Randy Pettapiece, MPP Perth-Wellington
March 15, 2012
(Perth-Wellington) – Nearly 300 people turned out to a public town hall meeting to discuss energy policy and the proliferation of industrial wind turbines. Held yesterday at the Elma Memorial Community Centre in Atwood, the meeting attracted concerned citizens from communities across Perth-Wellington.
“When it comes to wind turbines, my constituents want to be heard,” said Pettapiece after the meeting. “They believe the McGuinty government hasn’t listened to them, and I believe they’re right.”
Pettapiece spoke at the meeting, along with a panel including opposition energy critics Vic Fedeli, MPP for Nipissing, and Lisa Thompson, MPP for Huron-Bruce. Also on the panel was Warren Howard, representing Wind Concerns Ontario, and Brent Royce, President of the Perth County Federation of Agriculture.
After their remarks, audience members voiced questions and comments on a wide range of topics. Issues included the so-called Global Adjustment fees, the impact of smart meters, wind turbines’ health effects, loss of prime agricultural land, and the government’s consultation process, which was described as a sham.
Saint Columban resident Tom Melady was one of many in the audience who spoke out passionately against the McGuinty government’s energy policy: “With wind turbines, everyone loses,” Melady said.
Underlining many of the questions was a sense that the Liberal government’s energy policy is disrespectful toward rural communities. Pettapiece agreed, and he quoted Premier Dalton McGuinty’s recent remarks on an issue unrelated to wind turbines:
“I think our shared responsibility at all times is to respect the expressed will of our municipal councils,” the Premier said in the legislature on March 6. To Pettapiece and Thompson, that sounded hypocritical while the Premier is ignoring the will of rural municipalities on wind turbines.
Pettapiece plans to bring the expressed views of his constituents to Queen’s Park. He will continue to present petitions available on his website, www.pettapiece.ca. He also intends to write a comprehensive letter to the Premier outlining the concerns raised at the town hall meeting.
Energy minister Chris Bentley was invited to the meeting but declined to attend or send a representative. Pettapiece also invited the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA), but its spokesperson did not respond.