Ontario’s environmental commissioner made a stop in Port Elgin to open the Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation’s biennial conference.
Dianne Saxe delivered the keynote address, outlining her role as the provincial environmental watchdog, including tips for making public comments stand out to government decision makers.
Saxe says provincial ministries have improved their compliance with the Environmental Bill of Rights since she was appointed to her post late last year, adding there were obsolete notices on the books dating back ten years that have been cleaned up.
She touched on issues of local significance, including the spread of invasive species like phragmites, pointing out there’s frustration with the amount of time it takes to receive a permit from the province to be able to spray the weeds.
Saxe says she’s also keeping an eye on new noise guidelines from the Ministry of Environment for industrial wind turbines.
She says Ombudsman Paul Dube has received many complaints about wind turbines and whether or not ministry officials are enforcing their own noise regulations.
“[The ombudsman’s office] have had people working on this issue for several years, so I’ve been coordinating with the ombudsman’s office and the ministry to make sure that they know we’re both watching to see that they do follow the guidelines and enforce the rules on wind turbines,” says Saxe.
She adds she had a meeting recently with Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson and a group of wind energy opponents, and her office is still following up on information provided in the meeting.
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