Bill to restore local authority defeated

A proposed bill aiming to restore municipal planning authority for industrial wind turbines has been defeated at Queen’s Park.

The Local Municipality Democracy Act, introduced by Progressive Conservative MPP Todd Smith of Prince Edward-Hastings, would have restored authority to municipalities that was stripped from them under the Green Energy Act.

But Liberal MPPs joined with the NDP on Dec. 1 to vote down the legislation by a vote of 45-32.

Following the vote, newly elected Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece delivered a statement in the legislature calling on the Liberal government to treat local residents and municipalities with respect when it comes to industrial wind farm development proposals.

“As MPPs, we must never forget one of our most important responsibilities, and that is to speak up for those who believe that the government is not listening to their voices and is ignoring their concerns,” said Pettapiece.

He spoke in favour of the Local Municipality Democracy Act.

“I’m told that no fewer than 80 municipal councils have passed resolutions, motions or bylaws regarding industrial wind turbine development and the Green Energy Act,” he said.

Among those municipalities are the townships of Mapleton, Centre Wellington and Wellington North, the municipalities of North Perth and West Perth and the County of Wellington.

“If the [Liberal] government were to really listen to these municipalities, there would be no good reason for them to oppose this bill,” said Pettapiece.

Currently, if the provincial government approves an industrial wind farm, the affected municipality has no way to stop it.

“I’m extremely disappointed that the Liberals have essentially told municipalities that their views don’t count,” said Pettapiece.

Earlier in the day, he met with representatives of Wind Concerns Ontario along with other members of the PC caucus. He also attended a rally outside Queen’s Park, where PC leader Tim Hudak addressed those concerned about the Liberal government’s wind energy policy.