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Wind issues focus of meeting

MANVERS TWP. -A young girl took to the microphone at the Manvers Arena Thursday night and asked why developers want to build 400-foot-high industrial wind turbines in her town, instead of wind mills, when no one seems to have a problem with them.

“That’s a good question,” City of Kawartha Lakes Ward 16 Coun. Heather Stauble told Jazlyn Kooger who could barely reach the microphone in front of about 150 people at a town hall information meeting in which the documentary Windfall was shown.

The town is facing the prospect of 15 industrial wind turbines if the Ministry of the Environment approves them and the PC government doesn’t unseat the provincial Liberals at the Oct. 6 polls. The PCs have said they would place a moratorium on unapproved projects pending independent health studies.

But it wasn’t just City of Kawartha Lakes residents who attended the screening of the documentary -on how the small town of Meredith in upper state New York were divided by the wind issue. People came from Peterborough County, and the area of Millbrook and Clarington which are also facing the contentious issue.

Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes- Brock Liberal MPP Rick Johnson, a Pontypool-area resident, did not attend. PC candidate Laurie Scott and NDP candidate Don Abel did. Neither company proposing the Manvers wind projects, wpd Canada and Energy Farming Ontario, were on hand.

During a question and answer session after the documentary, one woman said it was ” eerie” how close the film was to what is happening in Manvers and across Ontario.

Bill Clark asked about health studies, saying he had friends in the Ripley area who “are telling me horror stories all the time. People are leaving houses.”

After a number of people asked about concerns ranging from setbacks, to effects on farm animals, to municipalities stripped of rights, to effects on property values, to health studies and to taking the province to court, one man got up to say he thought it was supposed to be an information meeting, not something with a “pre agenda. Let me make an informed decision,” he said.

“I understand why the other side isn’t here.”

Stauble said proponents had been invited a month earlier and chose not to attend. She said that made it hard to have “informed discussion.”

Stauble encouraged residents to continue to fight the big wind companies and another woman said “there is a lesson to be learned in reduction.”