The Honourable Brad Duguid
Minister of Energy and Infrastructure
900 Bay Street, 4th Floor
Subject: Impact of Wind Farms on Tourism Destinations
We recognize the Ontario government has developed a clear policy to replace fossil fuel electricity generation with "green" energy alternatives. Under Bill 150, The Green Energy and Green Economy Act, a number of amendments were made to the Planning Act which allows certain approval process exemptions for green energy projects. These amendments have reduced the opportunity for the public and businesses to raise concerns with negative impacts that could arise from these projects.
A case in point relates to the sighting of wind turbines in tourism regions. Ontario is known for its natural beauty and pristine countryside. Many destinations throughout the province highlight this splendor in their marketing campaigns. This is particularly true when marketing internationally in Europe and Asia. Our association is very concerned that locating wind turbines within certain tourism regions will have a detrimental impact on the natural appeal of that area.
Currently there are numerous wind farms proposed for significant tourism destinations such as Prince Edward County, Ontario's South Coast, Ontario's West Coast, Kingston & the Islands and Muskoka to name a few. The lead tourism products in these areas are based on nature and the outdoors with their sandy beaches, numerous lakes and spectacular vistas.
The Tourism Industry Association of Ontario supports the move of the Province to a more environmentally sustainable energy strategy. However, we do not support a strategy that will unduly disadvantage tourism areas and businesses. We ask that due consideration be given to the potential negative impacts on tourism businesses when locating proposed wind farms. We strongly recommend establishing minimum distance guidelines for sighting of wind turbines near tourism destinations particularly for those areas that rely on maintaining an unblemished viewscape for visitors.
The Tourism Industry Association of Ontario represents the diverse organizations and businesses that generate in excess of $22 Billion annually from tourism activity. The industry employs over 300,000 people in direct and indirect jobs.
Thank you for considering our concerns.
Bill Allen, President
Tourism Industry Association of Ontario
cc. The Honourable Michael Chan, Minister of Tourism and Culture
Drew Fagan, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Tourism and Culture