August 17, 2012

Wildlife warning issued at wind energy meeting

Kelly McShane | 16 August 2012

TROUT CREEK – Wind turbines could put an end to hunting and trapping in the area.

“These turbines will mean a loss of habitat for animals in the area,” said Trout Creek resident Patricia Brown of the project that is currently in the works in the neighbouring Township of Laurier. “Mammals will leave the area because of the vibrations in the ground. Once these things go up, they won’t be sticking around.”

The affects of wind turbines on bird migration patterns, livestock, and native wildlife got a rise out of Paul Chapman, an area hunter.

“I’ve been here my whole life and there are lot’s of hunters and trappers around here that use that area,” he said.

More than 100 people, including MPP Vic Fedeli, MP Jay Aspin, and Powassan Mayor Peter McIsaac, filed into the Trout Creek Community Centre Tuesday night looking for information on the wind farm.

The project will encompass more than 450 hectares of Crown land approximately one kilometre southeast of Trout Creek, south of Forestry Road, west of Ralph’s Road, and east of Highway 11.

“The fact that this is on Crown land means we should have a say,” said Brown. “This is everyone’s land.”

Schneider Power Inc., the proponent, announced plans to hold a public meeting on Aug. 21 at the community centre as a mandatory requirement of the Ontario Renewable Energy application review process. The company has already received Feed-In Tariff (FIT) program approval.

Brown decided to hold her own meeting one week prior to better inform local residents of the questions they should be asking the company.

Brown’s meeting was organized in partnership with the founders of STOMP, a local anti-turbine group, which has held a series of information sessions in opposition to a proposed wind project development on private land in Powassan.

The meetings have highlighted the negative affects of wind energy, including health, financial and environmental impacts.

STOMP co-founder Kevin Smith said the key is to keep the wind energy companies from getting their foot in the door.

“They’re out there banging on doors and they’re like a vacuum cleaner salesman. They won’t leave until you’ve signed up,” he said. “And people will sign because it’s now or never. Farming is hard nowadays and these guys are offering you the difference of what you didn’t make this year, but before you know it, you can’t use your land for the next 40 years.”

Fedeli, who has been a speaker at previous STOMP gatherings, attended to speak on the negative effects Green Energy Act subsidies are having on the economy.

Fedeli said global adjustment fees installed to compensate for the losses created by green energy subsidies have shut down industry in Ontario.

He said Ontario now has the second highest energy rate in North America. According to Fedeli the province now makes more energy than ever before, but is using very little. The province then pays Quebec and the U.S. to take the energy, making it cheaper for companies to set up shop elsewhere.

“How are we supposed to attract industry?” he asked. “Ontario was built on cheap power and that power came from water – Niagara Falls. We paid for those generators a hundred years ago, so why are we paying companies to produce power we don’t need and allowing water to spill over the falls without collecting electricity?”

Under the Act, the municipalities have no say on green energy projects, which are governed solely by the Province.

Last month, Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq announced a $1.8-million study into the affects of wind turbines, which is being conducted by 25 experts in acoustics, health assessment and medicine, including four international advisors.

MP Aspin, who has a strong background in alternative energy, said he wants a moratorium on wind projects until the study is complete.

“Nobody has any answers in Canada because it hasn’t been studied,” he said. “Doesn’t it make sense to take a time out until we know the impacts?”

Aspin said he sent a letter to Tom Schneider, president of Schneider Power, asking him to hold off on the project until the study is complete. He said he hasn’t heard anything back yet.

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