Are Wind Turbines Blowing the Economy out of Ontario’s West Coast?
The beauty of Huron County’s west coast shoreline, its resort-like cottages and the nature of its artsy culture is something to be proud of. And it can be proud of its pristine attraction, the far-reaching farm fields backed by a beautiful setting sun over Lake Huron. However, are wind turbines blowing the economical life out of this West Coast resort county?
In recent years, a number of wind turbines appeared north of Goderich and shortly, hundreds more will pepper the shoreline. But watch it, the wind of Lake Huron can blow mean! A recent published Economic Development Report, (Google “Sept 2009 Economic Development Report Prince Edward County”), commissioned by the Municipal Council of Prince Edward County, warns that the wind turbine industry could cost big dollars to that county. Identifying that the turbines bring in leaseholder revenue and municipal taxes, the study found that on a 100-200 wind turbine project, based on $8,000 per land lease and $1,500 in taxes per turbine, income from that project would net $1 million to $2 million, no small hunk of change.
But be wary of that blowing wind! The negative cost to local businesses and the impact on tourism, art, heritage and culture, and creative rural economy will cost $2.5 million to as much as $40 million. This range, as stated in the report, is based on a 1% to 10% variance in the above categories, with the figure “probably closer to 10% and could be greater”. Now what would that look like in Huron County’s setting sun?
The report also states that “the visual impact … and the potential negative health impact will dramatically reduce the Quality of Place attributes of Prince Edward County. Tourism, much of our arts, culture and heritage and our Creative Rural Economy – its direct and indirect spin off growth is contingent upon preserving and enhancing these Quality of Place attributes. The negative visual impacts of IWTED [Industrial Wind Turbine Energy Development] could threaten our economy”. If this warning about threatening an economy is given to Prince Edward County, I believe those negative impacts could happen in other counties too. If I was a real estate owner or someone basing my business on tourism or the arts in Huron County, I would be questioning the direction of the wind energy. I would be questioning the flawed Green Energy Act that is jeopardizing my income. I would be questioning my Member of Parliament about the need to pay 15 cents per Kilowatt for electricity as well as having the income of my business battered by the wind industry. The wind industry has been sold on the misconception that it is an economical aid to a community. Be careful, the wind is getting stronger! Do we have to make all the mistakes ourselves or should we try and learn from others? Yes, Huron County has a beauty to brag about and an economy that depends on outside dollars. These dollars are very wind-prone. Do you wish to have them blown away by the winds that are developing around Huron County?
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