Don’t laugh too fast at hot air

Posted By DAVE DALE  North Bay Nugget

I say this knowing one thing for certain. In a decade or two, some very upset, sick and financial destitute people will be suing our Ontario backside off its foundation because they had no say on a fast-tracked proposal.

It’s not as amusing as it seems. Mayor Vic was “incensed” at council this week about provincial rules for green energy projects leaving municipalities out of the decision-making loop.

The Renewable Energy Act exempts wind, biomass, solar and various other types of juice generators from the Environmental Review Act process and related Planning Act stipulations.   Cities can’t hold up a project within their boundaries because it doesn’t make long-term planning sense.

And neighbours of a green energy developer can no longer raise a stink about the impact to them until after a project is given a green light.

Municipalities and members of the public have lost two opportunities to speak their minds, the only chance for appeal being a Ministry of Environment panel to consider severe harm” to humans, animals or habitat.

Reaction to Mayor Vic’s outrage was mostly giggles and laughter by people who have felt the sting of city planning decisions.

Most recently, proposals for affordable housing projects attracted opposition by neighbours worried about lower property values and altered lifestyles. The need for housing, specifically filling in serviced spaces with multi-residence rentals, overrides most NIMBY moans and groans.

People are increasingly feeling they have no say in such matters and that the rezoning process gives developers and city planners more power than existing taxpayers.

So it’s only natural some people may not have much sympathy for Mayor Vic, his council or staff when they complain about not having a voice on important matters.

In the most crude and general of terms, Welcome to the club!” several online posters opined at nugget.cathis week.

And, personally, I can see their point. While I’ve Soapboxed in the past about land owners having to live with what’s best for the community, and not just themselves, we’re losing our voices on many, many things.

Another part of me was pleased to see the province cutting through the red tape of public consultation. Too many times the Environmental Assessment Process has seemed more like a dog and pony show than a way to take the views of stakeholders in high regard.

Developers and opponents appear to spend vast sums of energy and money, mostly on lawyers and hired-gun experts, only to arrive at very predictable conclusions years later.

If green energy projects are good and necessary, the province may as well eliminate frustrating smoke and mirrors.

Dictatorships don’t need public relations exercises. It’s the most efficient government model available to humans.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper knows this better than most Tories, and the Ontario Liberals are well-skilled at ramming through what they think is best for the masses.

That said, Alexander Pope penned a thoughtful phrase Premier Dalton McGuinty may want to consider.   “Only fools rush in where angels fear to tread” and fast-tracking green energy projects without thorough consideration is risky.

Remember when they thought ethanol was a good “green” solution?

The impact of wind turbines, for example, are not known. People who live near them complain about the noise and vibration, leading to health concerns.

Unfortunately, there’s no conclusive evidence to back it up and if the individuals and municipalities opposing a project can’t afford professional expertise to prove their concerns, it’s doubtful an environmental appeal would win.

Fortunately, the province is now looking at the rules that will govern where and when wind farms–or other green energy projects–can be built.

Perhaps, if the province wants to rush forward with these things before the studies are complete, it may want to err on the side of caution and require very large buffer zones. I’m thinking maybe two kilometres or more from someone’s back yard.

I say this knowing one thing for certain. In a decade or two, some very upset, sick and financial destitute people will be suing our Ontario backside off its foundation because they had no say on a fast-tracked proposal.

And it’s going to make people sicker to hear Mayor Vic say, “I told you so.”

Dave Dale’s column appears Thursday and Saturday. He can be contacted at ddale@nugget.ca

13 thoughts on “Don’t laugh too fast at hot air

  1. If even one Liberal enforcer was willing to spend a week end in a home where the family has been through hell, then the truth will come out So far invitation “to come and see for yourself” have been ignored. That way they can continue to say “they’re are no proven effects of Wind Turbine Syndrome! ”

    Ask your self why symptoms disappear when the injured party leaves the area?

    Ask yourself why a family would ‘walk away from their home?

    Most importantly ask yourself why we let this happen by irresponsible government that failed to do it’s homework before giving a green light to something this obnoxious and useless.

    These mammoths do not eliminate Green house Gas emissions they add to GHG!

    Thank goodness turbine companies are not getting financial backing anymore. The myth of wind power has been exposed.

    Only an egomaniac like McGuinty will pursue his agenda as being a leader of Green. Until his house of cards falls down.

    However, make no mistake, the Green Party of Canada does not embrace wind power as a viable solution to climate change! They researched the facts!

    Maybe we should vote for them. What’s to lose?

  2. Melodie: Where on earth did you get that statement concerning the Green Party of Canada? It is false.

    Their homepage on their website has a spinning wind turbine. This is taken directly from their policy statement: “We will create thousands of jobs manufacturing, installing, operating and maintaining wind turbines”

  3. As an unregistered Green Party supporter, but one who votes Green every election, I can say that I do not embrace wind power as a viable solution to climate change. So, I guess the validity of Melodie’s comment depends on where you see the power of the party being.

  4. At our well attended meeting when we had the question period, a man claiming to be from the Green Party stated that they were furious that McGuinty stole their platform. He maintained that they did not embrace wind power as a solution to meet energy needs. He was quoted in a follow up article in the Creemore Echo by the Editor. I will send this too you now and go look up the article.
    Wait for my post because this man got a roaring applause for his statement.

  5. Here is the Quote from the Creemore Echo March 12th
    “Green party president Bill Hewitt spoke briefly, confining his comments to the fact that the Green Party also opposes the Green Energy Act, instead favoring a community- based small scale approach to green energy”

    I jumped the gun with wishful thinking. So sorry to mislead.

  6. There have been a few rebels within the Green Party who have spoken up. They were quickly kicked to the curb by the rest of the Green Party. The editor of their newsletter was dismissed for being outspoken on the follies of wind power.

    I wouldn’t base a whole party’s policy on one person. So the McGuinty government “stole” THEIR platform? That’s what he’s angry about, not the futility of wind subsidies.

  7. We could argue all day about the Green Party but MA is correct. Our Green Party Rep up our way denounced Wind Power immediately after being informed of it’s negative effects on people landscapes and wildlife and got kicked to the curb immediately.

    I would suggest that Green Party advocates actually focus on their leader Elizabeth May who is about as “wingy” as a “rat in a coffee can”.

    She is still blabbing on incoherently about Global Warming being real and that the East Anglia hack job isn’t as bad as it seems and on and on……….

    She’s not really functioning on a “reality level”.

    That said, I voted Green 3 1/2 years ago because of our local rep, not the Leader May!

    Now about this article above…………..this writer is on the right track but a year late and uninformed as to the current disaster happening NOW!

  8. Elizabeth May may be “wingy’ as a “rat in a coffee can” but she can’t hold a candle to me! When I am not blogging on this keyboard I am out side practicing my Skeet shooting ability! You know, I am getting pretty damn good!

  9. The President of the Party is hardly just another voice!

    Melodie is quite correct that the President of the Ontario Green Party, speaking on behalf of that party in Creemore, did strongly indicate that they do not support Industrial Wind Turbines and could never support any such plan that threatens the health of people.

    Now – it is just all of that other stuff that makes voting for them impossible.

  10. Bill Hewitt is the President of the Ontario Green Party. I would like to get clarification on this. There is no way they said “they did not support industrial wind energy”. No way. I would like to get it from the horse’s mouth.

  11. MA I just tried to find Bill Hewitt’s phone number in the Creemore phone book but no luck, not in Stayner either. Hope the horses mouth reads this and makes comment.

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