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Wind Concerns Ontario has sent a letter to the Office of the Ombudsman of Ontario, asking that aspects of the approval process for wind power projects be looked at. The Ombudsman’s office has now had its role expanded to be able to look at issues of municipal concern, which may allow it to address the request of many municipalities throughout Ontario facing wind power developments and who are without any say in the siting of these projects. The Green Energy and Green Economy Act passed in 2009, over-rode 21 others Acts in Ontario, and removed local land use planning powers for Ontario municipalities with regard to renewable power projects. In the wake of municipal objections ever since, the Ontario government now says it will offer municipalities more “say” but still no veto.

That’s unacceptable says Wind Concerns Ontario, which refers to important issues:

  • documentation provided to the Ministry of the Environment is being “deemed complete” and then going to public comment; community groups performing audits on this documentation are finding, however, that the documents are often not complete and sometimes absent altogether—not acceptable
  • land leases are signed between the power developers and landowners, which means municipalities and residents can have no idea where turbines are going to be located until too late; this has the effect of halting real estate sales and “sterilizing” development
  • wind power developers (e.g., Samsung in Southgate) are now offering significant sums of money in return for municipal approval and other items such a building permits, road use, etc.
  • landowners are not being provided with the full range of information on the potential negative effects of having wind turbines on their properties

See the news release and link to the letter to the Ombudsman here.

In other news, the community near Woodstock Ontario, facing an 18-MW Prowind wind power project, has also filed a letter of complaint with the Ombudsman, citing deficiencies in documentation, and changes being made to documents AFTER the public comment period has closed. See the East Oxford Community Alliance story here. Prowind is the Germany-based developer that proposed a wind power project for the North Gower-Richmond area of Ottawa, which would have placed 10 turbines on local farm properties within 3 km of more than 1,000 families. The project is now on hold, waiting for the new large-scale renewable power procurement process to begin.

Email us at ottawawindconcerns@gmail.com

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