As Deputy Mayor of South Stormont, I would like to state my position on wind and solar farms in Ontario.
Like everyone else, I believe in clean and sustainable forms of energy.
However, I do not agree with the way this Liberal government has set out to achieve their goal...to eliminate all coal fired generating stations by 2015 and to create 60,000 green energy jobs, both unrealistic expectations.
A more common sense, practical, realistic and studied approach to green energy could have easily been accomplished with far greater success and at a less burdensome cost to the taxpayer. Some options that come to mind are: Buy cheap hydro from Quebec, use cleaner coal, brushers in the stacks, and continue to research cheaper ways of improving our usage. Improve existing warn out equipment.
As it stands now, Ontario's power rates are soon to become the highest in North America. Businesses can't afford to compete with high electricity rates. So they move elsewhere or shut down. As a result, municipalities are feeling the squeeze with fewer tax dollars to spend as a direct result of less growth and employment in the area.
Solar farms are classed as "Industrial vacant" which amounts to little more than .25% (point twenty-five percent) of the residential tax rate.
Therefore, solar and wind farms provide very little property tax and generate minimal revenue to municipalities.
In 2005 the Ontario government implemented the Provincial Policy Statement. The purpose of the PPS is to provide for appropriate development on lands while protecting resources of provincial interest, public health and safety and quality of the natural environment.
It's obvious that wind and solar farms are doing the opposite. There is lots of evidence that claim they are destroying habitat, farmland, wetlands and forests as a result they are killing thousands of birds, bats, fish, wild life and species at risk every day. No environmental study is required.
This Liberal government has totally contradicted its own land use policy by allowing wind and solar farms to go up basically anywhere in Ontario without any input from municipalities.
Many municipalities throughout Ontario and close to home in SD&G have to deal with wind turbines and solar farms that are literally tearing apart their communities.
They are pitting neighbour against neighbour. Contrary to MPAC statements, land values near wind and solar farms are decreasing. No one wants to purchase a house beside a 350' wind turbine. Questions still remain unanswered. Who is going to dismantle these projects after the twenty year agreements are up and the businesses have disappeared? Will it be you or will it be you're municipal tax dollars?
Ontario has a surplus of energy right now and before any of these structures were put up. Wind and solar account for less than one per cent of Ontario's energy used each day. On a per kilowatt basis it is the most expensive energy produced.
Countries such as the UK and Germany the world's leading pioneers of solar and wind are backing off from wind and solar because these types of power are not profitable except with huge government subsidies. We need to do the same before it's too late.
Tammy A. Hart,