With 64 municipalities and growing, Ontario’s Unwilling Host movement, opposed to industrial wind turbines, took its first step this week toward organizing into a coalition.
During the annual meeting of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario in Ottawa, about 60 delegates agreed to create a network to swap information, said organizer Kevin Marriott, mayor of Enniskillen, in Lambton County.
“There is a real willingness from everybody to form some group to go forward,” Marriott said.
“It’s going to be a step-by-step process,” he said.
Logistical problems exist in gathering municipal representatives from across the province on an ongoing basis, he conceded, so some options will be considered.
The movement is in response to a promise from Premier Kathleen Wynne that, from now on, wind turbines will be located in municipalities that are willing hosts. She acknowledged the province has failed to take local concerns into account by overriding local planning in the push for more wind power.
Marriott said a committee has been established to further the goals of expanding the unwilling host movement.
“We want to be a real organization,” he said.
The Unwilling Host communities have called for some clear new direction from the province to put teeth into Wynne’s assertions.
They claim the health and safety of residents living near wind turbines has been negatively affected. Meanwhile, a slew of new wind projects is on the books that will add significantly to the 1,200 turbines already dotting the landscape of rural Ontario.
Marriott said he tried to buttonhole Wynne during the AMO conference about when new rules are coming, but she deferred to Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli, who provided contradictory messages. Marriott said Chiarelli said municipalities would have a say in locating turbines but they wouldn’t have veto power.
Chiarelli did promise new rules for the siting of turbines will likely be released in October.
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