Meaford council has approved a resolution put forward by Deputy Mayor Harley Greenfield which calls for Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty to invoke an immediate moratorium on the construction of wind turbine installations in Ontario for one year, with a provision for yearly extensions as required.
“Now therefore be it resolved that Council of The Municipality of Meaford does hereby support the Municipality of Arran-Elderslie and the other many municipalities across the province who share these concerns regarding the damaging and devastating repercussions within our communities, and hereby request the Premier to invoke an immediate moratorium of one year, with yearly extensions as required on the construction of Industrial Wind Turbines within the Province of Ontario until the concerns noted above are properly studied and addressed,” read the final paragraph of the resolution.
The issues that Meaford and other municipalities who have endorsed similar resolutions would like to see addressed include not only potential health implications which have been the focus of previous resolutions, but also establishing appropriate setbacks for wind turbines, devaluation of neighbouring properties, decimation of the rural landscape, destruction of wildlife habitats, and the stripping of municipal planning and approval powers with regard to wind farm developments.
Greenfield told reporters after the meeting that the new resolution also highlights concerns raised by the Auditor General of Ontario in a recent report that called attention to a wide range of problems associated with Ontario's Green Energy Act including excessive costs associated with the development of wind energy generation in the province, and the shortfall of job creation that had been a key selling feature of the Green Energy Act.
“[The resolution] calls for a moratorium on any more IWT projects being approved in rural Ontario. The clause about the decimation of rural landscapes; I've had that one on my mind for a long time. It talks about the Auditor General being somewhat skeptical of the situation as far as jobs created, or jobs lost, and also the denial of the province to allow local municipalities to make up their minds on these particular planning issues,” offered Greenfield.
Greenfield credits the Ontario Federation of Agriculture for paving the way for the latest round of resolutions from municipalities across the province calling for a moratorium.
“It was the Ontario Federation of Agriculture that really got this ball rolling, and that's an organization with something in the order of 34 thousand people in Ontario, and when you consider that number of people in a rural population that is declining yearly, that's a pretty important force, an important voice, and I really think that Meaford which is still primarily a rural municipality should be listening to this group,” said Greenfield.
Greenfield stressed that the resolution is not a statement against wind turbines themselves, or other alternative energy sources, but is rather an expression of concern with how the province has implemented the Green Energy Act itself.
“We do have a number of our residents who oppose wind turbines, and I simply object to having the province rush these through. The Green Energy Act in theory is wonderful, but in actual practice there's some problems,” suggested Greenfield.
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