A standing-room-only crowd, largely of Mono Mulmur Citizens Coalition members, left little doubt that they were solidly opposed to rumoured gravel/ quarry development at Redickville plus conversion of Arbour Farms on Airport Road to a gravel pit, as well as to the development of wind farms on the hills of Mulmur, when they met in the basement hall of the Mulmur Township building at Terra Nova Saturday.
Jim Jackson, who said he’d returned to his native Horning’s Mills after a 35- year absence, was among those who wanted Mulmur to remain as the visually rural community that it is today.
“I can’t imagine driving up (County Road 124) and seeing gravel pits on both sides of the road,” he said.
(There is no proof that the purchaser of large tracts of land more or less straddling Road 124 at Redickville intends to mine limestone, but some factors suggest that would be the ultimate case.)
Mr. Jackson did point out the need to broaden the township’s tax base to pay for increasing costs of services. He cited Manitoulin Island as an example of a static population core supporting rising service costs.)
Presenter Bob Duncanson, who introduced himself as a director of the Greater Dufferin Chamber of Commerce and of FORE (Friends of Rural Environment), indicated his belief that the folks who purchase estate lots in Mono and Mulmur not only add to the tax base but provide employment for people who tend their acreages in whatever fashion.
As well, he said, it’s people who keep hamlets such as Honeywood alive.
The provision of employment and support of the community were two of the concerns – in addition to viewscape – expressed at the gathering.
One speaker, apparently referring to small wind farms, said the only people profiting from such installations would be the turbines’ manufacturers, the landowners with the turbine leases, and the wind-energy companies themselves.
There were no voices in support of wind energy, although an unidentified member of the audience whispered in this reporter’s ear that the people speaking would “rather see a dirty sky than a windmill.”
Another urged those in attendance to Google “wind energy” for information. (He might have been suggesting a gargantuan task, as it’s somewhat difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff, the valid from the conjecture. There is a virtual dearth of information about localized wind, or the local employment that must be created in support of a major wind farm.)
Outside the meeting, organizer David Hahn expressed empathy for property owners in the hills of Mulmur, who had paid premium prices for their farms and estate lots. Mr. Hahn, who in the past has served on the Coalition of Niagara Escarpment (CONE) and others, said he would like to see accurate and valid information about wind farms, including the one in Melancthon Township.
Inside the meeting, apart from wind farms and Redickville rumours, the major opposition to the Arbour Farms proposed pit continued to be the expected buildup of truck traffic on already-congested Airport Road (County 18).
This roadway has been a concern to the township council and to the OPP for several years. One solution suggested was conversion of the roadway into a four-lane thoroughfare, to accommodate the slow-moving trucks on the steep grades.
Meantime, proponents of both wind farms and gravel pits have a lot of hoops to jump through and hurdles to scale before any of their developments happen.
The coalition appears ready to block the hoops and raise the bars on all hurdles.
By Wes Keller
29 March 2007
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