Huron-Bruce’s MPP is supporting a plea for a longer conversation when it comes to wind turbine projects offshore.
Carol Mitchell is also supporting a Ministry of Natural Resources’ initiative to restrict the development of lake turbines in areas subject to important recreational activities, core commercial fishing activity, navigation, and sensitive environmental areas.
Mitchell, who was a member of the Green Energy committee that travelled the province before the sometimes-controversial Act came into effect, says more public input should be welcomed before offshore projects are moved along the queue.
And while the Ministry of Environment’s original deadline for public input on offshore developments was Aug. 24, Mitchell says an extension for comments, which the Ministry granted through till Sept. 7, will ensure those with concerns are heard.
“I feel those are very important points that need to be taken into consideration while developing the regulatory framework,” she says.
While Mitchell notes there is one offshore project garnering interest in the Point Clark area, whether similar projects would fly along Bayfield, Central Huron or Goderich’s lakeshore is uncertain.
“There are a number of issues to consider,” says Mitchell, noting areas subject to important recreational activities, core commercial fishing activity, navigation, and sensitive environmental areas would be excluded from development if the MNR’s proposal were adopted.
Still, says Mitchell, even in inland areas, there is more than the perceived rubber-stamping of wind projects. Though she acknowledges municipalities cannot stop a proposed wind development, she says they do have the right to submit their comments and concerns to the province as part of the process.
Ultimately, she says, whether an inland wind project moves forward is a decision made by the landowner and developer, there are a number of approvals that must be acquired before the turbines are erected.
Mitchell notes that is unfortunate that people seem to be forgetting that the rationale for the Green Energy Act is to eliminate the province’s reliance on coal given it is not an environmentally friendly method of power generation.
“That discussion has been lost an that’s unfortunate,” she says.
The proposed regulations (011-0907) can be reviewed at www.ebr.gov.on.ca and are open for a 47-day public comment until Sept. 7 at the MOE, and until Oct. 4, on the MNR’s web site.
Mitchell is encouraging her constituents to participate in these public consultations. All comments will be considered as part of the decision-making process by MOE and MNR if submitted in writing or electronically, with the EBR Registry numbers provided.
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