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Wind farm opponents question county's Plan

WALKERTON – Bruce county’s planning committee is being buffeted by strong opinions on the wind farm debate.

The airing of views at a public meeting was part of a five-year review of the county Official Plan, which will include policies on commercial wind farms.

Planning director Chris LaForest predicted the open house would hear from several delegations representing differing but firmly held viewpoints. Nearly a dozen speakers made presentations during the two-hour session.

Activist Kathy McCarrel is worried about where the county is getting information for its revised policies on commercial wind farms.

“Our fear is too much of the information is being provided by the wind industry itself,” she said. “We’re looking for the county to perhaps look at some independent research.”

McCarrel argued that because Ministry of Environment regulations are under review it is critical for the county set strict regulations to keep turbines away from homes.

A clear rule on setbacks from homes is just what developers want, according to Bob Simpson of Enbridge.

“If we in the development world have good clear rules then you can build to it and it takes away all the unknowns,” Simpson said. “If they say the setback should be this, we’re prepared to build to it and then you’ve met the rules.”

A Kincardine resident who supports wind farms, Bruce Ribey blasted wind farm opponents for what he called a “large level of hypocrisy” in their arguments.

He took exception to a request from one delegation that wind turbines be kept five kilometres from houses to preserve the landscape and tourism potential of the county.

“I think it’s important to remember that while agriculture takes a great deal of pride in the farmsteads and scenery, it’s our land and it’s not a playground for the rich and famous. We’re trying to make a living on it,” Ribey said.

Jun 28, 2007