Canadian songstress Sarah Harmer will co-host a show on Queen’s University Radio CFRC tonight about the wind-power project planned for Wolfe Island.
The show, featuring interviews, musical performances and discussion, will coincide with the seventh annual World Wind Energy Conference at St. Lawrence College in Kingston this week. As many as 600 experts from around the world are gathered in Kingston to discuss community-based wind power projects.
The radio show is an hour-long live-to-tape episode of Living At the Barricades, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper’s weekly radio show.
Critics of the Wolfe Island project argue that the plan is part of the industrial growth model of development that does not put the environment first. They say the
Wolfe Island project, which includes 86 turbines, will disrupt environmentally sensitive areas on Wolfe Island.
In an interview with the Whig-Standard, Harmer said critics of the project aren’t against wind power, but want to see the Wolfe Island project downsized to limit its environmental impact.
“Government experts and additional experts have said the density is too high in the northwest section,” she said. “It’s really putting provincially significant wetlands … at risk.”
As well, local critics are concerned about the impact of the project on bird migration and the habitat of threatened species like the short-eared owl.
They would like to see the 86-turbine project downsized by about 15 fewer turbines in the northwest section of the island.
“We want to expose this great opportunity here to do wind [energy] right and to show what looks like a hypocrisy of what the standards are and what’s being pushed along by the province,” said Harmer. “There’s been a real injury to public process here …. We don’t want to negate all the positive aspects of wind energy by nuking provincially significant wetlands.”
Tonight’s show will be co-hosted by Wolfe Island resident Sarah McDermott.
She was one of two local residents who appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board after the Township of Frontenac Islands passed a zoning bylaw in November 2006 that gave the proponent planning approval to move forward with the project.
The bylaw the council passed establishes the distance the 90-metre-high turbines will be located from wetlands, roads, homes and other structures.
McDermott maintains these distances, called setbacks, should be greater as a matter of public safety and to protect the natural environment on the island.
By Jennifer Pritchett
25 June 2008
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