The Stratford Beacon Herald
By DONAL O’CONNOR STAFF REPORTER
The McGuinty government must start treating local residents and municipalities with respect when it comes to industrial wind-farm proposals, newly elected Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece said in his first statement to the Ontario legislature.
“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,” he said Thursday, backing a Local Municipality Democracy bill introduced by Conservative MPP Todd Smith (Prince Edward-Hastings).
Pettapiece cited the municipalities of North Perth and West Perth, Mapleton Township and Wellington County as being among 80 municipalities that are opposed to industrial wind-turbine development and the government’s Green Energy Act.
“If the government were to really listen to these municipalities, there would be no good reason for them to oppose this bill,” he said.
In an interview Saturday, Pettapiece
said it was “quite a thrill” to address the legislature for the first time.
“It’s quite and honour and quite a thrill to do that,” he said.
Wind farms were a critical issue, particularly in the northern part of the riding, during the October provincial election which resulted in the defeat locally of former MPP and environment minister John Wilkinson.
Pettapiece said he felt strongly he should speak to the bill introduced by his colleague.
He acknowledged there are many more than 80 municipalities in the province but said a number of them aren’t affected, some because wind tests have indicated insufficient wind velocity.
Pettapiece said he thinks the government imposed the wind turbine regulations on the municipalities because it knew there would be disagreement.
“They knew there was going to be controversy so they just went this route with it.”
Liberal MPPs were joined by those of the NDP in voting down the PC legislation aimed at giving municipalities planning authority over industrial wind farms.
Earlier in the day, Pettapiece met with representatives of Wind Concerns Ontario and other members of the PC caucus.