By Trevor Terfloth, Chatham Daily News
Chatham-Kent will raise its concerns over the Green Energy Act, but won’t walk out of an upcoming conference, says a municipal councillor. Chatham Coun. Michael Bondy will be the lone council representative to attend the Ontario Good Roads Association/Rural Ontario Municipal Association conference in Toronto next week.
The Municipality of Arran-Elderslie, located in Bruce County, is asking for a moratorium on wind turbine projects. It circulated a resolution earlier this year expressing its disappointment with the “total mishandling” of the Green Energy Act, and asked municipalities to show solidarity.
With rumblings over the possibility of a walkout during Premier Dalton McGuinty’s speech, Bondy questioned what impact that would have.
He called it showmanship and didn’t believe it was the right approach.
“I wouldn’t walk out,” he said on Thursday. “I don’t see any point in that.
“You don’t learn anything in the hallway … Then there’s very little negotiation and I don’t believe that’s a proper way to resolve any sort of disagreement or dispute.”
Bondy said wind projects have benefited Chatham-Kent through assessment. However, he admitted he wonders about the bigger picture, citing Europe as an example.
“It’s green energy and it’s a nice idea, but are we oversubsidizing?” he said.
Also attending the conference will be general manager of infrastructure and engineering Leo Denys.
Bondy said learning more about infrastructure efficiencies is a significant priority for Chatham-Kent.
While he expects municipalities will request funding, he said the province’s tight finances mean that alternate measures to save money will be needed.
“We’ve got some serious road, infrastructure problems,” he said. “And that’s not because we’ve been neglectful … with 800 bridges and thousands and thousands of kilometres of roadways, we’re not typical.
“This is a huge budgetary concern for us.”
The conference runs from Sunday until Wednesday.