“Overwhelmingly fraudulent”; “we were ready with a team of lawyers”; “property values are decreased because of forced wind turbine projects” … and more.
Ontario community groups, municipal representatives and individual citizens responded to the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) request for feedback on its renewable power bid process.
The IESO published a summary of comments received in its online survey, yesterday.
Ottawa Wind Concerns was among the community groups responding to this survey.
Key issues were the fact that the process was difficult to understand, unfair to individuals and communities, and that so-called “community engagement” was a false promise, given that community support (or lack of it) was just one of the rated criteria in the bid process, not a mandatory requirement.
Municipal governments are forced to determine whether they support a power project with very little information, representatives said. The rated criteria activities to indicate community support were ineffective, said most of the municipal government representative responding: 70 percent said the activities prescribed were “somewhat” or “very” ineffective.
|The mandatory meeting was set up in a format that was to leave everyone with the least amount of say as possible. There were large displays set up showing the project. There was no intention for any real interaction with the participants. We had to basically demand a question and answer period. Questions and answers in a public format is the way these mandatory meetings should be set up to ensure that the correct info is actually being presented.|
|The mandatory community engagement requirements and optional rated criteria community support activities were neither clear nor successful in raising awareness within the Project Community. How can a requirement to consult members of a community (and having owners sign a support form) on an existing line that had already been fully and duly permitted and that represents no new or additional impact for them be considered mandatory and successful in raising awareness or support for the project? The Rated Criteria points associated with obtaining a support resolution from the municipal council gives too much negotiation leverage to the Municipalities. Rated Criteria points should also be allocated following a prorated basis instead of a all or nothing basis, especially the ones associated with abutting landowners support.|
Some respondents questioned the municipal support process, saying that councils ignored community wishes and/or had pecuniary interests in the proposed power projects.
|I was part of the General Public who attended meetings and proposal meetings. Our elected officials were not responsive to the general public opinion which was 80% plus against the proposal so we had to fight our representatives. The process was very poor and at least 1 of our political persons refused to withdraw from voting and would directly benefit from the projects if approved. I felt like I lived in a 3rd world country.|
Other respondents decried the loss of good Ontario farmland for power projects, and the social impact on communities when some landowners took out leases or accepted payments for support of abutting power projects.
Another concern was the communities and neighbours to power projects had no idea the bid was coming until it was put together.
|Very simple. Let communities decide whether they want these projects or not. Let neighbors know from the very outset that their communities are being considered. Holding a propaganda session once the project is ready to be submitted is not community involvement.|
The IESO document is available here.