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Turbine opponents present case to packed North Gower meeting; MPP vows to scrap wind energy project

North Gower residents concerned about a proposed wind energy project filled a room to hear a presentation by an anti-turbine industry group Wednesday evening.

Speakers affiliated with the advocacy group Wind Concerns Ontario made their case that the provincial Liberals’ push to harness wind energy was inefficient, bad for local wildlife and harmful to human health.

John Laforet, the group president who is on a speaking tour across the province, said the government should put a moratorium on new industrial wind turbines until scientists came to an evidence-based conclusion about how far they should be built from residences.

“What we have here is a coverup,” Laforet said. “The Minister of Health is downplaying these adverse effects”.

About 50 rural residents filled almost every available chair at the Ottawa Client Services Centre on Roger Stevens Drive to listen to a panel of speakers organized by Wind Concerns Ontario. A sign reading “Turbines make bad neighbours” was posted behind the table where the speakers were seated.

Local Conservative incumbent MPP Lisa MacLeod was also there, along with volunteers in blue T-shirts who handed out pamphlets. Mac-Leod has said she would work to scrap the wind turbine project if re-elected on Oct. 6.

Laforet urged the people attending the meeting to vote for MacLeod and to volunteer to campaign with Conservative candidates in Ottawa’s swing ridings.

The McGuinty Liberal government has thrown its weight behind a proposal by a company called Prowind Canada to build an eight-to-10turbine project near North Gower as part of its clean energy plan. Local opponents of the plan have also mobilized, forming a group called North Gower Wind Action.

Opponents argue the proposed site is too close to homes. Karen Dubien, a 54-year-old preschool teacher, said she may find herself looking across the street at the 190-metre turbines and wasn’t happy about it.

“Property values, health, the cost,” she said, listing her concerns. “I have no problem with someone having a business and earning a living, but, when it affects me, I have a problem.”