County council has asked the McGuinty government to put a moratorium on wind energy development in Prince Edward County on Monday night. In doing so, they join many other Ontario municipalities in rebuking the Ontario government’s attempts to override local authority over the development of wind energy projects in their jurisdiction.
By a 9-6 vote (Keith MacDonald recused himself from the vote as he has optioned part of his land to a wind energy developer) Council made it clear they were unhappy with the loss of local control, questions about whether the McGuinty has done enough work to ensure they are safe for both humans and the environment.
North Marysburgh councillor Robert Quaiff brought the issue to the Council table saying it was up to this new council to state clearly their position on wind energy.
“The people have spoken to us,” said Quaiff. “Now they need to hear from us.”
Several councillors said they favoured renewable energy but said the municipality must have some say over how many are built here and where.
“We don’t want the County turning into another Wolfe Island,” said Jim Dunlop, councillor for Wellington.
Several councillors opposed the motion arguing it would cost the municipality hundreds of thousands of dollars to regulate wind energy development in the County.
“That is why this council told the province to look after it,” said Brian Marisett, councillor for Picton. “I’m not sure the Green Energy isn’t working.”
Councillor Bev Campbell tried to head off the vote by asking for a deferral until a public meeting could be held.
“It is a significant step,” said Campbell referring to the moratorium motion. “My big concern is shortage of notice.”
But others noted that this issue has been before council and several public meetings for the past 14 years.
“I was at a meeting a couple of weekends ago where Ian Hanna talked about the judicial review of the Green Energy Act,” said Lunn. “I was the only councillor there. I attended another meeting with a wind developer since then—I didn’t see many councillors.”
Mayor Peter Mertens agreed pointing to the international symposium on health affects from wind turbines held at the Waring House in Picton last fall.
“That conference opened a lot of eyes,” said Mertens.
Janice Maynard, councillor for Ameliasburgh, said the community has spoken.
“We had plenty of input in the election campaign,” said Maynard. “I heard loud and clear what the citizens want.
The text of the motion approved by council on Monday night:
The County of the County of Prince Edward requests the Ontario Provincial Government to implement a moratorium on industrial wind turbines until independent health studies have been completed and a full environmental study be done to determine the possible impact, and all related potential costs that will be incurred by the Municipality and the effect on property values in the affected areas and the introduction of legislation that some powers to deal with these wind turbines be restored to allow municipalities to set appropriate setbacks specific to their jurisdictions and to implement such other measures as they deem necessary; AND FURTHER THAT a copy of this resolution be sent to the Premier of Ontario, the Member of Provincial Parliament for Prince Edward-Hastings, the leader of the Official Opposition, to such other provincial cabinet ministers that may be deemed appropriate; and THAT a copy be forwarded to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario for their support and for distribution to AMO member municipalities seeking their approval and encouraging them to pass similar resolutions.
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