New government, same old decisions
The Ontario government under Premier Doug Ford is beginning to “wear” the repercussions from decisions on development by the Environmental Review Tribunal, says a writer with Ontario Farmer.
In his “Eastern Limits” column in the weekly farm publication, writer Tom Van Dusen says “For the second time is only a few weeks, an Eastern Ontario community action group has been rebuffed by the provincial Environmental Review Tribunal in its efforts to preserve pristine farmland and a rural quality of life.”
Van Dusen refers to the recent decision to allow approval of a major landfill site that has been inactive since its first approval 20 years ago, and to the decision to dismiss the appeal of the Nation Rise wind power project, despite multiple environmental concerns.
“It’s enough to make you think that the Tribunal designated under the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks tends to favour big business over preservation of natural landscape.
“Shouldn’t it be the other way around?”
Van Dusen cites the fact that the approval for Nation Rise, a 100-megawatt wind power project in North Stormont, came days before the writ period in the last election, and more crucial, the final clearance was granted by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) June 13, a week after the election which saw the LIberals turfed out of government. While this decision came during the “caretaker” period and should probably not have been made, it was the critical factor that made the Nation Rise contract with government “iron clad” — the Ford government now claims it cannot get out of the contract.
That date, by the way, was only obtained by citizens under a Freedom of Information request — the IESO would not release the information voluntarily.
“That seems completely unethical,” Raymond Grady of North Stormont told writer Van Dusen, who concludes, “ethics in politics tend to be loosely and conveniently interpreted.”