QUEEN’S PARK – Simcoe-Grey’s Member of Provincial Parliament is not just tilting at windmills, he’s cursing them.
In the Ontario Legislature on Tuesday, Jim Wilson continued to press the Liberal government for answers on the status of a wind energy project proposed for the area around the Collingwood Regional Airport.
In a question put to Premier Kathleen Wynne, Wilson suggested the project was on the verge of receiving Ministry of Environment approval.
“All four surrounding municipalities are against this project; they would like their planning power back so that at least they would have the common sense and wisdom to not put these damn things next to an airport,” Wilson told Environment Minister Glen Murray in his supplementary question. “It’s insane what you’re doing.”
The local airport board has been fighting the project for the last three years, when it was determined at least two of eight 500-foot-tall wind turbines proposed to be built by WPD Canada north of County Road 91 would be within 2.1 nautical miles of the main runway.
The airport board has asserted the proposed locations of those turbines would present a potential safety hazard to aircraft, especially in the landing or take-off phase.
WPD has responded, saying the proposed location of the turbines would only affect about three out of 12,000 or so aircraft movements in and out of the local airport on an annual basis.
In his question to the premier, Wilson suggested the turbines could be approved by the end of this month.
Murray, who answered the question in the place of Wynne, stated the federal government regulates airports and airport standards.
“We’re looking for some leadership from the federal government,” Murray told the legislature.
“This process just keeps plowing ahead,” Wilson retorted. “The federal government has no rules about wind turbines near airports … the municipalities used to have the planning tools to make sure this didn’t happen.
“[The federal government] is looking at you like a bunch of dummies that you would actually do this in the first place.”
The local airport is not certified by Transport Canada, nor are there airport zoning regulations in place to control what could be developed in the surrounding area.
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