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Too big, too close, too noisy: Ontario wind turbine regulations have failed rural communities. Will Ottawa be a leader in protecting health and safety?

July 28, 2021

In a letter to Ottawa Wind Concerns from Alain Miguelez, Ottawa’s Manager of Planning Policy and Resiliency, the timeline for the new Official Plan and public consultation is laid out. And, we have a better idea of when the zoning that will apply to wind power projects will be developed.

Here’s what he said:

The revised version of Ottawa’s new Official Plan will be posted on the Official Plan webpage very shortly. The new Official Plan will include policies that will:


·           Generally direct where large-scale renewable energy generation projects are to be located in the rural area;

·           Be consistent with the Provincial Policy Statement for renewable energy generation in prime agricultural areas; and  

·            Provide direction to establish zoning by-law provisions for renewable energy generation facilities to address impacts such as noise and shadowing.*

 Although other municipalities have more detailed policies about wind for their Official Plans, Ottawa will address this level of detail through the subsequent zoning bylaw as noted in the third bullet above.

 When the new Official Plan is released, additional detail will be provided about how to make public delegations at the statutory public meeting expected later this summer and at the Joint Planning and Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee meeting, currently scheduled September 13-15

 Following Council adoption of the Official Plan, work will begin on the zoning bylaw.  Public and stakeholder consultation will be undertaken on any new proposed zoning provisions, including those related to wind. The new Official is not subject to appeal but the new zoning regulations will be.**

(*With respect to Mr. Miguelez, this statement is not correct: it is possible, we believe, to appeal sections of and amendments to the Official Plan though not, as he says, the entire Plan itself. ** There are many other impacts from wind power generators and the associated infrastructure.)

We have already written to Mr. Miguelez offering to provide information that we and Wind Concerns Ontario have about setbacks and noise regulations employed in other jurisdictions, including the European Union. We also recommend that the City talk to officials in other municipalities where people are already living with wind turbines, to find out what the issues are.

Again, the Ontario regulations for noise limits and setbacks are not adequate; they were established in 2009 (with more than a little input from the wind power industry) and have not changed in 12 years, despite province-wide problems with turbines.

The approvals process needs change, too, as does the process to appeal a wind power project approval—the current one is restrictive and unjust. We sent a letter to Ontario’s new environment minister yesterday, requesting change.

Ottawa has an opportunity to be a leader in developing zoning bylaws that will truly protect health and safety, and the environment.



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