TORONTO – Conservative MPPs are taking advantage of a Liberal minority government to introduce private members bills.
Member Todd Smith, from Prince Edward Hastings, planned to introduce a bill on Dec. 1 entitled the Local Municipality Democracy Act, 2011.
It is aimed at restoring municipal power to draft and enforce bylaws to protect local interests with regard to green energy projects such as wind turbines.
Wind turbine opponents say when the Green Energy Act was introduced in 2009, it ran roughshod over the traditional rights and responsibilities by stating that municipal bylaw restrictions did not apply to renewable energy projects, sources or test projects.
If the private member’s bill can make it through the legislature, local citizens will be able to affect decisions made at a local level.
There are renewable energy projects planned for many ridings across Ontario that have generated significant discussion and concern.
If enacted, the bill would give local decision makers much more control of whether these projects proceed and how. Across the province, 79 municipalities have passed resolutions demanding the Dalton McGuinty government restore local control. The premier has ignored them.
Wind Concerns Ontario (WCO) supports the bill being presented by Smith.
The group, which is a coalition of 60 member community groups, opposes industrial wind power generation projects that are too close to homes.
“The removal of democracy for Ontario’s communities was one of the many flaws of the Green Energy Act,” said WCO president Jane Wilson.
“This is an important step in returning the power to determine the future of our own communities to the people of Ontario, and frankly, to make our own choices about how best to implement renewable energy in this province. Health and safety is a major concern.”
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