Opponents of wind power should now focus their efforts on lobbying Ontario’s Liberal leadership candidates to rethink the government’s stance, Prince Edward County’s mayor says
Peter Mertens made the remark Saturday, three days after he announced his council won’t appeal a provincial decision to allow Gilead Power to build nine wind turbines along Ostrander Point along the county’s south shore. The council and other groups oppose wind power, saying it will harm property values, human and animal health, the environment and more.
Mertens told The Intelligencer the doesn’t fear much political backlash for council’s inability to stop the project.
But he said the fight and the recent provincial approval is “galvanizing people” in the county and they should voice their concerns to the seven people vying to replace Premier Dalton McGuinty.
“Those people are very much paying attention now. That’s the opportunity here,” Mertens said.
He said the McGuinty was associated closely with green energy and that will make it easier for a newcomer in the premier’s office to revisit the approach and possibly even slow the pace of wind power projects.
“The financial model on this whole wind and green energy doesn’t work,” he said.
“I do believe this is a watershed moment, because the first domino has to drop,” said Mertens.
“It’s the opening of the door” for more wind power in Prince Edward and elsewhere, the mayor said.
He said others outside the county are watching how the province proceeds and they realize Prince Edward residents “are getting screwed.”
But they also understand that there was little council could do to stop it.
“They’ve really left us no reasonable option to appeal this,” said Mertens.
The 15-day appeal window is one thing, he said, but proving the negative side of turbines would require so many resources that the effort would be “futile,” he said.
“We could maybe still spend $100,000 on consultants and still not be any further ahead.
“What we learned from this first review is that the deck is pretty much stacked against you,” said Mertens.
“The test cases were lengthy and they had experts from all over the world – and it made no difference.”
He said any criticism of the council’s actions “would have come regardless of which way it went.
“It has been divisive,” he said, adding those divisions among the public are likely to remain.
The mayor and council will hold their new year’s levee Sunday, Jan. 6 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Ameliasburgh Town Hall, 13 Coleman St.
Watch The Intelligencer for a second story on the interview with Mertens.
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