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Anti-turbine group to boycott CAW union  

About 100 homes are within 550 metres of the turbine, which is the minimum setback set out in the province’s Green Energy Act. The turbine is exempt from the act since approval was granted before it became law.

Credit:  By Denis Langlois, www.owensoundsuntimes.com 1 February 2012 ~~

Chrysler, General Motors, Air Canada and about 50 other companies are in the crosshairs of an anti-turbine group in Saugeen Shores that is planning a major boycott of the Canadian Auto Workers Union.

The 600-member group, known as STOP, intends to “pull the trigger” on the boycott within the next three weeks to protest the CAW’s controversial wind turbine, which is under construction beside the union’s Family Education Centre in Port Elgin, said spokesman Greg Schmalz.

“Health and safety is the issue, pure and simple,” he said in an interview.

“It’s not aesthetics or anything else. It’s you picked the wrong spot. You are going into the Guinness Book of World Records – no kidding, we’re applying for it – as the first turbine placed that close to people.”

STOP is calling for a moratorium on the completion and commissioning of the wind turbine until the CAW holds full public consultations on the project and presents reports that prove the turbine will not impact peoples’ health, decrease property values or effect wildlife.

The CAW says STOP’s planned boycott is a bad idea that will hurt many people in Saugeen Shores.

“People in the community have to remember that we employ over 100 people that live in that community,” said Ken Bondy, the CAW’s national health and safety co-ordinator.

“If their boycott was as effective as they would like to see it, ultimately it’s going to be harmful to the people that live right in the community that are employed by the Canadian Auto Workers education centre.”

The CAW is building a 76-metre turbine in Port Elgin.

The union says the project is an “important milestone” in its efforts to “build a more sustainable future.” It says it has taken all necessary precautions to address possible impacts on the community, including from noise, and has adhered to all federal and provincial regulations.

Opponents say the turbine is built too close to homes and, as a result, threatens the health and safety of many people and will reduce the value of nearby residential properties.

About 100 homes are within 550 metres of the turbine, which is the minimum setback set out in the province’s Green Energy Act. The turbine is exempt from the act since approval was granted before it became law.

Schmalz said 4,000 people live within 2,000 metres of the turbine, which is the minimum setback established by Saugeen Shores council last year. Those rules also don’t apply, since wind turbine approval rests with the province

STOP is in the planning stage of implementing its boycott. Schmalz said the group is now working to identify the companies that employ CAW members, so those businesses can be added to a boycott list.

He said the boycott, once started, will spread quickly across the province with the help of the 600 members of STOP, 250 members of the Saugeen Shores Beachers Association and members of 60 wind opposition groups in Ontario.

“It really is a province wide thing when it comes to wind opposition and we stick up for each other and the Wind Concerns groups all over Ontario are sticking up for us. It gives you a much broader reach then Saugeen Shores and our community here,” he said.

Bondy said STOP should reconsider the “unfortunate idea” of a CAW boycott.

“Boycotting products that are made by Canadian workers is never a good idea in our mind,” he said.

STOP is also asking the CAW to sign a legal contract that it agrees to shut off the turbine if it impacts peoples’ health.

Source:  By Denis Langlois, www.owensoundsuntimes.com 1 February 2012

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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