Wind turbines don’t belong near people. That’s the message a group of protesters plan to deliver in Orangeville next week, when they stage an event to voice their opposition to a local project.
“There’s a very strong possibility of an urban, rural split on this kind of thing because if it’s not going up close to you, people really don’t care,” Michael Chevalier, a member of Whittington Coalition for Our Right to a Healthy Environment, said. “If you live in the city and it’s green energy, it sounds good and you don’t go any further than that to find out there are some issues surrounding the erection of these things.”
The coalition opposes a three-turbine project in Amaranth, dubbed Whittington Wind Farm, planned by Mississauga-based wpd Canada Corporation.
Some residents living near existing large wind turbines have reported health issues – something the coalition would like to see investigated by the province before more turbines are allowed.
The group also has concerns about neighbouring property values, Chevalier said, as well as the “undemocratic” provincial approval process. Last year, the Green Energy Act removed planning authority regarding renewable energy projects from municipal councils.
A peaceful 1.2 km protest march is set for Nov. 27, starting at 10 a.m. and leaving Rotary Park. The route will see protesters travel south on Fourth Street and west on Broadway, finishing at the office of MPP Sylvia Jones.
The Dufferin-Caledon representative, however, won’t be there, as her office is closed on weekends.
“This is exactly why municipalities should have planning control,” Jones, a member of the official opposition, said of the group’s concerns about turbines.
“For every other development that occurs in a municipality, we expect our municipal government to have some input into where it is, how large it is and, quite frankly, whether it goes ahead.”
Protest organizers are hoping to attract at least 1,000 participants in order to garner greater attention and spread word of their concerns.
“We’re a little bit limited in the sense that there’s Christmas shopping going on, so we’ll be restricted to the sidewalk,” Chevalier said. “Maybe we’ll just have a conga line, a single line file.”
People are asked to bring a protest sign, though some will be available during the event.
For more information about the event, or the coalition’s endeavours, visit www.wcorhe.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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