QUEEN’S PARK – Since the passage of the 2009 Green Energy Act, countless communities have been ignored as their landscapes have been threatened by the McGuinty government’s push to install industrial wind and solar farms, with no regard to local expertise or the concerns of residents. Today, municipalities have a say on the location of a new Tim Hortons or 7-Eleven, but not on an industrial wind or solar farm. Last September Essex MPP, Taras Natyshak, campaigned on a promise to make changes to the Green Energy Act and return planning control to local municipalities, giving local residents a say regarding where industrial wind and solar farms are built.
Natyshak said he “identified something that is just wrong and unfair” when 44 industrial solar panels were installed in a quiet Belle River neighbourhood without “any consultation with the municipality or local stakeholders.” (Today’s Windsor – http://youtu.be/YmTp0SPbOI4)
However, on December 1st, 2011 the Essex MPP voted with the McGuinty Liberals and blocked Bill 10 – The Local Democracy Act, 2011 at Queen’s Park. If passed, Bill 10 would have restored local democracy by returning local decision making powers to municipalities. However, with Natyshak’s support the Liberals successfully defeated the bill.
Subsequently, on March 8th 2011, MPP Natyshak was surprisingly absent from the Legislative Assembly when the Liberal government and the NDP teamed up to defeat a private member’s motion calling for a moratorium on further wind development until third party social, physical and economic health and environmental studies have been completed.
“I’ve been to Essex many times,” said Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey, “like Sarnia-Lambton many families are frustrated with industrial wind turbines and solar farms being built too close to their homes, such as the case in Belle River. I believe that local families know what is best for their communities and should have a say where turbines and solar farms are built. The MPP from Essex said that too during the last election, my question is where does he stand now and why won’t he stand up for Essex families?”
Bob Bailey, MPP for Sarnia-Lambton