The McGuinty Government recently introduced a piece of legislation by wan12683


									January 10, 2006

The Editor

Dear Mr. Potter:
The Provincial Government recently introduced a piece of legislation to amend the
Planning Act. This is identified as Bill 51 and was approved on first reading on
December 12, 2005. Buried within this Bill is a clause 23 to add a sub-paragraph to
Section 62 of the Planning Act which would exempt private sector energy development
projects in excess of 2 megawatts from the requirements of the Planning Act. This will
allow the McGuinty cabinet to exempt from local control all decisions related to large
scale energy projects including renewable generation, transmission line construction, and
ancillary structures. Presumably this would include the current proposal by Brascan
Power Wind to construct a wind farm on the Blue Highlands.

The Blue Highlands Citizens Coalition strongly opposes Section 23 of Bill 51. The
planning, siting and permitting of private sector power generation facilities should remain
subject to local municipal control. The two principles which we have always stood for,
local control and responsible, informed decision-making, are offended by this proposed
elimination of municipal control over energy development issues. Land use planning
issues are best dealt with through control at the local municipal level. The proponent-
driven nature of the environmental screening process (a process which the Ministry of the
Environment has recognized is in need of reform) provides little to no assurance that
credible and legitimate local land use planning issues (e.g., density, set-backs, maximum
height, cumulative effects of multiple projects, etc.) will be adequately addressed.

Regardless of where one stands with regard to either the current wind power proposal, or
any other form of renewable energy development, this seizure of local control is utterly
inconsistent with democratic principles and should be vigorously opposed by local
councils and concerned citizens.

Public input is essential if Section 23 of Bill 51 is to be amended so as to ensure that
private sector power generation development remains the subject of both (i) responsible,
informed decision-making, and (ii) local municipal control. To see how individuals can
express their concerns, please visit our homepage at and click on “Bill 51”.

Michael Young
Vice President
Blue Highlands Citizens Coalition

NOTE: This letter was published verbatim in the Thornbury Courier-Herald on
Jan 11/06

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