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Wind farms in Lambton Shores

Some say wind energy is the new cash crop for farmers and others wonder what the benefit wind energy provides to Lambton Shores.

There are concerns about grouping wind projects together when there are major differences in terms of initiators and scale. A resident says a project could be initiated by one of three sources: local residents, entrepreneurial engineers or large corporations. Your warranted concern “that farmers have generally regretted accepting this technology on their properties, and that the wind companies have been ‘less than upfront’ with them” arises from large corporation initiatives.

The draft map of wind energy buffers proposed by Lambton Shores planner, Patti Scherer, creates heavy restrictions to the progression of all the wind projects currently in progress – some partially some entirely. The rural people state another point is that she has proposed restriction zones a full kilometer outside of towns and it is towns that would benefit most from the alternative source of energy.

Ward three councillor Mark Simpson says this is not the case. The energy that is generated is sent out of the municipality via the Ontario Hydro grid. Simpson also says he doesn’t believe the proposed buffers from the highway and urban areas are large enough 400 meters from the highway and 1 kilometer from urban areas is to close. The Municipality should be included in a revenue sharing formula along with the property owners and Aeolian Energy. As it currently stands, the Ratepayers will only see between $30,000 and $60,000 in additional taxation from both of these projects, and that’s assuming all twelve towers would be permitted.Lastly, we need to have a “safety net” in place that would address such things as the proponent packing up and leaving, or the Municipality being named in a law suit if there are negative effects to adjacent property owners.

While I don’t want to dampen the entrepreneurial spirit, I’m not convinced these projects are in the best interest of our citizens.

Some of the rural residents believe it would be possible for many community members to benefit directly without each installing turbines on their property. The neighbouring jurisdiction of Huron County has thoroughly, over a nine month period, investigated and established a wind energy cooperative where land owners and local investors designed a project with a community-based approach. Some believe that open-spirited cooperation on these initiatives would add to the community spirit and enable more people to benefit. It would give a sense of ownership & involvement rather than a possible envious view of a neighbour’s ambitiousness. It even has the potential of counteracting the north-south polarization in Lambton Shores depending on the composition of land owners and investors. This approach would also create a perception of advantage to the entire community and protect from the possible devaluing of land arising from negativity.

By Lynda Hillman-Rapley
Wednesday February 14, 2007