SINGHAMPTON – Skyway 124, on Thursday night, held its second open house regarding its plans to erect three wind turbines between Singhampton and Dunedin.
And the sentiment among most residents remains the same: they don’t want turbines in their neighbourhood.
Paul Briggs, who lives near where the turbines would be situated, was one of the many people who attended the open house at the Singhampton Community Centre.
“I’ll be able to see the top 300 feet of them, considering they’re almost 400 feet tall,” he says. “There will be three of them visible, two of them really visible. I’m not a fan of them and I’m not a fan of the economics of green energy projects. The province’s wind turbine program is a complete bust. It’s been pointed out by many. The province is subsidizing these projects and that’s wrong.”
Briggs says locals need to take a stand.
“My firm line, and it’s shared by a number of other local people, is the only way to get action on this is to sue the wind turbine company, the landowner and possibly the provincial government,” he says. “This action isn’t new either, it’s happening elsewhere.”
It’s unfortunate legal action is what’s required, Briggs adds.
“But we can’t afford to lose the value of our land, which is what happens if you live near these things and we don’t want these turbines to make us sick, which is a real possibility,” he says.
Steps are already being taken to launch a lawsuit, he adds.
“The wheels are already turning on it,” he says.
It’s a shame that the provincial government at Queen’s Park doesn’t take the concerns that people have about green energy projects more seriously, Briggs says.
“It boils down to three letters though. ‘E’, ‘g’, ‘o’. Ego. And unfortunately our premier has a huge ego and he has this notion that this is good for us. Premier Dad he is. And the unfortunate thing is he’s let his ego get in the way of making good decisions. It’s unfortunate and we have to change it,” he says.
Briggs notes people should never allow a turbine on their property.
“Agreeing to build a turbine is a very selfish thing to do,” he says. “It basically says ‘I’m going to benefit from this and to heck with my neighbours and my community.’”
Doug Measures, a Clearview Township councillor, representing Ward 1, was also at the open house in Singhampton and shares Briggs’ sentiment.
“I am absolutely opposed to turbines in our community,” he says. “Frankly I think they are ridiculous. It doesn’t suit our municipality. It doesn’t suit our needs. Now I’ll clarify that a bit and say I think the technology is good technology. My problem with it is the investment – the provincial subsidies that are provided so that these companies can operate them.”
Thom Paterson, a Clearview Township councillor, representing Ward 4, was also at the open house.
Paterson successfully lobbied Skyway to host the open house in Singhampton, after an open house in December in Creemore, which Paterson and others felt didn’t contain enough detailed information.
Paterson also had concerns that the Creemore open house wasn’t advertised well enough.
And he felt the open house should have been held in Singhampton, as the village is closer to where the turbines would be situated.
Paterson says he doesn’t think the meeting in Singhampton was an improvement.
“In my mind there is still a lack of forthrightness,” he says. “I would have liked to have seen them have an open session, then a 20-minute presentation and then have questions and answers so everyone can listen, rather than this open house format where you look at panels and talk one-on-one.”
Still, Paterson – who also doesn’t like the idea of the province subsidizing green energy projects – says he thinks the turnout at the Singhampton meeting was better.
John Nicholson, a spokesperson for Skyway, says the objective of the open house is to show people the project and tell them what related studies are taking place.
“We also want to get feedback from them, find out what their concerns are and what’s important to them,” he says.
After all of its studies are complete, Nicholson says Skyway will provide them to Clearview Township for a 90-day review period. He says the reports should be ready sometime this summer.
There will also be a 60-day public review period prior to the next open house, he says.
Following the next open house, a date isn’t known yet, the company will formally submit its application to the Ontario Ministry of Environment, at which point Nicholson says the province will have six months to review it and make a decision.
Skyway would like to start construction of the turbines in 2013.
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