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Wind turbine plan whips up opposition  

Cool logic is now countering the hot air opposing a giant wind turbine proposed for south-Barrie.

During a public meeting earlier this week neighbours of Jackson’s Toyota continued their assault on the merits of the Mapleview Drive West proposal.

But others held the perspective that the turbine would be safe and produce clean, renewable energy.

“This is far from an emerging technology,” said Barrie resident Peter Bursztyn. “There are hundreds of them operating throughout the world.”

“There are a lot of concerns I think are based on misinformation,” said Barry Green of The Barrie Windcatchers. “We’re not inventing the wheel here.”

The public meeting was to hear a rezoning application by Jackson’s to allow a turbine to be built there. The application provisions relate to constructing a 123.5-metre high turbine, when height in this area is restricted to 14 metres.

The turbine would be connected to the city’s power grid, and produce enough electricity to power about 500 homes.

It would also turn a profit for Bob Jackson, owner of Jackson’s Toyota – although the wind turbine itself requires a $2.5-million investment.

“I would be very surprised if profit was the only thing driving Mr. Jackson,” said Ted Crohn of Valleyview Crescent. “I would be surprised if this was a desperate attempt to keep his business afloat.

“This is a bold attempt to make a statement. . .that we are committed to alternative energy.”

Jackson’s neighbours, both businesses and property owners, have said the wind turbine is too high, would shadow their lands, could be too noisy and would pose dangers from falling ice from its blades.

Some residential neighbours attending the public meeting had the same concerns.

“It will dominate everything. It will tower above the trees,” said Tony Boseouski of Hawthorne Crescent, about two kilometres away from the automotive dealership. “It’s also a matter of esthetics.”

He plans to circulate a petition, asking his neighbours how they feel about the wind turbine.

Dave Robinson, who owns property right beside Jackson’s Toyota, called it a “monstrosity” and asked who would pay for any damages.

“Will the City of Barrie compensate me if I can’t sell my property because nobody wants to be beside this?” he asked.

Others had concerns about the noise, which Jackson’s people said would be no louder than sounds generated by traffic on Mapleview West.

“It’s is an industrial area, YOM (Yachiyo) is nearby,” said Erich Jacoby-Hawkins, a member of the Green Party. “Any ideas about noise have to be put in context.”

“Bob (Jackson) would not install a machine that would disrupt his own business, or other businesses in the area,” said Rick Jones, Jackson’s planning consultant.

Jackson has said he owns an additional two acres of land near his dealership, and if he thought the turbine would affect property values, he wouldn’t build it.

Wind power is a clean, renewable resource and turbines reduce the need for electricity generated by fossil fuels, which contribute to global warming.

The tower would be 85 metres high, and with the blade fully vertical, 123.5 metres or 401 feet tall. It has a 25-year life expectancy with regular maintenance.

Jackson’s application now goes to city planning staff, which will generate a report to be considered by city councillors.

By Bob Bruton

The Barrie Examiner

22 April 2008

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

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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