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I wonder what famous conservationist Jack Miner would have said at that meeting when told that more than 150, 400-foot towers and spinning blades would soon be blanketing his old stomping grounds – with some angry folks in the crowd crying out for dozens more of those industrial behemoths within the critical five-kilometre shoreline buffer zone as well?

I imagine the devout Wild Goose Jack – whose birth date is commemorated each year in Canada’s National Wildlife Week – is rolling around in his grave right about now muttering Biblical unmentionables.

Come to think of it, his son Manly Miner, probably is, too. What both of them realized – and lived to protect – is the oft-overlooked fact that Essex County forms the exit zone of one of the greatest migration flyways on the planet. And that renowned flyway holds millions of migrants of all stripes including common birds, rare endangered birds, fluttering monarch butterflies, mosquito-eating bats and dragonflies, aphid-eating ladybugs (a major economic ally of farmers) and other insects.

Since it’s well known that huge spinning blades can kill flying migrants – a mere 38 turbines in the Summerview Windfarm in Alberta slice and dice more than 600 bats each year – a great deal of precaution should be applied in planning their placement. It would appear that Essex County administrators are following the wise lead of those local legendary wildlife heroes, the Miners, and putting necessary restrictions on the placement of those industrial towers.

As an ex-resident of the county and possible returning retiree, I say bravo and keep up the good work.

Experts from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in Ohio came up with a suggested shoreline buffer zone of three miles sometime ago, so the county distance is perfectly reasonable.

The key motivator for the upset landowners, wind energy lobby group and tax-collecting municipalities appears to be a simple common denominator: cash lining their pockets. I believe Jack and Manly Miner would have called that currency by another name familiar to God-fearing Christians: 30 pieces of silver.

Today’s conservationists believe Point Pelee National Park, the Jack Miner Bird Sanctuary, Holiday Beach Conservation Area and other ERCA parklands, as well as the fragmented bits of woodland in the county are worth far, far more than that.

As a tireless community leader, Jack Miner might also have put forward this question: Why is it that at the recent Ontario Municipal Board wind power hearing at Kincardine a 450-metre minimum was established for off-site affected homes, yet Kingsville rolls over and accepts 300 metres?

I doubt that Wild Goose Jack would stand still for that nonsense either.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007


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