A wind of uncertainty is blowing through Simcoe area

By Toby Barrett, Simcoe Reformer

The storm of uncertainty swirling about the McGuinty green energy policy grows more worrisome and divisive as residents become aware of the extensive list of projects slated to blow into our area.

I hear it at the door, at my office, at the open houses in Jarvis, Fisherville, and Port Dover. I find few who don’t have an opinion on the hundreds of wind towers on their way and what their impact will be.

Local headlines highlight the concerns of area people; “Stop the wind turbines,” “Council needs to take a stand on turbines,” and “Standing firm against wind power.”

I have watched as a draconian and poorly constructed green energy plan has pitted neighbour against neighbour forcing people to take sides on the issue of wind towers. I’ve watched as farmers working within the rules have invested time and money into green energy only to find there is no connection to the grid.

Unfortunately, instead of relying on communication between impacted neighbours and municipal leaders, McGuinty’s Green Energy Act has short-circuited the process — in the end, no-one is happy.

The bizarre reality in Ontario is that while municipalities and local families are allowed their say on where a new Tim Hortons or Walmart is located, Dalton McGuinty has let Toronto bureaucrats decide where industrial wind towers will be located. Many farmers who have signed wind leases often tell me they are caught in the middle and are just as perplexed as to why there is no municipal oversight or protocol.

There are no rulings from county council, nor any yellow roadside zoning signs, because Mr. McGuinty has neutered the municipal process while allowing an environmental assessment process that has been so watered down it has been rendered toothless.

As the over 300 attendees at the inaugural meeting of Haldimand Wind Concerns learned, many municipalities are digging into their toolbox for other ways to make their voice heard. Norfolk County is one of 75 municipalities that passed resolutions objecting to industrial wind turbines and/ or Dalton McGuinty’s Green Energy Act.

Meanwhile in Huron-Kinloss, the municipality is refusing to issue building permits for new industrial wind energy projects unless developers adhere to their policies.

Given the standing room only status of the Haldimand meeting, it is clear that people are aware, and ever-more passionate, about concerns raised by Norfolk resident Stephana Johnston, and other presenters. Topics included: municipal powers, reported health concerns, suitability of 550-metre setbacks, tourism and property values.

The fact that the only science Mr. McGuinty seems to use for decisions on wind tower placement is political science, rubs further salt into the wound of those looking to have their voices heard.

Despite municipal moratorium demands, McGuinty recently ploughed ahead with his industrial wind experiment in four ridings — none of which are Liberal-held. Meantime he cancelled all offshore wind turbine projects bowing to largely urban pressure -less than a week later a Toronto Star headline reported that after October’s election, “Offshore turbines could be resurrected, McGuinty hints.”

I and my caucus colleagues continue to press for a wind moratorium. Opposition Leader Tim Hudak makes clear our intention to restore municipal powers of decision-making. But, government refuses to answer ongoing questions, or provide any sense of real direction to an issue that is spiraling out of control.

Toby Barrett is MPP for the riding of Haldimand- Norfolk

6 thoughts on “A wind of uncertainty is blowing through Simcoe area

  1. Mr Barrett
    Please do not forget to tackle the issue as to whether windmills should ever be used from a taxpayers point of view.
    The municipalities deserve a say in what goes forward.

    But the issue is still skirted around as to whether it makes any financial sense to continue pushing this agenda ( even if you give some power back to the municipalities if elected as a government ) when it reduces almost zero carbon and costs us all as taxpayers virtually for ever.

    I think all the landowners affected by the Green Energy Act are not against any new AFFORDABLE, RELIABLE, PROVEN technology .
    Rural people are very innovative and aware of new advances and are the first to uembrace and create new ideas. We can also see when designs and ideas are flawed. We run our own businesses and must adapt and adjust on the fly to survive.

    At present time without storage for surplus wind power , it is a waste of everyone’s money.
    Canada has less than .5% ( one half of one percent ) of Class 1 Agriculture land and it is insane that even one acre is allowed to be used for this form of electricity.

  2. Good letter, Craig.

    I hope that you have also sent this directly to Toby Barrett (as well as other MPPs) as we cannot rely on him (them) reading our responses here.

  3. Mattie
    I did send a copy directly to him on his own web site and will forward it to other MPP’s emails that I can track down.

  4. I sent this very clear and simple email to Dalton McGuinty
    Interesting to see what comes back.

    To Dalton McGuinty
    How can you justify your government saying that there are few complaints regarding the Turbine issue in rural Ontario ?
    There are 76 councils on record , representing about 2,000,000 Ontario residents, asking for a moratorium on turbine construction.

    Please , no standard political nonsense as a response.

    I do not want to hear about any previous government’s mishandling of the energy policy.
    That has zero to do with social and economic problems created by turbines in rural communities today and going forward.

    I would appreciate in your own words your reasoning for dismissing 2,000,000 Ontario residents concerns. ( That number continues to rise )

    While you may be dismissing about 20% of the poulation that is concerned and asking questions, you are dismissing
    100 % of the people who are DIRECTLY affected by construction of these industrial turbines.

    For now that is the one and only question I would like answered.

    Again I ask you to skip the standard political response and answer from your heart.
    Thank you

  5. Where do I get a “Jack Ass” Sign like the one in the picture. I would love to have that in my front yard by election time. Maybe one in my car window too. The one on this web site is too small to blow up.

  6. How can i get a poster like that for our road side sign?

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