Anita Frayne would like Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh council to consider asking its residents, in a democratic way, how they feel about the K2 Wind Power Project.
At an ACW council meeting last week, Frayne referenced a study by the Elma-Mornington Concerned Citizens Community group.
Some 610 households were surveyed and 96 per cent of respondents said they were opposed to an Invenergy Wind Turbine project in North Perth and Perth East. K2 is proposing some 140 turbines in the ACW project, which could start next year. “I think a poll would be an intelligent move on the part of our council given what is going on in this township,” Frayne said after the council meeting.
“The council represents the people of ACW. If there is an issue, a very large issue, and you are not sure what you should be doing, I don’t think it is unreasonable to get direction from the people you represent and use that as guidance as you move forward.”
Wind turbines are part of the provincial Liberal government’s green energy initiatives, but there is no shortage of opposition to them across the province. Health Canada will study adverse health effects of wind turbines and that issue has been a local focus. More than 700 ACW residents have signed a petition opposing the K2 project.
Knowing how residents feel about the K2 project and wind energy may help guide council in its future decisions, Frayne said.
Frayne also referenced North Perth council, who unanimously endorsed a motion in May indicating it does not support a proposal for local wind turbine development.
The company behind the project has already obtained a Feed-In-Tariff contract and is continuing along with a development that could see as many as 27 turbines in North Perth and Perth East.
Coun. Barry Millian said at the meeting that ACW council would need to know what was accomplished by the citizens’ group survey in Perth County. Coun. Doug Miller said the wording of the question (for any poll or survey) would be the toughest part of the process.
“In our municipality when you get out of the way from where you people are, part of the area that K2 is involved in, I think a lot people don’t have much awareness about what is going on at all,” he added.
Frayne did not agree with Coun. Miller’s comment.
“I think it is fair to say that people are far more knowledgeable than they were six months ago. They are catching on. They are in tune to what is happening here and what the potential is here.”
Frayne said it is interesting to talk to people and hear what they have to say about the issue.
“The economic concern is huge. More than any other, that is the one I hear the most that turbines do not make economic sense. They are an intermittent supply of power. They depend on gas-fired backup when they are not running. They are not a stable or reliable source of power.”
Frayne agrees with green energy and hopes that people don’t think anti-wind turbine means anti-green energy.
“Anyone who is against green energy would not be thinking too hard. This is not a discussion of whether or not you are for or against green energy. This is about a particular type of energy development that is being purported as green energy and more and more people are starting to understand very well that is not what is going on here.”