Toronto Star Article Misses Out on Wind Problems

October 20, 2008 at 4:12 pm Leave a comment

Kerry Gillespie of the Editorial Board of The Toronto Star wrote an article today blaming “Nimby’s” for stalling and causing delays in “Wind Farms” being developed in the Province of Ontario. Her story has caused an outburst of comments from readers who are outraged at the “biased” and “uninformed” stance this woman has taken. Read the article and then read the “comments on this story” afterwards.


EDITORIAL | Opinion | Windmills vs. NIMBYism
Windmills vs. NIMBYism

Oct 20, 2008 04:30 AM

After three years of effort, a $300 million wind farm that would have brought green power to Ontario has been cancelled. This is the latest casualty of a provincial planning process that just isn’t up to the task of ensuring that the best interests of all Ontarians prevail.

The province wants the clean energy that comes from projects like wind turbines. So much so that Energy Minister George Smitherman sent a $60 billion plan on how to meet the province’s electricity needs for the next two decades back to the drawing board to get more renewable energy and conservation into the mix.

Yet time and time again wind farms and other environmentally worthy projects run into the wall that is Ontario’s outdated, drawn-out planning process. Some manage to make it through. The wind farm planned for a township near Goderich didn’t.

The delays in getting through the process are difficult enough – often amounting to millions of wasted dollars – but the real problem comes when someone, and there’s always someone, wants to oppose the project. The NIMBYists are able to use the myriad planning steps – rezoning, official plan amendment, council approval, provincial environmental assessment and the spectre of an appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board – as weapons in their fight.

As a spokesperson for the doomed Goderich wind farm said: “We’re a very conservative province, so it’s difficult to put anything anywhere.”

It’s not just wind farms the NIMBYists fight. They also oppose traditional generating stations. That forces Ontario to buy expensive – and often dirty – power from elsewhere.

And they fight urban “intensification” in the form of highrise buildings, which help curb sprawl.

In some European jurisdictions, municipalities are given the right to say where wind turbines can’t go. But they also have to say where they can go. In Ontario, it’s simply too easy to say no and hope to delay the project long enough that the developers give up and decide to give it a try in someone else’s backyard.

The energy minister is right to call for more renewable energy. Now the provincial government must make sure its planning processes support that goal, even if it means someone may have to gaze upon a windmill from the living room window.


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