a company’s application process.

“He’s made two very different statements about the approval process,” said Wellington-Halton Hills Tory MPP Ted Arnott, who raised the issue in the legislature on Oct. 4.

“We want a clear answer,” said Simcoe-Grey Tory MPP Jim Wilson.

On Tuesday, Wilson kept close watch over Premier Dalton McGuinty as the Liberal leader toured Melitron Corp. in Guelph to tout the province’s Green Energy Act.

Wilkinson’s press secretary, Grahame Rivers, tried to clarify the seemingly conflicting statements. Rivers said Wilkinson was referring to municipalities signing off on the fact that two public consultations had taken place as part of the application process.

“What does that consultation mean?” Humphrey asked.

Rivers said consultation is built into the application process and that requires wind farm proponents to identify the concerns of the municipalities and take measures to address those concerns. Companies proposing a wind farm must hold two public forums.

“Should there be outstanding concerns or forms or if the municipality doesn’t sign off on the consultation, a director from the Ministry of Environment will follow up and address outstanding concerns,” Rivers said.

“Speaking from personal experience, our community has written hundreds of well-researched letters to the wind companies because we were told to participate in the consultations,” Humphrey said. “The response from the wind farm companies has been that they are going to follow the provincial government guidelines and they want to move ahead.”

Rivers said the province ultimately decides on the approval of wind farms.

And McGuinty, flanked by Guelph MPP Liz Sandals, offered little hope to rural Ontario when asked why municipalities don’t have the right to veto wind farms.

“People want clean energy. What are we going to do?” he said while throwing up his arms after being pressed for an answer.

“People also want a reasonable level of input on a decision that affects their community,” Arnott said.

Humphrey said wind farms hinder health, tourism and the environment in rural Ontario.

Arnott has repeatedly said the government’s Green Energy Act has stripped municipalities of decision-making authority.

“Our party has stated if we form government we’ll restore power to municipal planning,” Arnott said.

7 thoughts on “Wellington residents want John Wilkinson to clarify statements

  1. Imagine a bunch of bureaucrats dictating that industrial wind towers, fully known to cause harm to surrounding life, can be placed at the will of developers. What knowledge of these machines do they have? They work in our Toronto offices. They don’t live amongst them. What background do they have that gives them the power to approve or not approve these projects?
    They are our employees. We pay them. The overwhelming response to mandatory “consultation” sessions say we don’t want them. Our evidence says they are harming families, enough that they have to abandon their homes.
    Ministers and employees attend proponent and lobbyist information forums and grand openings. Will they make an appearance at the health symposium to listen to world authorities speak on the adverse health aspects related to wind? Will they make an effort to update their information as they have promised in their 100’s of form letters received by Ontarians?

  2. The other reason that this guy got confused was that he is “new” at his “Bingo Calling Job” and didn’t have a CANWEA rep standing beside him telling him what to say!

  3. The truth will come out. Undeniable evidence will be brought forward to show that IWTs harm health. It is only a matter of time.

    Just as the developers get a 20 yr guaranteed contract…. people living around IWTs should be getting a guarantee from developers/the province that outlines what will happen when “harm” is proven. Either (1)… take the turbines down… or (2) compensation for health and property values. Fair is Fair.

  4. To IWT developers and our elected officials…..

    “If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?

  5. We all need to wake up and tell them what we man and woman have the rights to live in peace on our property and that is our right and they have no business in allowing this to continue.IT IS OUR CANADIAN RIGHTS THAT THEY ARE ABUSING AND WE ALL NEED TO SEND THEM IN WRITING THE RIGHTS WE HAVE. SINCE THEY ARE ONLY CATERING TO CORPORATIONS AND NOT MAN. SEND THEM ALL NOTICES OF CLAIM OF RIGHTS TO PEACE IN YOUR HOME. Tell them also they are violating our rights ,if they continue they will be prosecuted.

  6. What do people want? People do not want to destroy other people’s lives, cause family health issues, kill birds, kill bats and cause environmental issues for an energy source not steady enough on the grid to turn anyone’s lights on. When the truth is known people with no financial gain (most of us) do not want industrial wind turbines.

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