A meeting of more than 100 people gathered at Bosanquet school last week to hear why they should not sign contracts for proposed windfarms.
On a ‘truth about turbines tour,’ John Laforet, president of Wind Concerns Ontario told the group this is an election year and these people have to let their elected official or local candidate know how they feel about the proposed wind farms.
Laforet says while wind turbine companies have no problems selling residents on the benefits of wind-generated electricity, they fail to mention the negative aspects. President of Wind Concerns Ontario, John Laforet, was one of the guest speakers at last night’s Lambton Shores Concerned Citizens Group community meeting, and noted that frequently wind generated electricity is wasted.
Four speakers, including Laforet explained the health, economic, ecological and environmental dangers of the wind turbines.
First up was David Colling. He is a Ripley retired dairy farmer who has is an expert in electrical pollution. He gave examples of five home owners became increasingly ill once the turbines were installed and have since sold their homes to wind farm companies. He said he is not permitted by litigation to state names or addresses or use photos of those displaced people through gag orders. He did have photos of their homes, which he snapped from the road. He has been helping people for the past six years in relation to stray voltage and health issues. “Farmers have to analyze what they are signing,” he told the gallery. He said they are not getting the proper advice and he has not seen a contract yet that is good. Those displaced or living the effects of the windfarms, Colling says he is told their lives have changed forever. “It might take awhile before it effects you-but it will.” He said for “these people” meaning the wind companies,” it is all about the money.” He warned those in attendance to go to a corporate lawyer before they sign anything. “You would not go to a dentist for heart surgery,” he said in his warning.
Stepahana Johnston from Port Rowan says she comes to these meetings to escape her own home. She says she built it for her aging years and since the 18 industrial turbines went up three kilometers from her home. She is a University of Toronto graduate of physical health education. She used the analogy that not everyone gets sick when they are on the water, but she does and not everyone feels the effects of wind turbines, but she does. She said she speaks to group like the one at Bosanquet school -“because they need to know.” She said she has reported her ill effects to the Ministry of Environment without response. She said she called these Ministry two or three times a day. When that did not work she wrote letters. She explained she received a response that they did not have the instruments to help her. Out of frustration she now goes to speaking engagements like last week’s.
David Libby of Ridgetown spoke briefly about his health problems. “Community leaders are supposed to help us and that is not happening.”
Lambton Shores councilor Doug Cook was on hand and spoke to some of the gallery after, again explaining how the provincial Green Energy Act supersedes what the municipalities can do. He said he would take the information from the meeting back to council.
Each speaker, in their own fashion said as the October election approaches, “its becoming clearer and clearer that should the Liberals choose not to back down, they will lose a number of seats on this issue as concerned citizens take political action in defense of their homes.”
The residents were scared straight by the speakers and only one man asked about alternatives or options during the question period and was very quickly shot down. Media spokes person for NextEra Energy Canada, Josie Hernandez told the Lakeshore Advance at NextEra Energy Canada understand the right and need for residents to be active, to ask questions and to be hesitant of a new technology coming to their region. “We hope that these residents ask the questions to help them understand the realities of wind energy centres and how easily they blend into the fabric of a community. Here’s a link to our website where videos from various people from local communities where we developed and now operate wind facilities talk about their experience: http://www.nexteraenergyresources.com/partners/index.shtml”
“NextEra Energy Canada has great respect for the land we develop, build and operate our power plants on – how we minimize our impact on wildlife, land and water. Our actions, not just our words, have been acknowledged in environmental awards and recognitions. For the fifth straight year, NextEra Energy has been named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies by Ethisphere magazine. NextEra Energy is one of only 24 companies in the world to have made the list all five years of its existence. Earlier this year, NextEra Energy was named one of the top 10 most socially responsible companies in the world on Fortune magazine’s annual survey of the “World’s Most Admired Companies,” and was the No. 1 company overall in its sector for the fifth consecutive year. On corporate governance, NextEra Energy was one of only 43 companies out of more than 4,200 evaluated to receive a perfect score of 10.0 from Governance Metrics International. The company also was named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index in both 2010 and 2009.”
Hernandez said The Green Energy Act has established setbacks (the distance between a proposed turbine location and a specific feature) for people’s homes, roads, wetlands, watercourses, woodlots, parks and conservation areas, and a variety of other landscape features to ensure that wind projects are protective of people’s health, livelihood and the natural environment. “It is our responsibility during the REA to ensure that we have a complete understanding of the local environment and of the human landscape – the locations of homes, businesses, schools and heritage resources. Our communication and consultation program has been established specifically to seek assistance and knowledge from community members to ensure that our understanding is correct.”
“Many of the previous requirements of the Ontario Planning Act and Environmental Assessment Act are incorporated into the REA process. The Ontario Ministry of the Environment will review all project submissions for the REA. Other agencies, including the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Ministry of Transportation, the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and local conservation authorities provide input to the approval process.”
She said the Jericho Wind Energy Centre is expected to have a maximum generating capacity of up to 230 megawatts. The maximum proposed size is between 92 and 153 turbines ranging in capacity from 1.6-megawatts to 2.3-megawatts. A number of turbine manu facturers and types are being considered to ensure domestic content requirements in Ontario, these include GE and Siemens. The wind farm will be located in the Municipality of Lambton Shores, with potential electrical interconnection extending into Warwick and Brooke-Alvinston Townships in Lambton County. At maximum capacity, this project will provide energy for more than 57,000 homes.
For more information on this and other proposed wind energy centres in Ontario, please visit the project website: www.CanadianWindProposals.com
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