Windsor told to stick with green energy industry

A consortium of unions and environmentalists say Windsor still has a chance at being a leader in the green energy manufacturing sector.
The closure of Siliken, for example, shouldn't discourage Windsor unions and environmentalists say. (CBC )

A consortium of unions and environmentalists says Windsor still has a chance at being a leader in the green energy manufacturing sector.

The CAW environment council brought together speakers from the Green Economy Network on Thursday at David Suzuki school.

Creating jobs in a green economy was the topic.

The Green Economy Network brings trade unionists and environmentalists together.

Even though Windsor recently lost more than 300 potential green energy jobs when Siliken Solar and WindTronics closed, the head of the CAW environment council, Mark Bartlett, said that won't continue to happen with proper government support.

"If the trend had continued and people were able to connect to the grid and there wasn't the political rhetoric around this whole issue, I think we would have seen enough capacity for many more factories," Bartlett said.

The market for green energy is there, said Andrea Peart of the Green Economy Network.

David Suzuki school, for example, has environmentally friendly features such as solar panels and wind turbines.

It's buildings like that the Green Economy Network said can save the environment and create jobs at the same time.

However, in December of last year, Giuliana Hinchliffe, the coordinator of engineering for the Greater Essex County District School Board, told CBC News the board will "absolutely not" see another school like Suzuki.

"It’s a goal that is great to achieve but I don’t think we can financially sustain that kind of commitment. It’s not a sustainable system," Hinchliffe told Tony Doucette on the Early Shift.

The school cost an additional $3 million to build, Hinchriffe said.

Peart also said the network is also trying organize a push for a high-speed rail system.

"As much as there's this perception around high-speed rail and transit that it's expensive and who's going to pay for it, we can pay for it," Peart said of the taxpayer.

Peart said Ottawa could fund high-speed rail with the money it uses to subsidize the fossil fuel industry and prisons, for example.