PORT DOVER – Hundreds of concerned residents and activists from across the province gathered for Norfolk’s first anti-wind turbine rally Saturday.
Carrying homemade signs and chanting politically-charged messages, protesters marched single file from Silver Lake Park through the beachside community of Port Dover. Officers from the Norfolk OPP detachment were present, ensuring protesters crossed busy intersections safely.
Marnie Knight, of Haldimand Wind Concerns that organized the rally, was pleased with the turnout.
“I was hoping for a beautiful day, which we got,” she said. “I was hoping enough people are ticked off, which they are.”
Both Haldimand and Norfolk residents united Saturday to publicly show their disdain over a wind turbine development that will impact both counties. Capitol Power plans to erect 58 industrial turbines in an area that stretches east of Port Dover into Haldimand County.
By the time the development is done, Ernie King, of Dunnville, will have two wind turbines a maximum of 600 metres away from his home. His wife already suffers from migraine headaches.
“This is not going to be good for our house,” he said. “The more I learnt, the more I became aware what was being done was wrong.”
Concerned residents continue to win battles against wind turbine developments by simply rallying together, reminded Jon Laforet, president of Wind Concerns Ontario before Saturday’s protest. He urged residents to file a comment through the Environmental Bill of Rights process about the Capitol Power project. The deadline for public comment is set to expire Monday.
Laforet was part of a group that successfully kept turbines off the Scarborough Bluffs.
“The way we won was writing into the Environmental Bill of Rights,” he said, adding 1,400 comments were submitted through the public input process.
Saturday’s rally was also used to promote Windyleaks, a new website designed to share green energy documents obtained through Freedom of Information requests.
“We are using Windyleaks through the Facebook group and the website to share with people across Ontario information that quite frankly is embarrassing for the McGuinty government,” said Ian Hanna, vice-president of Wind Concerns Ontario.
The McGuinty government was under attack for its handling of green energy at Saturday’s rally. Municipal governments have been left powerless in the face of the Green Energy Act, Laforet said.
“I use to be a Liberal – a former federal Liberal riding president,” Laforet said. “Once I even worked for Brad Duguid and now here I am president of Wind Concerns Ontario and for the first time I’m voting Progressive Conservative in an election.”
Protesters were asked to show their support for Progressive Conservative MPP Toby Barrett, who was in attendance, by door knocking in Port Dover after the rally.
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