A unanimous recorded vote by Huron East council will send a resolution protesting the use of prime agricultural land for industrial wind turbines to the province and municipalities across Ontario.
The motion, presented by McKillop Coun. Bill Siemon, points out that the Ontario provincial policy statement states that prime agricultural land shall be protected for long-term use in agriculture, a fact that was recognized in the recent review of the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program which prohibited solar ground-mounted projects over 10 KW being located on prime agricultural land.
It goes on to state that the same consideration should be given to the impact of industrial wind turbines on prime agricultural land, expressing “frustration and serious concerns with the Province of Ontario’s disregard of the provisions of the Provincial Policy Statement with respect to the impact of industrial wind turbines on prime agricultural lands.”
“I don’t see any legal challenge that can be made in us supporting the provincial policy statement,” said Siemon, while presenting the motion.
Seaforth Coun. Bob Fisher asked if the motion could include a request for the province to “cease and desist putting turbines on prime agricultural land.”
“Could we make it even stronger?” he asked.
Clerk-Administrator Brad Knight responded that since an argument could be made “the other way” as well, that stronger wording might not be preferred.
“I’m in support of this motion because it points out that the province is talking out of both sides of its mouth,” said Tuckersmith Coun. Larry McGrath.
Tuckersmith Coun. Les Falconer also expressed his support of the motion, pointing out that the municipality’s official plan requires as much agricultural land as possible to go with a farm during a severance.
McKillop Coun. Andrew Flowers first asked that the motion be tabled until a lawyer’s opinion could be sought.
“I don’t know what the motion says but I think it’s very dangerous,” he said.
But, after hearing the motion and the fact that Knight had helped in the writing of the motion, Flowers agreed with the motion.
“Did you write that Brad? Did you have your tap dancing shoes on as well? It is very well written and I will support it as written,” he said.
Seaforth Coun. Nathan Marshall asked that the resolution be distributed to municipalities across Ontario through the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) to ask for their support as well.
“The benefit of sending it province-wide is the people in Toronto get to see the province is talking out of both sides of their mouth,” said Marshall.
Knight said it would cost $600 to $800 to distribute the resolution.
The resolution will also be sent to Premier Dalton McGuinty, Minister of Energy Chris Bentley, Minister of Agriculture and Food Ted McMeekin and Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson.
Voting in favour of the motion were Grey Coun. Dianne Diehl, Tuckersmith Coun. Les Falconer, Seaforth Coun. Bob Fisher, McKillop Coun. Andrew Flowers, Seaforth Coun. Nathan Marshall, Tuckersmith Coun. Larry McGrath, Grey Coun. Alvin McLellan, McKillop Coun. Bill Siemon, Deputy-Mayor Joe Steffler and Brussels Coun. Frank Falconer.
Mayor Bernie MacLellan and Bru
ssels Coun. David Blaney declared a conflict on interest.
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