Zoning Bylaw for Wind Turbines Underway in Ottawa by Shirley Dolan

Shirley Dolan
Shirley Dolan

If you live in Ottawa, you may find it curious that the City has started development of their new zoning by-law which will include wind turbines. You may recall that the City’s Energy Evolution Plan calls for 710 wind turbines in rural Ottawa. And yet, many are not aware that they may be surrounded by industrial wind turbines by the hundreds because we have had no public consultation of the subject.

If you read the small print in your councillor’s newsletter, you might find a reference to “a convenient way to provide the City of Ottawa with your feedback on projects that matter to you? There are lots of online public engagement opportunities available that allow you to have your say!” It’s hard to make comments about a project that you may be unaware of!

The Zoning Implementation Report was approved by Ottawa City Council on July 6. An Engage Ottawa page was created for the project www.engage.ottawa.ca/new-zoning-by-law. According to the Report, discussion papers were to be released in June 2022. They were not and the new timeframe, according to Charmaine Forgie, one of the managers “listening” to our feedback, they will now be released sometime this summer (when you least expect it?).

On page 45 of the Energy Evolution action plan is the statement that a project is to be undertaken in the electricity sector between 2020 and 2025, which requires specifically the installation of:

  • 150 megawatts of solar power generation
  • 20 megawatts of wind
  • 20 megawatts of hydro and
  • 20 megawatts of electricity storage.

Given that these are substantial projects for the City and will require procurement of land as well as environmental studies in order to obtain approvals, we are asking the City of Ottawa to release information NOW on where these projects will be located, who will be the operators of the facilities, what contract terms are for setbacks from homes, noise limits, decommissioning, and fire and aviation safety requirements as well as what cost-benefit analysis is being done to confirm the climate change benefits of these projects.

It is essential that we ask for opportunities for full public engagement about these power generation projects and the new zoning by-law.

As the deliverable date for these projects is less than three years away, we should ask that public disclosure and engagement begin as soon as possible.

Will you join me in making public consultation about wind turbines in rural Ottawa a municipal election issue? Contact your councillor, your municipal candidates and the New Zoning By-Law engagement team.

Council Contacts www.ottawa.ca/en/city-hall/mayor-and-city-councillors

Who’s running in my ward www.engage.ottawa.ca/new-zoning-by-law 

Engage Ottawa/New Zoning By-Law www.engage.ottawa.ca/new-zoning-by-law