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Turbine reviews mixed; Wind farm opponents at meeting  

A proposed wind project in the Dover area received some mixed reviews Thursday night.

However, AIM PowerGen Corporation hoped to alleviate public concerns on the East Lake St. Clair Wind Farm during an open house at the Dover Kinsmen Hall.

The company – one of several that are planning wind initiatives in Chatham-Kent – is proposing 76 turbines for 114 megawatts of electricity.

This amount would service 29,000 households.

AIM PowerGen displayed several visual simulations of what the landscape would like from different perspectives.

Ansar Gafur, vice-president of external relations, said these were almost identical to how the turbines would appear once set up.

“It should look as the wind farm would look,” he said. “We may do minor modifications or changes – depending on ground conditions – but we try not to.”

The public meeting is a required part of the province’s environmental screening requirements.

A final report is expected sometime in the new year.

However, AIM PowerGen was met with several protesters outside the hall who believe the turbines should be located farther away from residences.

Three people from the Chatham-Kent Wind Action Group handed out literature and expressed concerns on noise, bird safety, as well as the visual impact.

Larry Reaume, who lives with his wife in Erie Beach, said the group also protested a recent open house in Blenheim organized by the same company.

He said the turbines in that particular project would be 300 metres from his house.

“That would just spoil the horizon,” he said. “You see them from quite a ways away.”

Reaume said turbines are acceptable in more remote areas, but he also believes their reputation is overrated.

He said residents should simply conserve more power.

“There are other ways to save energy,” he said. “Just because it’s green doesn’t mean it’s going to save the environment.”

Reaume said the group is made up of about eight people.

Project site co-ordinator Drew Elliott said the majority of concerns he’s heard are on the visual issue.

He said the company is always willing to discuss with residents.

“We’re more than happy to talk and work out a solution,” he said. “The unfortunate thing is that sometimes people don’t want to talk.” Elliott said he realizes the key role the community plays and that he wants what’s best for all parties.

However, others in attendance Thursday expressed support for the project.

One Mitchell’s Bay woman, who wished to remain anonymous, believes alternative energy is the way of the future.

She also said she doesn’t mind seeing turbines dotting the landscape.

“It’s a natural thing. They’ve been using them in Europe for years,” she said. “I imagine when hydro poles came out people said, ‘I don’t want those hideous things there’.”

By Trevor Terfloth

The Chatham Daily News

23 November 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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