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Council concerned about turbines  

Credit:  Kurtis Elsner, Staff, www.simcoe.com 16 November 2010 ~~

Meaford council has passed a resolution calling for a moratorium on new wind turbine developments.

Council voted in favour of the resolution at its regular meeting held on Monday, November 8, with support from all but one member of council. A large group of supporters in the standing-room only audience gave a round of applause after the resolution passed. Deputy Mayor Michael Traynor declared a pecuniary interest and didn’t take part in the debate or vote.

“I think we need to stop and get some answers (about wind turbines),” said councillor Harley Greenfield. “I worry about a pandemic of these farms being established in our province without the vital information that is needed. Once the dominoes start to fall, I don’t know where this is going to end up,” he said.

Greenfield said he had seen little science about health risks and other side effects associated with wind farms, and advised caution.

Councillor Jim McPherson said he was not as concerned with the debate over health risks as he was with the lack of input municipalities have in the location of wind farms. He said Ontario’s Green Energy Act takes any control over planning of wind farms out of the hands of the municipalities and into that of the province. While passing the resolution doesn’t give the municipality any power, it sends a message to the province, he said.

McPherson said current provincial Conservative Party leader Tim Hudak has said that he intends to give municipalities a veto when it comes to wind farms if he is elected premier in the next provincial election, something McPherson predicts will happen.

“I want the ability to choose, and that’s why I support this resolution,” he said.

Councillor Gerald Shortt was the only councillor who opposed the resolution. He said that he doesn’t think wind farms are unsafe, and hasn’t seen any evidence proving adverse health risks. He said that he probably wouldn’t let a wind farm on his property though, because he’d be worried what would happen to the turbines if the operator was to go bankrupt. He said that the location of wind farms should not be the decisions of local government.

“If you leave it up to the municipalities, there will not be a wind turbine anywhere in the Province of Ontario,” he said.

This is not the first time Meaford council has looked at the wind farm issue. A similar resolution was voted down earlier this term. Councillor Lynda Stephens said she was glad that some members of council had changed their minds and decided to support the resolution.

She also said that while she is not in favour of wind farms, it doesn’t mean she doesn’t support wind turbines. She said the province’s current wind farm policy is moving in the wrong direction, and she would prefer turbines providing electricity for the locations they are close to, rather than being transported and used elsewhere.

“Strategically placed wind turbines can provide energy to that area,” she said.

The resolution comes at a time when Meaford is facing the possibility of a wind farm in the northwestern part of the municipality.

International Power Canada is proposing a 29-turbine wind farm in the area surrounding Silcote and Balaclava. More information on that farm is expected to be provided at a public information meeting Nov. 17 at the Meaford and St. Vincent Community Centre on Collingwood Street. The meeting is from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

[rest of article available at source]

Source:  Kurtis Elsner, Staff, www.simcoe.com 16 November 2010

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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