In ads in The Ottawa Citizen and in this week’s Manotick Messenger, the City has invited people in Ottawa’s rural villages to participate in its rural review process and attend workshops. Meetings are planned for: Ashton, Munster and Fallowfield; Kars and Burritt’s Rapids; Manotick; Greely; Osgoode; Metcalfe; and, Vernon, Kenmore and Marionville.
North Gower is not on the list. Why? Because a Community Design Plan was already developed, with plenty of input from the community, and it was approved by Ottawa City Council in January 2008. The plan may be found on the City’s website at:
The problem: a few months after that, Germany-based Prowind Canada appears with a proposal for industrial wind turbines for the North Gower area. Although the explanation is that the turbines (626-foot/190-meter tall structures to generate power from wind energy) will be far away from the actual village, the truth in subsequent years is a bit different: in fact, several of the turbines will be not far from the village boundary, and quite close to many homes in a North Gower subdivision. (What is “quite close”? Since many jurisdictions in Europe are now using a 2-km setback, the turbines will be within 2 km of many homes in North Gower and Richmond.)
Pegged at $20 million, and with industrial structures that will be seen–and experienced– at a distance, this is easily the largest development project ever for North Gower/south Richmond. And yet, it’s not in the Community Design Plan. Industrialization of the area was anticipated and planned for, to be located near the 416 and Roger Stevens.
So, the Community Design Plan is not to be revisited until 2013, but today we have a curious situation: a $20-million industrial power generation project is proposed for the area, but not even contemplated in the current design plan. Is that appropriate? Especially with reports of health effects, reduced property values and abandoned homes in areas where they already have industrial wind turbines?
Questions? Comments? The City is asking for feedback: “Get ready to talk about your village at the workshop.” According to the City’s notices, the telephone number is 613-580-2424 extensions 23463 or 43011, or you may send a fax to 613-580-2459, or email the Planning and Growth Management Department at the City of Ottawa, at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Of course, the Green Energy Act supercedes 21 pieces of legislation in this province and has removed the ability of municipalities to plan for renewable energy projects, but that hasn’t stopped more than SEVENTY Ontario municipalities from taking steps to protect their residents: they’re asking for a moratorium on industrial wind development and they are taking what steps they can such as withholding building permits, establishing their own setbacks from turbines, and promising to enforce local noise bylaws.)
“Time to talk about your village”? Indeed it is.