The McGuinty government’s regulation to exempt the peaker plant from the Planning Act establishes a dangerous precedent for every municipality in the province. The government’s misuse of this regulation, in a manner contrary to its own enabling legislation, could forever negatively impact Greenbelt legislation and other important pieces of environmental and planning legislation. It is also a threat to local democracy and municipal decision making.
In an absurd logical twist, reminiscent of a Monty Python skit, the government gave the gas plant a conditional environmental assessment provided it complied with all local planning requirements. When King Township rightly raised questions about the location of the plant, however, the government then exempted the plant from those very same local planning laws. No municipality should have to expend the resources to defend provincial laws from the government itself as King has had to do in standing up for Greenbelt legislation before the Ontario Municipal Board.
Yet, the McGuinty government has continued to ram this plant through, dismissing the Township and King citizens as NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard).
I have joined with King residents in their legal claim because this effort is not about NIMBYism. It is about a vigilant group of citizens taking a last stand for what is right.
Now is the time for King residents and council, as well as citizens from across the province, to support the vigilance and courage on display by the plaintiffs in this legal claim. It may be the last chance to oppose the gas generator being placed in a flood plain, on a wetlands complex linked to the Holland Marsh, some of Ontario’s most productive farmland. Joining the legal claim and/or publicly supporting the plaintiffs is a respectful way to protest the province’s disrespect of the public planning process and legitimate local citizen concerns.