What powers do you speak of Mr. Stevens?

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.

Bill Hill
Mayor, Township of Melancthon

13 thoughts on “What powers do you speak of Mr. Stevens?

  1. Anybody that peppers their speech with phrases such as “this and that and the other” deserves to be criticized.

    Our tax dollars, hard at work.

  2. Provincial employees do the dirty work for Dalton. He stays behind his curtain of protection instructing them.
    I don’t understand how he has such power over bureaucrats that they submit to his orders even when it includes hurting their neighbours. What a bully and worse, what a coward!
    Jane Glassco admitted she knew about the people suffering during a power point presentation promoting wind energy to Amaranth council that she and Shawn Burr (MOE) presented. I am sure Dalton arranged that one too.
    Wish these people had the fortitude to stand up and speak the truth
    I could not even think of participating in something so destructive and hurtful.
    Where the h is the Ombudsman?

  3. We have been inundated over the years now with false statements, excuses that don’t stand up to hard scrutiny, misinformation and basically BS on any and all discussions on the positive side of Wind Turbine Development! Here’s a great question that could be asked at this stage of debate on IWT’s: ” Is there one single person in the Wind Industry ‘cabal’ or any Politician who is promoting our collective destruction, living within the shadow of any Wind Turbines in Ontario?
    In other words to be more specific, is there anyone that works for CANWEA living next to a Wind Turbine Development? Is there one single Liberal living in the shadow of one of these monsters?
    Of course I would expect to hear that “Oh yeah, Mr. and Mrs. John Doe who have signed onto the FIT program lives within their footprint and they LOVE THEM!” OR “oh yeah, Jutta and her husband want even more of them built on their property”!!………………….you get the idea……………………

  4. Let’s take a closer look:
    [excerpt 1] 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.”

    [excerpt 2]“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.”

    Conclusion:
    Because, not one wind turbine project has been ordered by government regulation –
    it looks like municipalities
    have decided to participate in back room deals.
    Therefore, it’s all in the – ‘this’ and ‘that’ and the ‘other’.

    p.s. Thank you for pointing that out!

    • One more thing!
      It’s interesting to note – municipalities have lawyers that they consult with –
      from time to time.
      Each municipality has it’s own unique situation.
      Not once –
      has a lawyer appeared before a council – in a Committee of the Whole meeting –
      to present a transparent legal opinion – so citizens could experience exactly what their councils are up against.
      Not once has a lawyer been quoted with a legal opinion as to what could be done.
      No – not once!
      Please correct me if I am wrong.

      p.s. I am not referring to the legal challenges brought forth by citizens.

  5. Mayor Hill,
    I would like to put forth my opinions on this subject. You are correct that a municipal building permit is actually issued under the Ontario Building Code. However, the permit and structure being built is governed by local authority, through local by-laws and regulations. Governance of the permit may be the issue here, not the OBC. I would strongly suggest that you consult with your local Fire Chief. Have a fireside chat and discuss the Fire Prevention and Protection Act 1997.(Part ll- Municipal Responsibility). I would then urge you too seek competent legal advice as to whether council can issue a building permit for something that you can not meet the requirements under the Fire Act.
    Just a crazy thought here….do you think that the government knows they failed and are looking for a way out ,without hurting their ego’s and the cancellation of more contracts?
    Was it really a slip of McGuintys tongue that Turbines are a municipal matter?
    Was it really a Sussex comment made by OSEA ,that council has control?
    Time to think and work outside the box….
    Regards,
    Greg

  6. Mayor Hill and all Councils in Ontario
    Although you may feel that you have zero power in the issuance of a Turbine permit, think of it this way. When council issues a building permit, it assumes responsibility for that permit and the services required.You do have power, you are not using it. I will state again that if you can not meet the requirements of the Fire and Prevention Act, then you cannot issue a building permit.
    Regards,
    Greg

    • Only the IWT pad is inspected? What about the grounding system, the tower, blades, generator,etc.?

      • Dufferin County, Chief Building Inspector,
        “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,”
        “We do not have site plan control,”
        Is this the case for all the counties where IWTs are installed or are planned?

  7. These powers silly!

    http://www.ontario-sea.org/Storage/63/5537_OSEA_Private_members_bill_briefing_Nov_30_2011.pdf

    MPP Todd Smith of Prince Edward Hastings has tabled a bill based on concerns expressed about windmill development and municipal control. Unfortunately Mr. Smith may have fallen prey to two myths that are being perpetuated. The first myth is that municipalities have no power regarding green energy project siting or design. The second is that the Planning Act with its patchwork of standards, burdensome processes for under-resourced municipalities and endless redtape is a preferable option.

    Unfortunately a few municipalities appear to be hiding behind the province politically, rather than using the tools and powers provided by the GEGEA.

    Powers Under the GEGEA

    Ability to approve the location of projects and setback distances between projects and other land uses

    . The project proponent must provide the municipality with a consultation form.
    . The form allows municipalities to raise concerns about the impact on municipal infrastructure and other aspects of the project.
    . Municipalities are not limited to simply completing the consultation form.
    . Municipalities can also include appendices setting out concerns or additional studies and alternative locations.
    . The GEGEA supersedes the Planning Act requiring renewable energy projects to adhere to more stringent province-wide standards rather than a patchwork of individual municipal by-laws in a way akin to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act’s introduction of a province-wide standard.

    Knowledge of project and receipt of reports outlining impact of project

    . This is required under the consultation requirements for an REA process created under the GEGEA which builds on the previous Environmental Assessment process.
    . Under the REA process, municipalities must be given the project description report and any studies or reports related to the project that will be submitted as part of the proponent’s REA application.

    Power to veto a project

    . Community and commercial proponents must show how they have addressed concerns raised by municipalities during consultation, or why the proponent was unable to address the concerns.
    . Under the GEGEA municipalities do not have a veto.

    Appeals

    . Municipalities like all other parties can appeal an REA application to the Environmental . Review Tribunal. However the grounds for appeal must be that the project will cause serious harm to human health or serious and irreversible harm to plant life, animal life, or the natural environment.
    . Superfluous appeals will not be heard.

    Sounds like a rigged game to me.

  8. The letter mentioned by Mayor Hill was sent to a number of our honourable leaders all of which replied except for Sylvia Jones. Also note that the letters author received no clarification as to the Premiers comments……..

    • Hey Wont they blow away the gravel,

      This was the Premiere’s response:
      ‘[excerpt] 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.”’

      Note: It makes no sense at all – therefore, the municipalities should stand united
      and just say ‘NO’.

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