A new wind power proposal is already seeing some opposition despite Leeder Resources being in the very preliminary stages.
The company is looking at a section of land in Arran-Elderslie Township, near Arran Lake as well as along Bruce County Road 17, for a 30-megawatt wind farm. It has just begun a feasibility study and told Arran-Elderslie council the earliest possible completion date would be in 2008.
Charles Edey, chief operating officer, said they don’t have exact turbine placements as of yet, but the target area is west and south of Arran Lake, near Burgoyne.
Edey said the project was a result of some land owners coming to the company with the idea. Some land has been optioned, “we’re just waiting on wind tests.”
Council was told that the standard offer was a contract of 20 years that could bring land owners between $7,500 to $10,000 annually.
Edey said the company was premature in going to council but because of interest in the area, they decided to move forward with that step. He said they haven’t begun the processes for a wind farm, which include such things as an environmental screening report, however, they are thinking of between 12 and 15 wind turbines, but “that depends a lot on the interest. If land owners are working with us, then it’s successful. Farmers are very interested in becoming part of the energy boom,” said Edey.
Keith Stelling represented the Windfarm Action Group of Arran-Elderslie at the Sept. 26 council meeting where the matter was brought forward.
A resident next to Arran Lake, Stelling said there is a growing group of people opposed to the idea. As a result, a new Friends of Arran Lake group has also formed to object to Leeder’s proposal.
“It’s a protected wetland area and the birds that live here are incredible,” said Stelling in a phone interview last week. “There’s a pile of research that demonstrates it’s a problem with migratory birds, under adverse weather conditions they get all mashed up in these things.”
Stelling said wind farms also raise health concerns for humans because of their low frequency noise levels.
“You feel, rather than hear it,” he said. “It was used by Germans in World War II to torture people.”
With Saugeen Shores basically pushing out wind farms with its 250 meter setbacks from lot lines, Stelling said companies like Leeder are just moving on to other communities.
“They got kicked out of Saugeen Shores so they move over one notch.”
Stelling said he is concerned about the birds, the people, real estate values and the beauty of the lake being affected by such a development.
“It’s the largest lake in the southern part of Bruce County. It’s so beautiful and part of its beauty depends on the quietness. We want to preserve it for our children and grandchildren.”
Initially, Stelling thought “green” wind farms were a good idea, but the more he researched the more he realized he was wrong.
“It’s a pretty disastrous industrialization. I got out in Shelburne to look and there’s high tension wires everywhere. Even Dalton McGuinty said it’s visual pollution.”
He adds each wind turbine is equivalent in height to a 40-storey building and told council it should be looking at minimum setbacks of at least 1,500 meters from dwellings.
But opposition to wind farms is nothing new. And Edey said there’s a “spill over” effect because of what is happening in Kincardine and what isn’t happening in Saugeen Shores, with Enbridge. However, Edey said there’s a lot of misinformation that needs to be cleared up.
“We have our work to do. There’s a lot of people getting information off the internet, and in a lot of cases, it’s dated,” he said. “Some of the concerns that were raised are almost exactly the same issues as everywhere: Are they going to make noise, have an impact on our land, affect us in any way: a lot of these things will be put to rest once other projects have been demonstrated. It’s new to people’s
Arran-Elderslie mayor Ron Oswald said about 25 to 30 people showed up to hear the presentation by Leeder Resources. He said the group appeared split, with half supporting the idea and the other half against.
One resident in support of the proposal asked council why farmers should suffer because this action group doesn’t want the wind turbines.
Paisley ward councillor Rob Bonderud said this is the first time Arran-Elderslie has seen the wind farm issue raised in the township. He added council will be looking at copies of both the county and Saugeen Shores bylaws regarding these developments.
By Tracey Cassidy
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