Tonight I attended the presentation on wind turbines at the Wellandport Community Centre. There was an impressive turnout – three hundred people?
Neil Switzer, Chairman of the West Lincoln/Glanbrook Wind Action Group said that while the group’s meetings have been well-attended and successful in raising awareness, there has been criticism that the information presented is one-sided. To address this he invited key members of the Wind Energy Industry to speak, but the invitation was declined.
A noteworthy speaker tonight was David Colling, former dairy farmer from Ripley Ontario (Township of Huron-Kinloss by Kincardine), who has personally experienced turbine development on neighbouring properties. Colling spoke of his experience and expertise regarding stray voltage and spoke to negative health effects that dirty electricity can have on those who live close to turbines, and the negative effects of their ultra-low frequency inaudible sound waves. He cited several examples of families who had to leave their farms permanently.
John Laforet, president of Wind Concerns Ontario and a former liberal riding president, called for Municipalities to demand a moratorium on all turbine development in Ontario. He argued that there is no energy crisis – rather that there is increased capacity and declining demand. Establishing twenty-year-contracts at thirteen cents a kilowatt hour results in an excess of energy in the grid and the need to sell that excess at a loss. He spoke of the hypocrisy inherent in the plans to blast and clearcut 150 acres of protected watershed lands in Thunder Bay’s Loch Lumond to install “green” energy in the form of industrial wind turbines.
Laforet denounced the Wind Energy Industry and how its excessive influence on Ontario Liberal Government Policy has resulted in an approval system through the Green Energy Act which supersedes all local decision-making-authority, consistently undermines public process and results in little transparency and accountability.
All very interesting. The group spoke about confidentiality clauses ensuring that neighbours are always the last to know. We in Lincoln have not heard of any proposals, but I will be paying close attention and I recommend that you do too.
Wind Concerns Ontario will be at the Wellandport Community Centre, 5042 Canborough Road (Regional Road 63), Wellandport, this Monday, May 30th, at 7:00 p.m. as part of their “Truth about Wind Turbines” Tour. Hosting this public meeting is the West Lincoln and Glanbrook Wind Action Group (WLWAG) along with the Wainfleet ratepayers Group.
There are proposals to erect several groups of at least five turbines in both Caistor Centre and West Lincoln, and some residents are concerned about the effects that even the speculation of wind turbine development can have on their property values. Also of concern to the groups is the speculation of potential negative health effects that these structures can have on people living near them.
I plan to attend and learn as much as I can. It is a very interesting subject. The Green Energy Act has taken almost all control over renewable energy projects away from municipalities. This has its advantages – The Province has deeper pockets than our little rural municipalities putting them in a much stronger position to defend their decisions – but it has its drawbacks, to be sure.
Problems with the legislation are becoming more apparent in recent months with the erection of free standing ground mounted solar panel structures. The Act specifies three classifications – Classes one and three are regulated by the Province, but Class two (and ground mounted solar panels fall in this category) are not….nor are they regulated by Municipalites. We have no means to ensure that these structures are not at best, unobtrusive to neighbours – but at worse – a safety concern. If solar panels are mounted on a roof, they require a building permit, but not when mounted on a pole. This is a serious concern. There is a recently erected noteworthy structure in a residential Pelham neighbourhood that is approximately 360 square feet on the surface. From what I have read, solar panels can weigh as much as four pounds per square foot. That adds up to 1,400 pounds up in the air – in a windstorm.
Lincoln Council, at last Tuesday’s Corporate Priorities meeting called for a report on the Green Energy Act and the regulation of these types of structures with a view to supporting Municipalities such as Pelham and Fort Erie, who have called on the Ontario Ministry of Energy to allow municipalities to use Planning Act tools to regulate the installation of Class 2 ground-mounted structures.
This can’t happen too soon.
There is a Farmers’ Market opening in Beamsville on the grounds of Great Lakes Christian College on King Street just east of the No Frills Plaza. Opening day is June 18th, the same day as the Berries & Blooms Festival. Please LIKE the Market on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/Beamsville-Farmers-Market/116203711796980
Here is a link to The Town of Lincoln’s Future Focus Corporate Plan for the term of 2010 – 2014. Decisions of Council are made with a view to achieving these objectives.