(November 26, 2014) Today, Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson reintroduced legislation to restore municipal controls over where renewable energy projects like wind turbines and solar farms are built, if at all. Wilson originally introduced the legislation in February, but it died on the order paper when the provincial election was called.
“With the municipal election over and the formation of new councils across the province, I thought it imperative to reintroduce this legislation as many of the new council members may not be aware of it,” said Wilson.
Wilson’s bill aims to amend the Planning Act to restore municipal planning authority that existed prior to the Green Energy Act (GEA). The GEA exempted renewable energy projects from the municipal process. The bill will give municipalities back the control to make land use decisions they have traditionally been allowed to make.
Wilson drafted the legislation after the Liberals accepted an application for a wind turbine project in his riding that all four surrounding municipalities are against.
“One project in my riding that should ring alarm bells is WPD Canada’s proposal to build eight 500 foot tall turbines beside the Collingwood Airport,” said Wilson. “Anyone that lives in the community can see that it’s an absolute absurd proposal, and yet the Ontario government continues to perpetuate the idea.”
Wilson has questioned the government on this specific project many times. The Minister of Energy and the Minister of the Environment repeatedly reply with the same response their colleagues were using two years ago claiming that federal safety regulations are in place to ensure safety. Each time Wilson has to remind the Wynne government that Transport Canada only enforces safety regulations for certified airports and the Collingwood Airport is not a certified airport.
“This legislation will hopefully get the support of all parties in the legislature,” said Wilson. “This is an issue my colleagues and I strongly believe in and we will not give up.”
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