March 21, 2013

Wind turbine petition heading to Queen’s Park

More than 2,500 signatures collected | By Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer | Wednesday, March 20, 2013 |

Anti-wind farm activists in Plympton-Wyoming say they plan to deliver a petition with more than 2,500 signatures Friday to Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey.

The group, We’re Against Industrial Turbines in Plympton-Wyoming (WAIT-PW), has been circulating the petition since forming to oppose Suncor Energy Products’ plan to build up to 46-turbines across a wide stretch of rural northern Lambton County.

The petition calls for wind turbine development to stop “until citizens are property consulted and informed, and the local government processes respected.”

Members of WAIT-PW group plan to meet up with Bailey, a member of Ontario’s PC opposition, at 4:30 p.m. outside the municipal office on Niagara Street in Wyoming.

“I intend to take those petitions and present them in the House to the minister of energy and formally let him know what the people of Plympton-Wyoming, and the surrounding area, think of their wind turbine program,” Bailey said.

Suncor has scheduled public open houses for early April as part of the provincial environmental approval process for wind projects.

The company already has a Feed-In Tariff contract to sell electricity from the wind farm to the province’s electricity transmission grid. It has said it would like to have the turbines built and operating by next year.

Suncor is also taking the Town of Plympton-Wyoming to court over the municipality’s tough wind turbine bylaws, including a requirement they be at least 2-km away from neighbouring homes.

Ontario only requires a 550-metre setback and Suncor officials have said they believe the town’s bylaws are in conflict with process laid out by the province for wind projects.

Bailey said he thinks the provincial government is starting to get the message about concerns over wind farm developments.

“They hear every day from people that have been impacted by it.”

Bailey said his own party agrees with Plympton-Wyoming council’s call for a moratorium on new wind farms in Ontario until their impact on human health can be studied.

WAIT-PW ‘s chairperson, Keith Watson, calls the municipality’s stand a “courageous” one.

“Plympton-Wyoming has listened to the vast majority of their constituents and is acting on their behalf.”

Esther Wrightman, a wind activist in neighbouring Middlesex County, said she believes Suncor’s lawsuit is part of a trend of wind companies “biting back” at municipalities opposing their projects.

Another wind company has taken Wainfleet Township in the Niagara area to court over a bylaw similar to Plympton-Wyoming’s. Wrightman said some companies have been using what she considers aggressive language with other municipalities.

“It’s kind of a passive aggressive bullying.”

Wrightman blames Ontario’s Green Energy Act. It took planning oversight for renewable energy projects away from municipalities.

“It tells you flat out, the people don’t have the power, the townships don’t have the power, the wind companies do have the power.”

Wrightman said wind activists in her own municipality weren’t able to convince their township council to do what Plympton-Wyoming is.

“That’s kind of a dream to have a council that would stand up to the wind companies,” she said.

“They are very lucky, those people.”

[rest of article available at source]

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