Grey County is calling on the province to arm municipalities with the right to veto new wind turbine projects proposed for within their boundaries.
Introduced by Hanover Deputy-mayor Bob White, the amendment to a motion asks the provincial government to give municipalities that have declared themselves as “unwilling hosts” for wind farm projects the authority to deny the proposal through the passage of a bylaw or the power of veto.
“I just thought this would make it straightforward that no means no,” he said in an interview Tuesday after the motion was approved.
Dozens of municipal councils in Ontario, including in Saugeen Shores and Georgian Bluffs, have declared themselves as unwilling hosts for turbines after Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said in her Throne Speech that her government will not force the developments on communities that are not willing hosts.
The Green Energy Act gives approval authority for the wind turbine projects to the province.
Grey Highlands Deputy-mayor Paul McQueen had notified Grey County council in June that he would seek to declare the entire county as an “unwilling host” for wind farm projects.
Some Grey County councillors, including Southgate Mayor Brian Milne, said they would oppose the motion because the decision should be left to individual municipalities.
McQueen instead presented a “watered down” version that asked council to simply support lower-tier municipalities that make the proclamation.
“I didn’t think I’d get support around the table that I needed,” he said of his original motion.
Council ended up amending McQueen’s revised motion even further to say the county will support all resolutions passed by lower-tier municipalities that relate to the Green Energy Act.
Southgate Mayor Brian Milne said the intent is for council to also show its support to municipalities that declare themselves as willing hosts.
White added his amendment to the revised motion.
Tuesday was not the first time that council has passed a resolution related to wind turbines. It voted in March to ask the province to slap an immediate moratorium on turbine developments until further studies provide “conclusive” evidence related to the impact of the industrial machines on human health.
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