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WAINFLEET – Wainfleet could join a growing list of municipalities asking the province to impose a moratorium on wind farms.
Ald. David Wyatt made a notice of motion at Tuesday’s township council meeting after three different people spoke about Wainfleet Wind Energy Inc. and its proposed wind farm.
Wyatt’s motion will come forward at the Jan. 25 council meeting.
Resident Andrew Watts was the first to speak about the wind farm, marking the second time he’s appeared before council on the issue.
“The Green Energy Act is based on a fantasy and based in fallacy. No country that has tried wind farms has found them to be successful,” said Watts.
Not only are there 70 municipalities in Ontario asking for a moratorium on wind farms, but Denmark is no longer building onshore wind farms. Watts said Denmark is held up by the wind industry as an example of a place where wind farms work.
He said the country has between 4,000 and 7,000 wind turbines, but public opposition to them is growing.
And while setbacks from homes in Denmark and other places in Europe are two to three kilometres onshore, in Ontario it’s only 550 metres.
Watts said if independent studies showed wind farms were safe for humans and the environment, he would be the first one in favour of them.
Mike and Tara Pitt, owners of Skydive Burnaby, told council they weren’t opposed to green energy, but are worried about two proposed turbines near their business.
They, too, asked council to for a moratorium on wind farms.
The Pitts explained how 80% of the time jumpers from their club leave planes west of the field, which would take them over the turbine towers proposed for Station Rd.
“Our jumpers would be within 150 metres to 350 metres above the turbines and blades,” said Tara Pitt.
She said if a jumper experienced a problem with a chute, that person could collide with the turbines or crash into the ground trying to avoid them.
She said the club, located on Burnaby Rd., sees between 300 and 500 people out each weekend, has held numerous Canadian skydive records and has had members compete around the world.
“We’re known worldwide,” she said, adding jumpers may stay away if there is a hazard like the wind turbines.
IPC Energy president John Andrews was the last to speak on the issue. IPC is the company developing the wind farm in Wainfleet on behalf of Wainfleet Wind Energy Inc., owned locally by the Loeffen family.
Andrews told council he wouldn’t even begin to address issues brought up by Watts.
“It would take me an hour and a half to repudiate what he brought up,” he said, adding there is a lot of junk science out there when it comes to wind farms.
Andrews said the company has taken the Pitts’ concerns very seriously.
“We had planned for more turbines closer to the club, but when the Pitts expressed their concerns, we moved them …”
While talking to council, Andrews presented a few slides that showed the direction of wind off of Lake Erie. It showed the wind coming more from a southwest direction, than from the west, where the two towers would be located.
Council heard that if IPC was in violation of any Transport Canada rules regarding obstructions near skydive facilities, it would have heard something by now.
“We have applied to all relevant agencies and have had no negative feedback to date from anyone,” said Andrews.
He said during one meeting with the Pitts they had no objection to the location of two remaining towers, but now wanted them removed or moved back four kilometres.
“If they want four kilometres of clearance, that would take out all the wind towers from this project and from the proposed Rankin project,” he said.
“The wind is our business, too, and we take it very seriously. As far as we’re concerned we do not see this as an issue or danger to jumpers.”
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