OXFORD CENTRE – Opponents of wind developments are blowing into the Oxford area to air their concerns and bring turbine issues to the forefront before the fall provincial election.
Currently, Oxford County has two proposed wind developments waiting for approval. ProWind Canada Inc. has proposed a 20-megawatt eight-turbine system to be developed outside of Innerkip and a 10-megawatt 10-turbine system on Gunn’s Hill Road in Norwich Township.
John Laforet, president of Wind Concerns Ontario, is on a 40-day tour, visiting 35 communities across the province with his Truth about Turbines presentation, and will make a stop in Oxford Centre at the Pioneer Hall on June 17 at 6 p.m.
Wind Concerns Ontario is an umbrella group for more than 55 anti-turbine groups across the province.
Laforet has sworn he will take down the Liberals with his grassroots campaign.
“This is a critical time. The Liberals and the NDP are running on a message of denialism. The Conservatives have been listening.
“We’re asking for a full moratorium on wind developments until a proper health study can be done,” Laforet said.
Laforet started the fight against wind development in 2008 because of a proposed offshore development in his home community of Scarborough Bluffs. Through presentations and lobbying different levels of government, area residents were able to chalk up a win for those opposed to wind development.
“Through our efforts, we were able to successfully put in place an offshore moratorium for at least the next two years,” he said.
Although his community is safe for the interim, he continues to fight because he thinks independent research surrounding possible ill health effects is needed to ensure everyone’s safety.
“There has been research done that shows these things are making people ill, but that research is completely ignored. We’re told it’s biased. When someone says they don’t support science, you know there’s a problem,” he said. “What we want is a government funded, but independent, epidemiological health study.”
The proponents of wind energy, though, dispute claims that industrial turbines have a significant impact on health. These proponents suggest that a moratorium on wind-turbine developments is excessive.
“In May 2010, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health released a report concluding that, ‘according to scientific evidence, there isn’t any direct causal link between wind turbine noise and adverse health effects,’ ProWind Canada spokesperson Bart Geleynse wrote to the Sentinel-Review in July 2010. “This is a strong statement that not surprisingly validates the global body of peer-reviewed evidence that has been published on the subject for decades.
“The real threat to our health, it seems, is maintaining the status quo. Burning coal, damming rivers, and coping with hazardous nuclear waste are activities that have significant negative impact on humans, wildlife and the environment, even to the point of premature death.”
A local anti-wind organization, the East Oxford Community Alliance, is one of the members under the umbrella of Wind Concerns Ontario and the group responsible for organizing the upcoming presentation evening. The group is made up of community members near the Gunn’s Hill proposed development site.
“As more information becomes available from communities across Ontario, United States and countries such as Germany, Spain, Australia and United Kingdom who have had wind turbines for several years and from experts who have studied the effects of wind turbines, the East Oxford Community Alliance has become more concerned then ever about the devastating effects of industrial wind turbines on health, property values, community relationships as well as the economic hardships for the taxpayers of Ontario who will be paying for huge subsidies to wind development companies,” wrote group member Gary Stephens in an e-mail.
The group’s mandate is to open up lines of communication with the public and officials.
“The East Oxford Community Alliance feels very fortunate to have John, who is a very knowledgeable and respected speaker, representing many residents of Ontario who have been negatively impacted by industrial wind turbine development in their communities, come to Oxford to give the real truth about industrial wind turbines,” Stephens wrote.
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