McGuinty the anti-NIMBY

According to reports, McGuinty will be starting a crusade against NIMBYism against renewable energy products such as wind, solar, and biofuel projects. According to the Star article, McGuinty said it will still be alright to object to these projects on safety issues and environmental standards. He continued by saying that “…NIMBYism will no longer prevail”.

Coming from a premier who has often seemed to me to be highly reactionary (see pitbull ban; “Highway of Heroes”), it is somewhat ironic for him to come out against NIMBYism, given the reactionary nature of such attitudes.

His statement raises other questions, such as where will the new Green Act draw the line on NIMBYs? McGuinty says environmental and safety concerns are still valid, but does that include health concerns (the major problem with wind turbines right now)?  Obviously it seems that aesthetic complaints are not valid, which has already ignited the ire of activists over the Scarborough Bluffs turbine project (which is really just an anenometer right now— but don’t get me started).

McGuinty says it’s “only natural” for people to have these concerns when faced with something unfamiliar, which is true (unfamiliarity and fear of change make up much of the foundation of NIMBY philosophy). He’s doing this because he hopes the Green Act will create 50 000 jobs in the province. Sounds lofty, but good.

The biggest question for me is, what effect will this have on the planning industry? Will this new Green Act set new precedents for public participation in major projects? What impact will be seen at the local level? Will more people be able to recognise their own NIMBY attitudes?

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    • Mike
    • March 2nd, 2009

    Just passing by.Btw, you website have great content!

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