Municipalities can tell you where to put your garage, site your house or rule how high your building might be, but they have no control over green energy projects.
Simcoe Grey MPP Jim Wilson felt moved to act when he read that Clearview Township and the town of Collingwood had to present an report of the economic impact of wpg Canada erecting eight 500-foot wind turbines near the Collingwood Regional Airport.
He believes that the province should restore local planning powers to the municipalities and to bring home that point he plans on reintroducing a private member's bill to the provincial legislature when it reconvenes next month.
In 2013, Wilson introduced a private member's bill calling on the Liberal government to restore local planning powers, but it didn't go far. According to Wilson, other MPPs have tried to do the same since the government established the Green Energy Act in 2009.
"I am going to call on the Premier again to listen to what the people of Simcoe-Grey are saying. Listen to what people are saying elsewhere in the province. Restore local planning power for renewable energy projects. Don't force wind turbines and solar farms on communities that don't want them, especially when there is evidence these projects will damage the economy." said Wilson.
Wilson says that he has no problems with wind turbines under proper circumstances.
"I actually approved the first turbine in 1998 when I was Energy Minister," said Wilson. "We had a policy then that we put these things up in communities where they were wanted."
"Here the proposal calls for eight 500-foot wind turbines, however, the economic impact report states the project will have significant negative impacts on the airport and neighbouring lands," Wilson said. "This study shows what we have all known for years now: that you don't put industrial wind turbines beside an airport. It's simply a ludicrous idea. And thanks to this study we now have solid evidence the wind turbine proposal will cause economic harm to the region."
The study indicated that five of the eight wind turbines would interfere with the flight paths of aircrafts coming in and out of the regional airport and also could be the dealbreaker on a proposed business park development touted for the site.