MILLBROOK – Ontario’s future doesn’t lie in wind power, says an anti-turbine crusader who hosted a special meeting Tuesday night in Millbrook.
“It’s a bad deal for Ontario,” said John Laforet, president of Wind Concerns Ontario.
He spoke at a public meeting held at Cavan-Monaghan township hall, with more than 100 people in attendance.
Laforet, who is on a cross-Ontario tour promoting an anti-wind agenda, said the 500-foot turbines proposed for places such as Millbrook and Manvers lower property values and could have an effect on human health.
“We oppose irresponsible wind development,” he said.
Chief among his group’s concerns are wind turbines being located too close to residential areas and a lack of third-party research on health effects.
Stepana Johnson said she had to vacate her London-area home after 18 wind turbines were built nearby. She moved to an apartment because of headaches and illness she said were caused by the whirring turbines nearby.
“I rented an apartment and the symptoms went away,” she said. “In that experimental six months, nothing else in my life changed except for where I was living.”
No longer able to afford to maintain two homes, the 80-year-old now sleeps in a trailer on her son’s property and visits her house for about two hours at a time; she said that’s as much as she can handle before the symptoms kick in.
Former Toronto city councillor Anne Johnston urged concerned residents to contact their local health units if they’re worried about wind turbines.
“Health units have no choice but to investigate,” she said.
The tour started last week in Thunder Bay and will end in Sault Ste. Marie in June. Laforet invited Liberal MPP Rick Johnson, who represents Millbrook and Manvers where wind power projects are proposed, and former MPP Laurie Scott, who is running for the Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock seat for the Progressive Conservatives in the October election.
Scott showed; Johnson didn’t. This is par for the course as the group tours the province, Laforet explained, adding Liberals know his group is targeting the Green Energy Act at taking them to task for what he called irresponsible energy management.
“We make it a point to invite Liberal MPPs to come, because we want to hear their side,” said Laforet, a former Liberal riding president who said he has turned his back on his former party because of its “wasteful” energy policies.
“Rick is the fourth (MPP) to refuse to come in the past week.”
Wind Concerns Ontario works with local groups, such as Manvers Wind Concerns, to raise awareness.
Its priority, said Paul Reid of Manvers Wind Converns, is to make more people aware of the potential risks of wind power, and to push the provincial government to return control over environmental installations to the municipal level.
“You need to become energy voters,” Laforet said. “You can change your level of representation at Queen’s Park.”
Scott said her party’s position echoes that of Wind Concerns Ontario.
She told the crowd the PCs would put a moratorium on wind development pending third-party health studies. The Tim Hudak-led party would also remove the HST from home heating and scrap the feed-in tariff program for small energy developers (solar, wind), which she said pays as much as 80 cents a kilowatt hour to producers for electricity that is then sold for as little as five cents.
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