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WAINFLEET – If industrial wind turbines are really as safe as companies building them say they are, John LaForet wonders why those companies are so adverse to the idea of independent scientific studies to support those claims.
The solution is simple, said LaForet, president of provincial lobby group Wind Concerns Ontario. He said if the wind generation industry “doesn’t want to believe what we’re saying, let’s agree to disagree and have an independent third-party study.”
That would prove whether the 120-metre-tall wind turbines popping up across Ontario have adverse effects on health.
His group asked wind industry representatives if they would agree to such a study.
“They refused. Independent science, apparently, is a problem,” he said.
“Just do the science, prove us wrong.”
LaForet said his group is asking for a moratorium on wind turbine installations until that research is done.
LaForet was in Wainfleet Saturday to discuss plans by various companies to build industrial wind turbines there.
Close to 200 people spent about three hours discussing concerns during a meeting organized by Mike and Tara Pitt, owners of Skydive Burnaby.
Cam Pritchard and Neil Switzer from the West Lincoln Wind Action Group, an organization fighting plans to install industrial wind turbines in that Niagara community. were there as well.
Two wind turbines are proposed for Station Rd. by Wainfleet Wind Energy Inc., a partnership between IPC Energy Inc. and Loeffen Farms Ltd., a few kilometres west of Skydive Burnaby.
The Pitts said if the turbines are built, it will mean the end of their business and a drop zone for parachuting that has been in use for more than 50 years. Tara Pitt said skydivers who use their facility usually jump from planes on the far side of Station Rd. and the wind blows them back to Skydive Burnaby as they descend.
If the turbines are built, those jumpers would be expected to descend over a 122-metre-tall wind turbine rotating at speeds up to 200 km/h – and that “is of grave concern” to Tara Patt.
In addition to IPC, St. Catharines-based Rankin Construction has applied for permission to build wind farms in Wainfleet over the past few years.
Jordan Beekhuis from Rankin attended the meeting, and said he visited Spain to talk with people living their about the wind turbines that were added in their communities.
He said people in Spain had no complaints, adding they told him they suffered no ill health as a result of the structures.
“Obviously, I disagree with a lot of the conclusions that (Wind Concerns Ontario) have come to. I think renewable energy is important from an environmental perspective,” he said.
Beekhuis was concerned no one from the wind-energy industry was invited to speak at the meeting.
“I’m a little distressed that it’s as one-sided as it is at this meeting,” he said.
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