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Local wind farm opponents determined to fight project

SOUTH DUNDAS – The group opposed to a large wind turbine farm isn’t about to give up, despite failing to twist the arms of township council.

South Branch Wind Opposition Group (WOG) spokesperson Leslie Disheau said WOG will continue efforts to stop ProWind from erecting 14 625-foot towers on land around Brinston, north of Morrisburg.

South Dundas council passed their endorsement of ProWind on Jan. 17.

“I am stunned council has decided to wash its hands of this issue, an issue that has negatively affected the health and property values of many other rural Ontario communities,” Disheau said in an email to council.

The general consensus of council was there was little council can do to influence the provincial government.

Ontario’s Green Energy Act supercedes municipal legislation.

Disheau said her group and other members of the public felt “muted” during ProWind’s last open house on Jan. 10.

She said a last-minute change of format, not allowing residents to counter any answers given by ProWind’s representatives, allowed the company to “control their message without being accountable to the public.”

WOG was also dismayed that provincial/municipal agencies such as the ministries of environment and natural resources, the Eastern Ontario Health Unit and the South Nation Conservation Authority had not been asked by ProWind to attend and provide input.

Disheau said WOG will continue to the fight Prowind’s project.

This Sunday, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Dixon’s Corners Community Centre, they will show a documentary, called WindFall.

The award-winning film portrays the divisive debate between residents of a small rural community in upstate New York that have endured the onset of nearby wind farms.

Disheau said the showing will inform residents about the wind farm power and are welcome to ask questions.

WOG has retained a lawyer, and now WOG members are becoming educated about the Environmental Review Tribunal process, which requires Prowind to go through for Ministry of Environment approval.

WOG has scheduled a meeting with area MPPs, with an invitation for MPs to attend.

The group is also involving the upper tier counties of S,D and G and Leeds and Grenville.

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture has since requested that wind power development be suspended until certain conditions are met, some of which mirror WOG’s concerns of health and nuisance complaints.

ProWind could not be reached for comment on Friday.