Many people in Chatham-Kent are unaware that 10 wind farms with approximately 150 wind turbines are proposed along Lake St. Clair and the Lake Erie shoreline. I am not against the development of wind energy or alternative sources of energy, but the location of the turbines must not negatively affect our natural environment. These two areas in Chatham-Kent are major migratory flyways for birds, contain endangered species (Barn Owls, Bald Eagles, King Rail, etc.), contain significant wetlands (Lake St. Clair) are classified globally as Important Bird Areas (I.B.A.) and are major staging areas for waterfowl (swans, plovers, shorebirds, etc.). Many departments of all levels of governments which are involved with wildlife have a mandate to protect these areas (Planning Act, Canadian Wildlife Service, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Canada).
I believe we owe it to future generations to preserve what natural habitat we have left in Chatham Kent. It is not worth the risk to negatively affect these areas. We have examples in the area where we are trying to restore our natural habitat after it was destroyed (C-K council’s greening report, education projects, reforestation). The one or two season surveys done by the energy companies are insufficient to prove that the wind farms will not harm the natural environment in the future. We have presently endangered species, fewer wetlands, and few woodlots (one to four per cent) because levels of government did not protect natural habitat.
It is also important to know that wind turbines only operate at 20 to 33 per cent efficiency annually, therefore they do not generate the amount of electricity as suggested in the proposals.
It is important for the residents of Chatham-Kent to have areas of natural habitant that can be visited and where they can experience wildlife in general. These areas are also important economically and are widely used by sports’ enthusiasts and tourists from all over the world. They are part of our heritage.
As indicated previously, I am not against wind energy. It would be a win-win situation for the energy companies and the public of the county if the wind turbines were located further inland away from these areas of natural habitat. I propose that the wind farms be located at least three kilometres from the Lake Erie shoreline and five kilometres from the Lake St. Clair shoreline. We owe this preservation to the citizens of Chatham-Kent.
19 February 2008