Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker wants Queen’s Park to give municipalities the power to veto industrial wind-power projects under the Renewable Energy Approval process, which is under review by government officials.
In his letter to Energy Minister Chris Bentley, Walker first criticized the government’s Green Energy Act for suspending local powers, and then called on the minister to restore them as part of the Liberal government’s two-year review of the green energy approval process in Ontario.
“In my mind, opposition to the green energy agenda is not going away until this government reinstates local decision-making powers,” Walker said. “To continue to suspend municipal powers is a direct violation of our traditional democracy and our people won’t stand for it,” he said.
Walker said the government is sitting on two years’ worth of evidence of public angst to know better than to keep denying our local governments a final say over industrial wind projects in their backyard.
“The Liberal government has voted down our party’s recommendations for a return to sensible local decision-making and they were punished for it in the October election,” Walker said. “I’d like to think they will use the two-year review as their opportunity to right that wrong,” he said.
Compounding public angst is the government’s failure to properly study health risks from wind turbines, namely low-level noise and vibrations, said Walker.
“People are disheartened to hear the Minister of the Environment say with certainty there are no direct health risks in the same breath as he’ll continue to study the health impacts,” Walker said. “It sounds very inconclusive to me.”
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