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Coalition of ‘Unwilling Host’ Municipalities
Press Advisory August 20, 2013, Ottawa
Representatives of the 62 municipalities that have declared themselves ‘unwilling hosts’ to wind turbines are coming together during the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) meeting currently underway in Ottawa to discuss ways to bring their concerns more forcefully to the government.
According to Kevin Marriott, Mayor of Enniskillen, ‘the government has not addressed the concerns of these communities’. In the Throne Speech and other statements by the Premier, they talked about wanting to locate projects in willing host communities, but there has been no substance to these announcements in terms of municipal input will be incorporated in the process. Meanwhile, the government continues to approve wind turbine projects without consideration of municipal concerns according to Marriott.
Some municipal officials represented at AMO have already experienced the impact of wind turbines on their communities. Complaints start once when they become operational with people being forced from their homes by noise and low frequency noise vibrations. These municipalities are looking for the MOE to actually start enforcing the noise standards that they have set and to follow up on the health complaints being filed with Medical Officers of Health.
Mayor April Jeffs of Wainfleet wants the government to start applying learning from these early projects and apply increased set-backs from people’s homes to new projects before they are approved. Wainfleet adopted a 2 kilometer set-back by-law that was challenged in court by the wind developer.
Municipalities are looking for the government to return real local planning authority for wind turbines to local municipalities. These powers were taken away by the Green Energy Act. Municipalities are better placed that a Queen’s Park civil servants to identify local issues that need to be addressed in reviewing wind turbine projects. They also have processes in place to review and approve other complex or controversial projects building projects that take place in their municipalities.
The municipal representatives at AMO will be meeting Tuesday August 20 at 4:30 pm. in the Governor-General 1 on the 4th floor of the Westin Hotel in Ottawa.