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Bill to return planning power to municipalities  

Credit:  By VALERIE MACDONALD Northumberland Today, www.northumberlandtoday.com 30 November 2011 ~~

NORTHUMBERLAND – Local riding MPP Rob Milligan says he will support a private member’s bill to restore municipal planning tools to protect the rights of citizens with regard to green-energy projects like wind turbines.

“I’m obviously for it,” Milligan said in a telephone interview from Queen’s Park. “I’ve heard from many municipal councillors, not just in this riding (of Northumberland Quinte West)…They want the ability to make local (planning) decisions.”

The McGuinty government took away the municipal authority for decisions like this when it passed the Green Energy Act, the Tory MPP said.

Two-term, PC MPP Laurie Scot, who represents the riding of Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock, is another provincial politician who has indicated she is committed to the bill expected to be introduced at Queen’s Park this Thursday by fellow Tory MPP Todd Smith from Prince Edward- Hastings riding.

“Since the introduction of the Green Energy Act, the McGuinty government has denied municipalities the right to reflect the concerns and needs of their communities with regard to very significant projects,” Scott states in a media release, noting that 79 municipalities support resolutions to return this control to the local government level.

In Northumberland County, proposed wind farms, for example, have drawn crowds of people to public meetings airing concerns about the impact of alternative energy projects relying on industrial wind farms. Their concerns include property values, noise and possible adverse health affects depending on the proximity to existing homes. Solar projects have attracted fewer concerns. In both instances, however, local politicians like those in Alnwick/Haldimand where several projects have been proposed over the past few years, have indicated that local planning rules no longer apply and that the provincial government ultimately has the decision-making power.

The private member’s bill is called The Local Municipality Democracy Act, 2011.

Source:  By VALERIE MACDONALD Northumberland Today, www.northumberlandtoday.com 30 November 2011

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