VITTORIA – Marnie Knight is prepared to head to prison.
The 56-year-old Selkirk resident is willing to put her life on hold to stand up to the province. Already living a mile and half from four turbines, the former Ontario Power Generation employee cannot stand by and watch more turbines invade Haldimand County.
A plan to stop further expansion has already been devised, she told community members at a public meeting last night. She is willing to use her vehicle to block the entrance of any future industrial turbine site.
“The keys will go into the Grand River and I’m going to go to jail for this,” she told an audience in Vittoria. “Who here would honestly do the same?”
A roar of applause filled the Vittoria & District Community Centre.
Such a passionate response to wind turbines isn’t unusual in the community, MPP Toby Barrett has found out.
“I’ve talked to a number of people that have expressed to me if push comes to shove, they are willing to do drastic measures,” he told the crowd last night, “and this comes from pretty quite polite people.”
A crowd of such passionate residents packed the community centre for a stop in the Truth about Turbines Tour. The public sessions organized by Wind Concerns Ontario are meant to educate residents about the potential health and environmental impacts of these turbines.
Currently, the Green Energy Act enacted by the McGuinty government has tied the hands of residents and municipal governments, said John Laforet, president of Wind Concerns Ontario last night. Municipal councils can now only comment rather than decide on applications brought forth under the Green Energy Act.
So far, five Progressive Conservative MPs have brought forth motions for a moratorium on approving industrial wind turbines. These private member bills have been shut down at Queen’s Park.
“That’s why this election is so critical,” Laforet said. “I want everyone before they leave tonight to tell Toby Barrett his job is safe if your home is safe…”
The effort of concerned residents across the province is already being felt, reminded Ian Hanna of Prince Edward County. He launched a judicial review over wind turbine setback distances back in 2009.
While a panel of judges eventually ruled in favour of the province, the legal challenge at least delayed the construction of 7,000 wind turbines across the province.
“If nothing else, we held things up for 20 months,” he said last night. “We’ve very, very pleased with that.”
He encouraged local residents to consider launching cases with the Environmental Review Tribunal.
“No more people in this province should be chased from their homes,” Hanna said. “We have to say, ‘Back up the truck.'”
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