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Councillors elected to make good decisions in times of need

The first responsibility of any elected official is to ensure that the people who elected them are being represented and secondly that in times of need, our elected leaders will make good decisions.  When it comes to the decade long debate over industrial wind turbines (IWTs), our municipal council has failed us on both accounts – miserably!

It doesn’t matter if you are for or against the wind machines – what I’m writing about is the lack of public process and lack of council involvement – in other words the people we elected to uphold our democratic system didn’t do the their job.  I understand the undemocratic limitations that our provincial government imposed on local councils when it came to alternate energy, but that didn’t mean that our council had to remain quiet and accept it – which they did. They could have engaged in direct conversations with this community about what the facts are surrounding these huge machines – but that would have meant for them to educate themselves with the facts, and we now know that didn’t happen.  Despite the ongoing war of words between groups in our community over IWTs, our council did nothing to calm the waters or to clarify the situation.  They mistakenly believed that the controversy would deflect responsibility away from them.  Not so!

According to the latest news articles, our council didn’t have the basic information to appeal IWTs at Ostrander Point.  After years of non-involvement, neither council nor our staff had the necessary information to launch an appeal.  A fair question to ask is – what information has council been functioning on all these years?  Council gave the responsibility to various citizen groups to appeal on behalf of this community!  In other words our council has totally abdicated their responsibility to represent this community at a time when they are needed the most!  One newspaper account reported that our council was afraid to appeal Ostrander Point in the event of provincial reprisals.  What nonsense!  The process was there for our council to use – instead they hired a lawyer and decided to do nothing!
For the most important development issue in this county’s history, one that could potentially impact on all aspects of county life – our council for years avoided taking an official position on turbines, and even today they still don’t have one- unbelievable!

Without an official municipal position of opposing wind turbines, it made it easy for the province to ignore us – and they did.

Even at the eleventh hour when appealing the Ostrander Point development was still possible, our council abdicated their responsibility by deciding to do nothing – again!

The mayor and every council member should hang their heads in shame – they have left our community unprotected from developers.

Dennis Fox
Northport 

Filed Under: Letters and Opinion

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  1. Gary Mooney says:

    Some more attention to the wind energy issue by Council:

    1. At its Council meeting on Jan 22, Council voted down a motion by Alec Lunn to donate $50K to PECFN for its ERT appeal on grounds of serious and irreversible harm to the natural environment. The vote was 3 to 13, with Councillors H. Campbell, Lunn and Quaiff the only ones voting in favour (and Mayor Mertens not voting as Chair).

    2. Council then passed a motion of support for PECFN, with only Councillors Marisett, Forrester and one other opposed.

    3. At the Committee of the Whole meeting on Jan 24, a budget item was approved for Councillor Quaiff to attend a Feb. 22 symposium for municipal officials on dealing with wind energy development, sponsored by the Township of Wainfleet (south of Hamilton). Councillors Forrester and MacDonald were opposed, and Councillor Marisett was absent.

  2. mike mcquoid says:

    I like to know how council can back anybody without a clear mandate.all they have is there own preference.i don’t know how they can call themselves elected officials.those who have not supported a referendum should step down in such important matters ! I don’t remember being asked my opinion.
    I see allot of cell towers and internet towers go up an there no big deal. i have no less than seven towers around me .
    I have a solution ,rip down all the cell towers and put up windmills and mount all the cell and internet on them .then you will here no complains . Because all the loud mouths need there cells and internet .Thats the truth.it like everything is about money not birds .I am a true environmentalist all the time not when it is convenient . The windmills and the solar panel are all about the next step .Reducing our dependence on oil .
    I SAY ALL THOSE THAT DON’T WANT SOLAR AND WIND GO TO ONTARIO HYDRO STEP IT UP AND SIGN ON THE DOTTED LINE .THOSE PEOPLE WILL HAVE THERE HYDRO DISCONNECTED. THEN WE WILL NOT NEED THE WIND MILLS ,PROBLEM SOLVED .Bet you will not see any of them down there .Why because there greedy ,what there cake and eat it.
    WE DON.T NEED TO ask council permission because they are nothing but hypocrites with self interest. Prove me wrong i dare you ,hold a referendum .
    Council should be dissolved after the park at the top of the town hill.the church was a disgrace don’t let this be council’s decision its to important.
    If i was to run for council there be allot of shit going down and Councillors quitting!
    Step up or get the …..out of the way!

  3. Mark says:

    It is unbelievable that with arguably the biggest impact upon the County and it’s citizens in generations about to take place and blow us all away,Council does nothing. Being unprepared at this stage and blaming the appeal rules, and lawyers opinion is no excuse. This was Council’s defining opportunity and they chose to do nothing. They had an opportunity to stand up for the citizens and speak loudly in defence of our environment and landowners. Their silence is deafening and the subsidized corporations are elated as they are left unchallenged to count their green. When push came to shove Council wilted and left the dirty work to others. Dennis has got it right. Hope he runs in 2014.

  4. David Norman says:

    Could we have an official municipal (County) referendum on this issue to settle this matter democratically and give a clear indication of voice of the “majority” of people of Prince Edward County? It is as Dennis says, too important an issue to do nothing but acquiesce to Industrial Wind Turbine development without even a challenge to our provincial overlords! I could be mistaken but I gather a 2/3 representation (?) is necessary for a vote of this nature to be considered… perhaps other important County governance items such as Council size, etc. might be included to encourage voter turnout?

  5. Doris Lane says:

    Excellent article Dennis. I believe that the majority of council do not understand the IWT process. Therefore they could not appeal as they did not have the knowledge. Sad is it not. However, I know a couple of councillors who are well informed on the issue.
    I have not seen anything constructive that the council has done yet. It is time for them to step up to the plate and make a difference where it counts.

  6. Lori Cairns says:

    Well said, Dennis.

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