Environmental Commissioner hears concerns about turbines

QUEEN’S PARK– When it comes to renewable energy procurement in Ontario, there are key aspects of the process that just don’t seem to be working, said Lisa Thompson, MPP for Huron-Bruce in a meeting Monday with Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner Dianne Saxe. Municipal representatives and citizens groups were also on hand to share their experiences with Industrial Wind Turbines in Ontario communities.

“At a time when our province is selling power at a loss to other jurisdictions, there is no need for further projects that seemingly serve proponents at the expense of taxpayers,” said Thompson.

Earlier this week, the Ministry of Energy announced that it was launching a new Request for Qualifications process for renewable energy projects, with the goal of encouraging the selection of projects with local support.

Contracts awarded in March however, show that this has not always been the case. The municipality of Dutton/Dunwich, a participant in Monday’s meeting, is slated to see a 58MW wind farm developed in the area, despite having declared itself an unwilling host community.

Heather Stauble from the City of Kawartha Lakes was also on hand to share a similar story, and highlighted for the Commissioner the challenges her municipality has been facing with regards to access to information and the redaction of expert testimony during Tribunals.

Additionally, Warren Howard of Wind Concerns Ontario highlighted the fact that there have been 2,700 noise complaints filed with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC), and asked the Commissioner to look into Ontario’s noise regulations under Section 61 of the Environmental Protection Act.

“Clearly something is broken. Mechanisms such as the Environmental Bill of Rights are failing Ontarians, and proper consultation processes are not being undertaken by this government,” said Thompson. “But there are opportunities. We have an Environmental Commissioner that can look into these issues, and I hope we can continue our dialogue.”

In her concluding comments, Sherri Lange of the North American Platform Against Windpower (NAPAW) reminded the Commissioner of her own words, “You cannot manage what you do not measure. Also, take your impact as seriously as if a person you love were the one most affected.”

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