Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak says he’s alarmed that a proposed wind farm could threaten the Peterborough Airport just as the city has invested big to make the airport fly.
Hudak was in the city Friday for a jobs-creation forum hosted by the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce.
But he said he was upset to learn the proposed Sumac Ridge wind farm will put turbines in the approach space of the Peterborough Airport, potentially limiting the impact of millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money spent on the airport’s expansion.
“It (the wind farm) will basically shut that airport down,” Hudak said.
The Progressive Conservatives have a plan to deal with community outrage over wind turbines.
If elected, Hudak says the PCs would put a moratorium on new turbines developments and also give municipalities the power to reject wind farm proposals.
Hudak said it’s wrong that cities can determine whether a new Tim Horton’s comes to town but can’t reject a wind farm application.
“Surely cities should have a say about a 500-foot-tall wind farm in their backyards,” he said.
The same day Hudak was in town the proposed Stoneboat wind farm development in Bethany was cancelled.
Scott Stewart, the Peterborough riding Progressive Conservative candidate, said that was good news.
But he also pointed out that there are still three proposed wind farms for the Peterborough area, including the one that could put the local airport “in jeopardy”.
“If we don’t stop and get that moratorium – things are only going to get worse,” Stewart said.
Stewart and Hudak were also talking about jobs on Friday; they spoke of the Conservative plan to create a million new jobs in the province over the next eight years.
Hudak said they will do it through lower taxes, more skilled-trades training and affordable energy.
But they will also “need to reduce the cost of government,” Hudak said – meaning potential cuts to public service jobs, of which there are many in Peterborough.
But don’t worry, Hudak said – it won’t mean fewer doctors and nurses. Instead he plans to reduce the ranks of bureaucrats “pushing paper behind desks.”
“There’s a lot of bloat we can pare down,” he said, adding that his party will create enough new private-sector jobs to more than make up for any lost government jobs.