Save the Oak Ridges Moraine Coalition (STORM) is focused on protecting the ecological and hydrological health and integrity of the Oak Ridges Moraine and as such only supports those land and resource uses that will maintain, enhance or restore the ecological functioning of the moraine.
At the same time that STORM supports the production of environmentally sustainable energy that reduces our reliance on fossil fuels, it also recognizes that all forms of power generation entail environmental trade-offs, and that there are drawbacks to alternatives including wind turbine developments. Therefore any project must be assessed on the basis of ensuring not only that no ecological harm is done but where possible there are net benefits to the local and larger social-ecological communities. At a minimum, the following factors must be included in an assessment of a project:
– Definition of project to include all aspects (i.e., current and future phases, construction, operation and maintenance of turbine, feeder lines between turbines, electric cable connections and access roads)
– Potential impact to hydrologic functioning on a subwatershed and watershed basis
– Potential impacts to key natural heritage features, significant hydrologic features, significant wildlife habitat including species at risk
– Potential implications to local land use and local and regional road networks (including unopened road allowances)
– Potential cumulative impacts of the project (as defined above) within the context of existing land uses on a watershed basis
– Effectiveness of the public consultative process to understand and address concerns about the uncertainties of specific projects
STORM recommends that:
• The Province of Ontario must address emerging issues and concerns by ensuring that all projects are subjected to a full and comprehensive assessment including considerations of location and scale and further;
• The Province of Ontario must enhance the transparency of the regulatory and approvals process including the development of an improved method of engaging the public in consultations and being more responsive to the comments expressed.
It is STORM’s position that it is vitally important for Ontario to develop an equitable and sustainable renewable resource sector in Ontario that provides net social and ecological benefits to the local and larger community.