NORTHUMBERLAND – A grassroots movement opposing industrial wind turbines on the Oak Ridges Moraine in Northumberland will continue its fight by hosting a community information meeting next month at the Baltimore Recreation Centre.
While there are solar installations across the county, to date their are no large-scale wind turbine operations.
The Alliance for the Protection of the Northumberland Hills (APNH) has already spoken to Northumberland County Council, and is in the midst of addressing each member municipality’s council.
The APNH has recently received support from Alnwick / Haldimand Township councillors, where two wind projects are proposed. That council supported the group’s resolution to ask the provincial government, among other things, to impose a moratorium while health studies are underway and not to permit turbines on the moraine.
In a separate letter dated March 7, sent to various provincial members of parliament, the Ontario Eastern Wardens Caucus, Association of Municipalities of Ontario, Federation of Agriculture, etc., Alnwick / Haldimand also outlined three concerns related to the changes to the Green Energy Act and the Feed-In Tariff (FIT) Program. In particular, the letter objects to the new form seeking municipal approval from applicants without allowing sufficient opportunity to review and seek public input about them, as well as not requiring any local studies by the applicant for the municipality to take a position before such a project becomes a “fait accompli.”
Some of these concerns will no doubt be reiterated at the APNH’s 7 p.m. April 11 community information meeting when speakers will include Barb Ashbee, who lives near wind turbines; local health unit board member Heather Stauble, a City of Kawartha Lakes council member who represents some of her constituents who are fighting wind turbines in the Millbrook area; Carmen Krogh addressing health concerns; and Baltimore-area resident Stu Henry, a former securities CAO, about the Green Energy Act and how contracts are affecting taxpayers’ financial health.
The immediate concern facing members of the Alliance for the Protection of the Northumberland Hills is two proposed industrial wind turbine farms (one near Grafton and another near Centreton, consisting of five turbines each) proposed by Clean Breeze. The first of these two industrial installations could be in operation next year if it receives all the necessary provincial approvals under the Green Energy Act.
During last week’s Northumberland County Council session, Alliance spokesperson Gwyer Moore stressed that the organization is not against green energy and wind turbines, and that while some people think that the movement is driven by “Not in My Back Yard” emotion, such is not the case. There are serious environmental and health concerns that need to be addressed first, including not violating the Oak Ridges Moraine Act with industrial development, plus the need to site wind turbines farther from residences for health-related reasons.
“We will not be willing hosts for these turbines in this county” unless these and other concerns are met, he said.
Another Alliance member, Tyne Bonebakker, provided county councillors with a visual presentation that reiterated some of these concerns and raised others, such as those directly affecting municipalities – the cost of dealing with abandoned turbines and emergency-related issues. He also talked about the impact of infrasound, not measured under the siting parameters for wind turbines.
“They travel long distances,” he said of infrasound waves, “through walls and windows, and we experience those vibrations.”
Will two large dairy farms in the area be affected? Bonebakker wanted to know.
Corcoran, the third speaker about the wind turbine proposals, said he has spent the past 20 years building up his spa business which has attracted 200,000 people to this county.
If this county becomes known as a place with industrial wind turbine farms marring the beauty of its hills and landscape, it will adversely affect Ste. Anne’s and the 150 jobs it creates, he said.
In another municipal forum last week, Hamilton Township councillors continued to deal with concerns about wind turbines.
Council supported the March 7 letter from Alnwick/Haldimand and the Feed-In Tariff Program and Industrial Wind Farms, and moved forward with plans to hold its own public meeting to find out what its own taxpayers are thinking in light of a recent presentation by Stu Henry, plus concerns raised by some of its councillors including Donna Cole, about the financial implications of the municipality supporting large-scale Green Energy contracts.
That meeting may not take place until May, Mayor Mark Lovshin said in an interview.
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