Huron East Against Turbines (HEAT) has announced the group is organizing a large-scale opposition rally in Seaforth.
Area residents recently received notice from wind developers with regard to a public meeting on May 26 at the Seaforth and District Community Centre. The purpose is to hold community consultation under the Green Energy Act (GEA), one of the steps involved in receiving final approval from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment to proceed with the project, comprising 15 turbines in the St. Columban area.
Concerned about possible adverse health effects and falling property values, HEAT decided to hold a protest rally at the same time and location.
Gerry Ryan, a member of the group, says that the intent is to demonstrate the opposition to an industrial wind power project in the community. He says the Ontario government has put little thought into the negative impact the GEA is having on rural areas, that it has stripped the planning authority from municipalities and is creating community upset locally. He hopes that the protest will send a message to the government and the project developer, that they need to do proper health studies and consider the impact such projects have on rural communities.
Ryan says that a similar public meeting, held two years ago in Brodhagen, failed to “consult” with residents in any meaningful way.
“The company had a bunch of signboards set up in the hall, outlining where the turbines would be located and explaining their take on environmental and health concerns. They refused to answer concerns to residents as a group – we were supposed to write questions on a piece of paper or submit by email and they would respond to each person individually. We weren’t even permitted to record the information from the signboards.”
In the following two years, HEAT has ramped up opposition to the project. In March, a meeting was held in St. Columban to ask for continued community support and unanimous support was received from those in the packed hall.
HEAT hopes that local farmers will join in a parade of tractors, which will converge on the Community Centre. Community members are asked to gather there on Thursday, May 26, at 5:30 p.m. At 6 pm, there will be brief addresses by HEAT, Barb Ashbee, who had to leave her home because of health problems caused by wind turbine noise, and Arran-Elderslie deputy Mayor Mark Davis. The Municipality of Arran Elderslie has been at the forefront of the anti-turbine movement in Ontario.
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