(February 20, 2013) Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson took to the floor of the Ontario Legislature today to introduce a new bill entitled Restoring Planning Powers to Municipalities Act, 2013. The legislation is part of Wilson’s continued effort to give municipalities back the authority to decide what renewable energy projects are built within their communities, if any.
“One example of the urgency of this bill, is WPD Canada’s Fairview Wind Project that consists of eight turbines in Clearview Township on a flight path of the Collingwood Airport,” said Wilson. “Given the Premier recently visited the area and has been briefed on the ridiculousness of putting industrial turbines as tall as the TD tower near an airport, I trust that the government will take the bill seriously and move to bring it into law.”
Wilson’s bill aims to amend the Planning Act reversing previous amendments made by the Green Energy Act in 2009 that exempt renewable energy undertakings from the municipal process. If enacted, the bill will restore municipal planning powers and allow local leaders to make decisions that they have traditionally been allowed to make.
“Prior to the passage of the Liberal’s Green Energy Act, these decisions have always been left up to local councils because they know best and understand the communities they serve,” said Wilson. “It’s absolutely ridiculous that unelected bureaucrats in office towers are making decisions for municipal leaders in regards to the fate of projects in our rural backyards,”
Since 2010, Wilson and the Ontario PC Party have been calling for a moratorium on industrial wind energy projects until third party health and environmental studies have been done. They have also committed to scrapping the feed-in tariff program that is increasing hydro bills by rewarding often foreign energy developers up to fifteen times the average price of hydro to produce power no matter if it is needed or not.
“Since 2009 the Liberal government has ignored vast local opposition to building massive industrial wind and solar farms throughout my riding,” said Wilson. “It is a smack in the face to rural Ontarians.”