Controversy over wind turbines is one of many issues blowing into municipal election campaigns in west Niagara.
In an overview of what issues could resonate with voters and candidates in West Lincoln, wind turbines are likely close to the top – as is the case with Wainfleet.
Agriculture and farming concerns in general are likely to predominate during contests in West Lincoln, Lincoln and Grimsby.
Tom Rankin – a partner in the industrial turbine projects in Niagara – has voiced frustration in West Lincoln and Wainfleet being unwilling hosts for such projects.
Rankin feels money spent opposing them is unnecessary in what he feels is a legally unwinnable battle.
“It’s a waste of taxpayer’s money,” Rankin said, pointing his anger especially to the Town of Wainfleet.
“(The Town of) West Lincoln is not a lot better, but they are a little bit,” he said, adding the town fought his group “tooth and nail all the way.” He adds a study his group did in Wainfleet shows majority support for the windmills.
“They’re trying to destroy jobs,” he said, adding Niagara’s biggest issue is employment and one that should be addressed.
Anne Fairfield, a spokesperson for West Lincoln Glanbrook Wind Action Group, ruefully notes that “just being an unwilling host doesn’t do anything.”
She said provincial rules essentially trump any power local municipalities and authorities might have in planning the towers. But regulations around their installation must be followed.
Fairfield agrees advocating for more local power in this area will likely rear its head municipally.
“Candidates need to understand what wind turbine industrial projects could do to an agricultural area, which is what we are, and whether or not they really want them in their midst,” she said.
Other agricultural issues are on the agenda. The Town of Lincoln, for example, has just approved a new official plan, whose cornerstone is sustainable and prosperous agricultural community. That has to be approved by the province.
A Green Belt Plan review is also on deck with changes that could affect Lincoln and Grimsby and a possible municipal push to further address agricultural sector concerns.
Transit is also on the front-bruner – notably GO Transit train expansion to Grimsby and beyond.
That may well fall hand-in-hand with likely efforts to boosting region-wide inter-municipal transit.
A municipal funding crunch to address aging roads and infrastructure issues will be another ongoing issue.
Meanwhile, West Lincoln council will likely taking more steps building a multipurpose community centre in Smithville.
As for the mayoral races, here’s rundown on who’s running where. In Lincoln the race is open with Bill Hodgson bowing out.
The contestors are Robert Louis Condotta, Alvin Danyluck, Sandra Easton, Eric Gilbert and John Kralt.
West Lincoln’s current mayor is Douglas Joyner and his competition is John Glazier.
Grimsby’s current mayor Bob Bentley is running against Wayne Fertich, Robert Greco, Tony Serafini.
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