by Bill Hill, Mayor, Township of Melancthon, Orangeville Banner
Re: Response to Municipalities still have power, Letter to the Editor Dec. 13.
This is in response to Kristopher Stevens, executive director of the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association. I would like to share with Kristopher and your readers a recent experience I had regarding this issue. One of our ratepayers wrote a letter to council expressing concerns about the mega quarry and a new wind development that is planned and will have turbines by him.
He also sent a copy of that letter to Premier Dalton McGuinty. The premier responded to him and made the following comment about wind turbines: “as the issue of wind turbines falls under the responsibility of the municipal government, you may wish to continue addressing your concerns to your municipal representative.”
A letter was sent by me to the premier asking for clarification of his remark. I received a voicemail from Ms. Jane Glassco, the district manager for the Ministry of Energy, Guelph office.
I do not want to be critical of Ms. Glassco in any way, as she was just doing what she was instructed to do.
The following is her message (I’ve saved it): “I have been asked to call you and apologize from the Province of Ontario for writing in a response to a letter that the municipality has care and control of addressing concerns with regards to wind turbine which in fact as you so well pointed out is not true. So, you do have other aspects that you can deal with wind turbines through the building code and location of fire hydrants and proposed landscaping and this and that and the other.”
Since building permits are handled by Dufferin County, I called Mike Giles, chief building inspector for the county, and asked what control he (we) had under the building code. He said “none that he was aware of.”
He said the developer gets the permit for the base, and as long as it is built to the specs required and is the correct size, they have no other input.
With the exception of the large turbine on the Lakeshore in Toronto, I have not seen turbines in other than rural areas that do not have fire hydrants.
We do not have site plan control, so I’m sure what input a municipality would have in landscaping, I have not had a chance to investigate “this and that and the other.”
Both Denise Holmes, our CAO, and I requested that we get something in writing from Ms. Glassco and she said she wasn’t sure she could do that. She told me she would email her supervisor and “and certainly get back to her in regards to that.”
I find it frustrating the premier can write a letter to a ratepayer yet can’t send a letter to a mayor and council saying “oops I goofed, sorry about that. We are all human.”
It would be helpful then if all of the power that Kristopher Stevens thinks we have could be clarified.
Mayor, Township of Melancthon