BELWOOD – The wind turbine proposal for this community has pitted neighbour against neighbour – and it is starting to get uglier.
Oppose Belwood Wind Farms has been against the proposal for nearly two years now, and spokesman Janet Vallery said in an interview last week the campaign is being undermined by those in favour of the turbines.
“The [protest] signs that have been put up have been systematically defaced,” Vallery said. “It started with spray painting. Now [someone] is resorting to arson.”
The sign was near County Road 16.
But more than the signs, Vallery is concerned about the sudden animosity between neighbours.
“It’s a very sad time for the community,” she said. “It’s pitted people in the community against people in the community. Your neighbours are pitted against neighbours.”
The group has opposed wind turbines that could be located within 550 metres of people’s homes according to the provincial rules.
With the animosity boiling over before the project is even built, she wonders, “What’s the future going to be like when we’re forced to live with massive industrial turbines and our neighbours did it to us.”
She places the blame squarely in the court of the provincial government. Over two years ago, the province told Wellington County to prepare land use guidelines for accepting wind turbines. After over six months of work, county council approved a policy.
Then the Liberal government passed the Green Energy Act, and removed all local control over the turbines.
Vallery said the province presents the Green Energy Act as something that provides sustainable energy, but “It’s been a green light for developers at the expense of society.”
She noted, too, that Premier Dalton McGuinty is facing yet another scandal that came about when the province forced municipalities to list those paid more than $100,000 last year.
She said one of them was the man who was fired after the e-health fiasco that wasted billions of dollars and did not come close to providing the health system it was supposed to be developing. She said that man was paid $750,000 last year by Hamilton Health Sciences.
“We paid this fired man three-quarters of a million dollars,” said Vallery, who watched on TV and said McGuinty’s eyes kept shifting as reporters questioned him about it.
“I’ve lost all my faith in government,” said Vallery. “It’s all back room stuff. It’s not about the people.”