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Anemometer to remain until 2012

The anemometer that Toronto Hydro has been using to test wind levels off the Scarborough Bluffs will remain there until the fall of 2012, over the objections of local residents who want the device out of the lake as soon as possible.

That was the recommendation from Toronto’s executive committee Tuesday, Nov. 1, who was considering a proposal to stop the two-year research project a couple of months early.

Toronto Hydro had set up the project to investigate the possibility of installing wind turbines on Lake Ontario off the Scarborough Bluffs. Intense opposition from homeowners who live along Scarborough’s eastern waterfront saw the plan to build wind turbines nixed by the Ontario Liberal government in February of this year.

On Tuesday, some of those residents came to the executive committee to ask that the testing stop, too. According to a staff report, the project costs $1,000 a month to continue to monitor wind levels, and is slated to wrap up in the fall of 2012.

The earliest that the device could be removed safely is in the late spring of 2012.

“We have the opportunity to remove the platform in the spring,” said Sherri Lange, of North American Platform Against Wind Power and a local resident. “The monitoring is costing taxpayers money. We might as well just nip it in the bud and remove it ASAP.”

Roy Wright, who has lived in the Guildwood neigbhourhood for the past 40 years, said given the lack of support for the plan to build wind turbines, it made sense to stop any research as soon as possible. “I feel an urge to get this out of the water and put an end to the whole venture.”

Local councillor Paul Ainslie tried to convince fellow committee members to cut the research short. He pointed out that the wind levels have turned out to be lower than expected and that it was the will of the community.

“They want it out pure and simple,” he said. “They want to know that the money they’re sending to Toronto Hydro is well spent and this is very symbolic.”

Other members of the committee – including Mayor Rob Ford – were unwilling to cut the research short.

“I think there’s been a heck of a lot more wind about turbines in this room than there is on the lake,” said Willowdale Councillor David Shiner. “The results that are there are important results. You’ll be able to see and have more data on how the wind on the lake may be performing and how it affects us and where we live. That’s all this is: data collection. The current government is not permitting more wind turbines to go in. We’re actually going to waste more of taxpayers’ dollars to take it out.”

The committee did support an amendment to instruct Toronto Hydro to end the research project on schedule and not extend the work any further.