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So, the Throne Speech was delivered today from the “new” government, headed by brand new Premier Kathleen Wynne.

We are not much heartened by its content.

The only part that had anything to do with wind power generation projects, which Wynne has acknowledged is a very sore point with Ontario’s rural and small urban communities, is this:

Your government intends to work with municipalities on other issues, too.
Because communities must be involved and connected to one another.
They must have a voice in their future and a say in their integrated, regional development.
So that local populations are involved from the beginning if there is going to be a gas plant or a casino or a wind plant or a quarry in their hometown.
Because our economy can benefit from these things, but only if we have willing hosts.

We’re not sure what being “involved from the beginning” of a process to establish a wind power plant might look like, but when they put having a “voice” in the context of “integrated, regional development” that might just mean the small communities that are part of larger municipalities–like Ottawa, like West Lincoln–can “voice” their concerns all they want but the people in the larger community, who will never have to live next to a 626-foot, 2.5 Megawatt power generator, will drown those voices out. How will the government determine what is a “willing host”?

And what has happened to the “voice” already? Before the Green Energy Act was passed, dozens of communities complained about the loss of local land use planning powers, and they have continued to do so. Communities like North Perth, Picton and others have actually held their own referenda on wind power projects —didn’t amount to a hill of beans with the McGuinty government. McGuinty’s so-called point system, which was crafted to make it look like there was community involvement, meant that communities could go up on the list of power plants to be approved, but they could never get off.

Small urban and rural communities need to see more than this. Right now, people are being made ill by the environmental noise and vibration, homes are being left vacant, community social fabric being ripped apart…and the promise today is a “voice.”

We want more.

Let’s start with a HALT to all approvals until Ontario has done a proper cost-benefit analysis of wind power projects (that INCLUDES the effects on property values to neighbouring properties within 2-3 km) and the economics of wind power generation; and a HALT to the Feed In tariff subsidy program; and REPEAL of the Green Energy Act. Let’s get serious about measuring the noise from existing wind power projects. Let’s help the people who are sick now, and whose homes are worth nothing. And let’s wait until the health studies are actually done before we keep putting more of these things up.

 

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