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Here from the Manotick Messenger, is an excerpt from Ward 21 Councillor Scott Moffatt‘s account of the North Gower-Richmond Not A Willing Host petition effort and inclusion in a City of Ottawa motion–which passed unanimously at council.

Other municipalities have been demanding a return of local land use planning powers–in fact, since before the Green Energy Act–but Ottawa, as the second largest city in the province, is the most populous municipality to do so.

The Not A Willing Host communities now number 75: to see the list and map, go to www.ontario-unwilling-hosts.org

2013 is turning out to be a year where issues under provincial jurisdiction are coming up time and time again.These issues give the City of Ottawa a minimal role in the final approval, whether it is the approval of a landfill expansion on Carp Road, or the proposal of expanding gaming within City limits. One of these issues, renewable energy projects, is not new to our area and stems from the…Green Energy Act, which gives municipalities no role in the approval of solar projects or wind power projects.

Nowhere in Ottawa is this issue more prevalent than in North Gower. In 2008, a wind developer came forward with an application for ten industrial wind turbines to be installed between North Gower and Richmond. It is important to note that this project has never been approved and there has not been an opportunity for them to apply since 2010*, but with a new application process being developed and the continuing interest of this wind developer, the potential does still remain.

[*Editor’s note: this is not quite accurate. At the time the province suspended applications for its Feed In Tariff subsidy program, Prowind’s North Gower project, Marlborough Wind Farm, was already on the list of applicants and was awaiting an economic connection test. Just two weeks ago, Prowind sent an email to Ottawa Wind Concerns to say it will be reviewing the requirements in the new application process, and would likely re-apply.]

The challenge for municipalities for these applications is that they do not have the ability to weigh in on the topic, conduct a meaningful consultation process or make any substantive recommendations on applications. This has led to over 70 municipalities across Ontario declaring them as Not A Willing Host to a wind power project. Residents of North Gower and the surrounding area recently came together and submitted a petition to the City of Ottawa that included 1,228 names declaring North Gower as Not A Willing Host.

… This led to the unanimous approval of a motion I put forward at Council last week that asks the Province of Ontario to make the necessary legislation and/or regulatory changes to provide municipalities with a substantive and meaningful role in siting wind power projects. City Council, in a 24-0 vote, sent a strong message to the Province that we should have a real voice in approving these projects.

This is a motion not just for North Gower or Ottawa, but for every municipality in Ontario.

Energy Minister Chiarelli, in testifying before the committee looking at the gas plant cancellations, said last week that it will be “virtually impossible” for a wind power proponent to receive approval without “significant” involvement or support from a municipality. Until we see the new process, we don’t know exactly what that means, but can it be the province really has been “listening” to the municipalities? MPP Lisa Thompson told the Minister in the same hearing session, “You better start listening to the 75 municipalities–you know what I mean.”

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