Petrolia Mayor John McCharles says Lambton County should unite to stop industrial wind turbines from popping up all over the landscape.
And that should include declaring the county not a willing host and lobbying the provincial government to return planning rights.
The county is currently considering whether to join a Charter of Rights and Freedoms case by a Goderich couple. The pair says they should not have to prove any negative health effects of turbines only the possibility of health problems to stop the project near their home. Anti turbine groups WAIT in Plympton-Wyoming, CORE in Enniskillen and Middlesex Lambton Wind Concerns want Lambton to become an intervener in the legal process in the hope that any decision to stop turbines in Huron would apply here.
The groups estimate that would cost about $20,000 however county staff say it would be far more than that.
Warden Todd Case says joining the action could be a long shot, although it may be a shot worth taking.
But McCharles disagrees. “I don’t see that it is going to benefit Lambton County … even if they win the human rights part, is that going to affect Lambton County? I’m not sure,” the mayor told The Independent.
“I would rather see money go to a county effort… to talk directly with the provincial government,” says McCharles saying Lambton should be lobbying the province to return municipal planning rights on the project. Under the Green Energy Act municipalities lost all authority to restrict where the turbines should go under the Planning Act.
“It’s a political thing,” says McCharles “why not fight it as a political fight.
“If Lambton County is not a willing host let’s say that…I would certainly support that,” says McCharles. “As far as fighting for property rights, as far as lower tier municipalities having control, I would support that.
“We need to take that one step at a time, it is a matter of discussion and it’s a matter of getting nose to nose with the people who make the decision.”
But McCharles says the county should also be prepared to fight for those rights if it needs to. “If it comes to court you have to be willing to ask, are you willing to put all your cards on the table,” says McCharles. “And court battles with the provincial government would not be cheap.”