Jeff Heuchert, Stratford Gazette
MPP Randy Pettapiece has taken Perth County’s concerns regarding Ontario Drive Clean program directly to the Minister of the Environment.
The county has written to the ministry on two occasions asking for clarification about the program. Specifically, councillors want to know how the province determines which municipalities must participate in the program.
But in his letter to minister Jim Bradley dated April 18, Pettapiece said the county has yet to receive acceptable answers to its inquiries.
“We need to know why neighbouring municipalities are not subject to the program,” Pettapiece wrote. “As the county’s research makes clear, many of these neighbouring municipalities outside the program area have similar population densities to that of the County of Perth.”
The MPP, who noted many of his constituents have contacted his office with similar questions about the program, also asked for the specific costs of the program to taxpayers in the county in relation to the overall benefits derived.
The issue was first brought to the county’s attention last summer by coun. Rhonda Ehgoetz, who had been contacted by a taxpayer wanting to know why people living in Perth County were paying for their vehicle to be emissions tested while people living in nearby counties like Huron, Bruce and Grey were exempt from the inspection altogether.
According to the province, the Drive Clean program was established in areas with the highest density of vehicles, major transportation corridors and high ozone occurrences.
There were about 38,000 vehicles on the road in the county in 2010, and of those, about 22,000 light-duty vehicles (most passenger cars, vans and trucks) required a test.
In his letter, Pettapiece also asked the minister if he will consider a comprehensive review of the Drive Clean program based on the latest information that has been collected, and that he review all of the information and correspondence from the county.