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FIT, Green Energy Act protest organized

A Grey Highlands opponent of wind turbines has issued a strongly worded exhortation for residents of south Grey and Dufferin to join with her in a “massive protest” when “the Wind Industry Thieves are blowing into Toronto for the Ontario Feed In Tariff Forum April 3 and 4 at the Metro Convention Centre, 255 Front Street West.”

Saying the multi-national wind developers are the only benefactors of “(Premier) Dalton’s (McGuinty) Wind Scam,” Lorrie Gillis says they’ll be “at the Feed’in Trough (FIT), with their plans to transform the landscape, the community vibrancy and homes of rural Ontario into an “immense wind ghetto.”

And the wind opponents will be right across the street from the Centre, protesting the Green Energy Act (GEA) and the FIT program. They’ll be bused there from this area, and from several others.

The forum and the protest come at a time when the GEA is being reviewed, and follows a recent award of several large FIT contracts, but also almost coincides with reports of Ontario paying neighbouring jurisdictions to take its surplus energy.

Lorrie’s description of the wind industry and of the FIT might be worded unfairly, but Dufferin Warden Walter Kolodziechuk says he understands the frustrations of “standing on the sidelines” while proponents have their plans approved by the government.

The warden, who’s also deputy mayor of Amaranth, had been among delegates who listed to the premier speak recently at the Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) conference.

He said the premier spoke, among other things, of “consultation with stakeholders” in the current review of the GEA. However, Mr. Kolodziechuk said, “never that I recall has our municipality been consulted.”

He said Amaranth had meaningful suggestions to make to the premier and the ministries but “it doesn’t appear they are interested. They don’t have time for us. We are prepared to be co-operative but not to be discounted,” he said.

Amaranth, along with Melancthon, generally initiated a current call for a moratorium on wind farm development pending additional studies of their effects. “There are some real problems (that need to be resolved). But there’s no resolution without communication (and) perceptions become realities.” He said Amaranth is not opposed to Green Energy, but is opposed to the way in which it is being done.

Ms. Gillis has organized a bus for residents of this area, with stops at Chatsworth, Markdale, Flesherton, Dundalk, Shelburne and Orangeville.

The Shelburne stop is at the No Frills, likely at a bit after 9:40 a.m. Orangeville is at the Wendys/Tim Hortons a few minutes later. Seats must be reserved, and the ticket is $30 for the round trip. Call Lorrie at 519-922-3072 or email her at: lpcgillis @bmts.com

She is expecting a huge turnout for the protest as, she says, Premier McGuinty is refusing to acknowledge the widespread rural-Ontario call for a moratorium on wind farm developments, She quotes him as saying in the Legislature, “Our single strongest group of supporters and champions for feed-in tariff in Ontario, Speaker, is Ontario farmers.”

But various township councils have requested the moratorium and Ms. Gillis says the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and Christian Farmers Association have joined the call.

There are also buses from other parts of the province for the 11:30 protest march on April 3. The bus from this area is expected to return from Toronto at about 2 or 2:30 p.m.