West Lincoln council has again asked Dalton McGuinty to halt all proposed industrial wind turbine projects in the province – this time by way of two resolutions.
It was standing room only at council chambers Tuesday night as hundreds of turbine opponents stormed township hall to urge council to pass the two resolutions – presented by aldermen Lou DiLeonardo and Joanne Chechalk – on the table. From two hours before the 6:30 p.m. start time of Tuesday’s meeting, members of the West Lincoln Glanbrook Wind Action Group protested the two projects prooposed for West Lincoln outside township hall. Carrying signs reading “stop the wind turbines” and “health studies before wind turbines.”
They then poured into township hall. Council chambers filled up quickly and Fire Chief Dennis Fisher stood guard at the door ensuring no others entered. The rest remained in the lobby unable to hear the pleas of residents as they made their case to council one by one.
Robert Russo told council how, over Thanksgiving weekend, he drove to Chatham Kent and was distracted by the looming giants there.
“I couldn’t keep my eyes on the road,” said Russo, noting he recently sold his home and, depending on how council voted, would donate $1,500 to the WLGWAG to support its billboard campaign. “I felt car sick.”
Ross Edwards moved to West Lincoln two months ago. When he and his wife put the final offer in on their dream home in the country, the exact locations of the turbines were not known. He went forward with the purchase and has now learned two of the three megawatt turbines proposed by Niagara Region Wind Corp. will be erected next to his home.
“This affects what I can do with my property,” he said. “When you vote tonight, think about all the people … we are all looking to you guys.”
Clifford Travis, whose family has lived in West Lincoln since 1794, called the situation a “tragedy in West Lincoln” where “looming giants” would take over the skyline. He said the province was “hiding behind the Green Energy Act” and that it was splitting communities.
Mark Zylstra said he feared how the turbines would impact his life at home. His daughter lives three kilometres from wind turbines in Iowa. When he visits, he said, he can’t sleep because of the “whomp, whomp, whomp” of the spinning blades.
“I said to my wife, I can’t live here. But now I can’t live in my home either,” said Zylstra. “I am begging you,” he said, his voice cracking with emotion. “Whatever you can do prevent this, please do so.”
Sue Atkins, also near tears, read from a poem she wrote called ‘Take Time to See.’ She desrcibes the landscape of her dream home with “distant hills and trees so high, the rolling clouds and bright blue sky.” She speaks of the birds and the deer. Then the poem takes a darker turn: “The trees, pastures and lush everglades, replaced by concrete and turning blades.”
She ends the poem with a plea: “McGuinty’s voice is loud and clear, the country folk he doesn’t hear, my master gave me these views to see, please don’t take them away from me.”
“These are not good for anybody, anywhere, ever,” said Mark Kramer with a simple message to council: “kabosh it.”
The last to speak was Shellie Correia who made an emotional plea to council expressing health concerns for her son, Joey. Since he was two, Joey has had a sensitivity to noise. A combination of therapy and medications has kept Joey well and in school, but Correia, who lost a daughter to cancer before Joey was born, fears the turbines will negatively impact Joey.
“The progress Joey has made is being threatened. We’ve been told that soon we will be surrounded by gigantic, three-megawatt industrial wind turbines,” she said. “At 572 feet tall, they are the largest ever installed and one of them will be in the field behind our home at the absolute minimum setback of 550 metres. I have done a mountain of research since learning of this, and what I have found is very scary.”
There was little debate from council who unanimously supported both motions. DiLeonardo’s motion asked the province to immediately impose a moratorium on the planning, development, construction and approval of Renewable Energy Approval applications for industrial wind turbines in the province of Ontario until such a time as the federal health study has been completed and all recommendations have been implemented.
At the Sept. 10 planning and development committee meeting, residents demanded council request the province put a moratorium on wind turbine development until the results of a Health Canada study, announced in July, which will explore the relationship between wind turbine noise and health effects reported by, and objectively measured in, people living near wind power developments.
The resolution also asks the province to release all wind turbine developers with provincial contracts from their obligations. The motion also calls on the federal government to broaden the scope of the study to “encompass a review of all health and/or potential impacts to persons.”
Chechalk’s motion, while similar to DiLeonardo’s, had the added stipulation about protecting agriculture. Her motion asked for a moratorium on industrial wind turbine projects until the impact on agriculture and livestock is known. She said she brought her motion forward as another avenue to push for a moratorium.
“It’s another chance to gain support on a moratorium,” said Chechalk. “What we are trying to do is take every avenue we can do ensure the health of our community is upheld.”
Both motions were unanimously supported by council. They will receive a final approval at the Oct. 24 council meeting.
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