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Locals not keen on turbine proposal

CREEMORE – More than two-dozen people were at the Creemore Community Centre on Monday night for an open house regarding a proposal for five wind turbines west of Dunedin.

Skyway 124 Wind Energy Inc., the project applicant, hosted the open house.

The meeting allowed Skyway an opportunity to give an overview of the proposal and collect feedback.

The company wants to erect turbines on property bounded by County Road 9 to the south, Nottawasaga Sideroad 12/13 to the north, County Road 124 to the west and Nottawasaga Concession 10 to the east.

Ben Scheetz is against the project. His family has a farm property and weekend home in the area.

He said the provincial government hasn’t done enough to study how wind turbines impact people’s health.

He said turbine blade noise and what’s called light flicker – sunlight literally flickering off the turbine blades – should be looked at before any more turbines are allowed in Ontario.

Scheetz also said it’s not fair that turbines cause neighbouring property values to drop.

“I’m all for green energy but it’s just not that efficient. You still burn fossil fuels when the wind isn’t blowing,” he added.

The McGuinty government pushed the Green Energy Act through too quickly, Scheetz said, leaving a lot of questions unanswered.

Melodie Burkett, another local resident, was also at the open house and is against the Skyway proposal.

Burkett said the McGuinty government has run roughshod over Ontarians in its attempt to get green energy projects up and running.

She noted it’s not right that the province’s Green Energy Act stripped Ontario municipalities from having a role as an approval body on wind turbine applications.

Others at the meeting shared similar concerns.

John Nicholson is a spokesperson for Skyway and said the comments collected at Monday night’s meeting will be taken into account as the process moves forward.

“After tonight we take this feedback, and we have a number of studies that are required – the acoustic study, a visual impact study, a natural environment study, a cultural heritage study – so quite a few studies and we’ll take the feedback from tonight’s meeting and make sure those studies address those issues to the best they are capable of and we’ll publish those studies and make them publicly available prior to another meeting,” he said.

Nicholson said they hope to publish the study findings in March 2012.

Following that there would be a 60-day public review and comment period and then a second open house in late spring 2012.

Skyway wants to formally submit its application to the province in the summer of 2012 and is hopeful it can get approval for the project within six months.

According to information on display at the open house, construction of the turbines would start in the summer of 2013.

The goal is to have them operational by the fall of 2013.

The company says the lifespan of the turbines is 20 years.