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Wainfleet council favours turbine moratorium

“They are loud and clear. Our Wainfleet does not include wind turbines.”

The sentiments shared by Ald. Richard Dykstra were simple and to the point, but were echoed by other members of Wainfleet Township Council who voted unanimously in favour of supporting a moratorium for the development of wind turbines.

The resolution, originally proposed by Ald. David Wyatt last month, calls for the provincial government to enact a moratorium until further third-party studies can be conducted on the environmental, economical, and health impacts on the Township of Wainfleet and its residents. It was approved Tuesday night to a round of applause from the about 50 people in council chambers.

Every member of council had a say on the issue.

Mayor April Jeffs said there is nothing wrong with entrepreneurs such as the Loeffen family – the creators of the proposed wind energy farm project – in believing the benefits of what wind energy has to offer, but she cannot support a technology which “brings many unknowns that threaten residents, agriculture and culture.”

“There are so many unanswered questions about turbines,” Jeffs said. “Our official plan supports alternative energy but also has a stance on heritage and culture. I’m not sure if they can co-exist. We need to give a pause and have a second look on whatimpact wind projects have on Wainfleet.”

Wyatt does not fault the Loeffen family or any developer of any wind farm for the debate behind the issue but he put fault behind the Green Energy Act which he said “stripped the public of the right to say no.”

Wyatt said there’s no medical evidence nor accepted methods which study health and noise affects.

“I cannot compromise my integrity for the sake of a few dollars as residents have entrusted us with making decision on behalf of the community,” said Wyatt, who supported the motion.

Ald. Betty Konc said once upon a time she supported wind turbines but upon research she could not find anything good about the technology to support. Konc said residents will have to give up a lifestyle of “looking out windows to see the cornfields” to instead see “monstrous turbines that will give us intermittent power.”

Ald. Ted Hessels said Wainfleet is a farming community and the technology represents more industrial than agricultural.

“They are industrial turbines and should be in industrial places,” he said.

Before council supported the motion the floor was opened to the gallery for comment.

John Laforet, president of Wind Concerns Ontario, said 76 communities in Ontario have motions passed by its councils calling for a moratorium. Laforet said local decisions no longer exist because of the Green Energy Act instead they are made by “bureaucrats in downtown Toronto.”

“The town should have a bigger role in decision making. This is what the residents of Wainfleet want,” Laforet said.

Duncan MacFarlane, solicitor for Skydive Burnaby, said it’s noteworthy the Township of West Lincoln has made the same request for a moratorium. MacFarlane said what council can do is make their voices heard and support the moratorium.

Eugene Canby, a resident of Wainfleet, said the township doesn’t need turbines as a source of energy as the region already has a powerful system in water hydro via Niagara Falls.

“We have one of the finest power systems in the world bar none,” Canby said. “It’s been built in Ontario by our people. It works.”