Overflow crowds forced an information session in Stratford hosted by the Perth County Council to be moved to a court room to ensure everyone had a seat.
There are more than 700 wind turbines across rural Ontario, and over the next couple of years another 360 projects, which could include many hundreds more turbines are in the works.
Tom Melady is a Dublin area resident, he says “I’m concerned about my health, I’m concerned about my neighbours’ health, I’m concerned about the community. The community is being split apart in this and it’s the worst thing for a rural community.”
Ontario Environment Minister John Wilkinson was on hand to talk turbines, and nearly 100 people, most opposed, were prepared to listen.
Wilkinson says the government has decided wind turbines are safe as long as they are at least 550 metres away from any house, school, church or commercial building.
“There is no proven scientific link between wind turbines and human health as long as you’re meeting the stringent requirements that we have in the province of Ontario, which I might add are the most stringent in all of North America.”
But some of those in attendance at the meeting say they’re not satisfied with the assurances they have been given.
Lorie Gillis lives in Grey County, she says “I don’t think they’ve studied anything at all and I’m almost positive they haven’t used any medical person to determine what is safe to go in beside people.”
Oxford County resident Gary Stephens adds “I don’t believe that the government is being proactive enough in looking into the health issues that people have identified. They apparently don’t talk to people who have issues. I’m not happy.”
But Wilkinson says his ministry is responsible for protecting human health.
Perth County Councillor Bill French says assurances that turbines can be shut down if there’s a problem provides some reassurance.
“In the legislation it sounds like there are controls that can be used if there is a problem and if there is a problem, I hope these regulations are enforced and used,” French says.
Councillors say they are now better prepared to deal with requests for wind turbines.
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