Melancthon residents have joined forces in an attempt to stop more wind turbines from further sprouting in their municipality.
More than a dozen members of Melancthon Wind Resistance served as the welcoming committee at a Public Information Centre (PIC) in Horning’s Mills on Tuesday (July 24) regarding Dufferin Wind Power’s plan to erect 49 turbines within the municipality.
“We’re a growing number of people who don’t want to roll over and play dead. We will continue to fight,” said Dennis Sanford, spokesperson for the group, which formed earlier this year.
“We’ve been protesting where we can and connecting with neighbours who are against it too.”
Melancthon Wind Resistance, comprised of about 10 families from the municipality, waved placards, chanted anti-wind slogans and played a recording of the noise generated by turbines during their Horning’s Mills protest of the Dufferin Wind project.
“It’s really a small group. I think there are a lot of people who don’t want to come out and say anything,” Sanford said. “A lot of people are silent and there are a variety of reasons why they remain silent.”
One of the unifying issues for the group is a turbine’s effect on a home’s value.
“Frankly, I would not be interested in a property that is in a turbine development, that definitely would lower its value in my eyes,” said Sanford, who lives about 620 metres from one of Dufferin Wind Power’s planned turbine sites.
During the PIC, panel member George Canning from Canning Consultants Inc. said he has not been able to find evidence turbines affect property value. His consulting company conducted a ‘thorough’ study on property value and its relation to wind turbines in Chatham-Kent, but did not find a correlation. He added he has read numerous studies from the United States and Europe examining a connection between turbines and property values.
“It’s just not surfacing. That doesn’t mean that it is not there,” Canning said.
However, Canning said he does not know if turbines have affected property value in Melancthon.
“You can’t take our findings in Chatham-Kent and apply them throughout Ontario. That’s not fair,” he acknowledged.
During the two-hour PIC question period, the panel assembled by Dufferin Wind Power answered about 50 questions submitted by the audience. Reported negative health impacts was one of the chief concerns raised.
“The overwhelming state of evidence and findings from government agencies around the world is, when sited properly, wind turbines will not be related to adverse health affects,” said panel member Dr. Loren Knopper, from Intrinsik Environmental Sciences.
Health Canada and Statistics Canada announced they will investigate potential health affects reported and measured by people living near wind projects.
“I think it will show these things can live in the community,” said Dufferin Wind Power senior vice president Jeff Hammond.
Possible health affects is one area where turbine opposition has gained ground, according to Sanford.
“The federal government wants to have a health study? Why? So many people have been raising this issue for so long,” Sanford said. “There is some impact occurring because of the opposition.”
Melancthon residents also questioned why two Dufferin Wind Power employees were seen removing anti-turbine signs from utility poles in Melancthon. Hammond said they were not chastised for taking down the signs.
“I thanked them,” Hammond said. “We actually were reprimanded by Hydro One. They thought we were doing it. Why? I don’t know.”
Hammond said attaching signs to a Hydro One pole is a dangerous practice.
“The most important point is you guys shouldn’t be putting signs up on poles. We shouldn’t be taking them down,” Hammond said. “It’s dangerous for you guys. Please don’t’ do it.”
A similar PIC was held in Amaranth yesterday, with one in Mulmur tonight, Mono on Friday and Shelburne on Saturday.
McKinnon explained the PICs are not the end of the consultation process. Following the PICs, the final REA document will be submitted to the Ministry of Environment.
“The Ministry of Environment is then obligated to hold a consultative period as part of their review process,” McKinnon said.
McKinnon added a lengthy consultation and disclosure process in expected in the development of the process.