Norwich Township still has no control over wind turbine placement following last week’s reelection of the provincial Liberals, but council has voted to remind the government it would like to have some input on the subject.
With the McGuinty government reduced to a minority power, Ward 4 Councillor Susan Hampson said now is the time for council to make up its mind about where it stands regarding wind turbines, and band together with other municipalities to make their point.
“The province has pretty much ignored everything that has been done (about wind turbine complaints) so far,” she said in a phone interview Thursday, October 13. “We have a good chance (to be heard) but we need to be strong.”
Council unanimously passed an amended resolution during Tuesday’s meeting, calling for a provincial moratorium on industrial wind turbines and asking once again for planning authority to be returned to municipalities.
Hampson proposed some changes to the wording of the motion stating there was a concern for misinterpretation, which could find the township financially responsible for conducting health studies.
Further changes to the resolution included placing the onus on the province to ‘commission independent and peer-reviewed scientific studies’ in order for Health Canada to confirm industrial wind turbines do not pose a risk to the community, and also requesting a setback of two kilometers from all residential properties and livestock facilities.
Joan Morris, a member of the group East Oxford Community Alliance and co-writer of the original resolution, said she was very happy to see council pass the document despite the necessary changes made to it.
“More research needs to be done before any thing moves forward,” she said following the decision. “It’s abundantly clear that (the provincial government) is out of touch with rural Ontario.”
Since insufficient notification had been given to council when the motion was raised at the end of September, the proposal was tabled for further investigation and circulation. Chief Administrative Officer Michael Graves presented council with a report recommending they determine ‘if they wish to reiterate to the province their previous position’ of placing a moratorium on wind farms, and having planning authority returned to local municipalities, since there is no legal action the councillors can take against the Green Energy Act, 2009.
The resolution will be passed on to the Premier of Ontario, as well as the ministers of Health, Environment, Energy, Natural Resources and the shadow cabinets of the opposition parties, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, Oxford County Council and others.
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