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September 29, 2021

Wind turbines are an industrial use of the land, says Ottawa Wind Concerns

The City of Ottawa’s planning department will present the changes to Ottawa’s new Official Plan at 6:30 p.m. today, in a virtual presentation.

At issue for rural residents is Section 4.11 which allows for “renewable energy facilities” in “agricultural resource areas.”

In an earlier draft, the renewable energy facilities were described as “Large-scale wind” and solar, and the placement included “prime agricultural land.”

The Current draft reads:

Renewable Energy Generation

3) Renewable energy generation facilities that are subject to Provincial approvals will be permitted as a principal use within the following designations:

a) Rural Countryside;

b) Greenbelt Rural and Greenbelt Facility; and

c) Natural Environment Area sub-designation, subject to the policies of Subsection 7 .3.

4) Renewable energy generation facilities that are subject to provincial approvals and are subordinate to a principal use will be permitted within the following designations:

a) Agricultural Resource Area, only as an on-farm diversified use; and

b) Rural Industrial and Logistics.

5) The following considerations will be used to establish zoning by-law provisions for such renewable energy generation facilities:

a) Limiting nuisance impacts. such as through siting and screening requirements;

b) Limiting impacts on significant natural heritage features and agricultural resource area lands; and

c) The ability to access the electricity transmission network and arterial roadways.

You must register to attend the event; you may also submit a question or comment in advance. Go to the City of Ottawa Engage site here: The New Official Plan | Engage Ottawa

Ottawa Wind Concerns has submitted several comments related to the apparent acceptance of industrial-scale or grid-scale wind power projects as an “on-farm diversified use.” Wind turbines are an industrial use of the land and not related to agriculture as is required in Ontario’s Provincial Policy Statement.

While City staff have denied that there will be wind turbines in Ottawa’s rural areas, the statements in the Official Plan are clear, as were statements made by the Manager of Planning Policy as a presentation in June. In the city’s Energy Evolution document, it is stated that a “project metric” is to have 20 megawatts of wind power installed by 2025. (See the link below for the Energy Evolution strategy.)