Nearly 300 people attended a Leamington Council meeting Monday night to oppose a wind farm project for Lake Erie, that would see 59 wind turbines just east of Leamington marina. The total project proposes 119 wind turbines in Pigeon Bay, including locations just off Kingsville and Union.
After hearing a presentation made by Kingsville’s Dr. John Lee, who is against the proposal, and a representative, Bill Climie, of Southpoint Wind Power, council unanimously voted against it. They then made several motions to send letters to different ministries, including the Ministry of Natural Resources, Oceans and Fisheries, Parks Canada, and local MPs and MPPs to ensure that all assessments and environmental concerns would be addressed prior to the installation of any wind turbine in the Lake.
For that, council received many cheers and a round of applause from residents in attendance. The crowd actually spilled out of council chambers, out the front door of town hall and down Erie St.
Some of the major concerns expressed by Lee were: the migratory path for birds and butterflies and the effects it would have on Point Pelee National Park; the noise caused by the turbines; health effects from headaches, sleep disorders, nausea and depression; the effect on property values of homes along the lake; the impact on Lake Erie and the lake bed; and the impact on tourism.
Deputy Mayor Rob Schmidt added to those concerns and questioned the impact on boaters, both commercial and recreational, and that of the ferries which travel from Leamington and Kingsville to Pelee Island.
Climie said in an interview following the meeting that Southpoint Wind Power wasn’t expecting so much opposition. He said they had actually put announcements in the paper when they started the project and had only received one negative response.
The proposed wind turbines would stand 41 storeys above the water surface or 410 feet. A flyer distributed around Leamington shows the wind turbines in comparison to the Leamington water tower which is 145 feet.
“That is the length of a football field or a jumbo jet,” said Lee to council at the meeting.
Of the motions passed by council, one also included that Southpoint Wind Power would not be able to access or have use of any municipal property for the project until all concerns were addressed and assessments were completed.
Mayor John Adams also announced at the meeting that because of the crowd, council would schedule another public meeting with Kingsville in the next few weeks in a larger venue and it would be announced in the local papers and on the radio.
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