Northumberland wind farm plans called a nightmare; Residents worry about threats to health, local economy
NORTHUMBERLAND – Residents throughout Northumberland County should be worried about industrial wind turbines being built in their area, say opponents of the Clean Breeze Wind Park proposed for Alnwick-Haldimand Township.
“These are two projects in one township but the risk is that they could come to any of the townships in the county,” said Gwyer Moore, a member of the Alliance for the Protection of Northumberland Hills, a citizens’ group that’s fighting to prevent a pair of 10-megawatt wind energy generation facilities proposed near Grafton and Centreton.
“It’s a nightmare waiting to happen.”
Mr. Moore and another Alliance member, Tyne Bonebakker, appeared before County council March 20 to summarize the “serious threats to the social and economic fabric of our community and the health of our citizens” that wind turbines represent.
They include “huge health issues” caused by the emission of low frequency sounds inaudible to the human ear, a potential decline in property values, and the adverse effect wind turbines could have on the county’s robust tourism industry.
Jim Corcoran, owner of Ste. Anne’s Spa, said his resort has attracted more than 200,000 people to Northumberland over the past 20 years. They were drawn by “the lack of intense industrial development and the beautiful stunning views,” he said, but he fears his business, which employs 150 people, will suffer if the County allows its values and great features to be “compromised.”
Calling it “a moral issue,” Mr. Bonebakker raised questions about allowing wind turbines in the Oak Ridges Moraine, the lack of regulations governing acceptable levels of low frequency sound, and the removal of citizens’ democratic rights under the Green Energy Act, which denies local governments authority over wind farms.
The Alliance asked the County to join Alnwick-Haldimand and more than 90 other municipal councils across the province that have asked for a moratorium on project approvals until studies are done on the impact wind turbines have on people’s health.
County representatives took no stance but Warden Hector Macmillan said, that while the County has no control over wind farms, “that doesn’t mean we can’t support an initiative morally” at a later date.
A report by M.K. Ince and Associates commissioned by the proponent, Zero Emission People, states, “The project has been designed in accordance with all applicable Ontario regulations and as such is not expected to cause impacts to human health.”
Calls for comment to Zero Emission People were not returned but in an e-mail the company said: “All concerns, questions, and comments received within the public comment period, will be addressed in the consultation report.”
The report and documents in support of the project will be posted on the Environmental Registry, www.ebr.gov.ca, for public review.
The consultants’ reports can be viewed online, at www.zeroemissionpeople.com, or at the Alnwick-Haldimand municipal office in Grafton.
Zero Emission People will host two public meetings at the municipal office, from 2 to 8 p.m. April 30 and from 7 to 9 p.m. May 1.
The Alliance has organized a community information meeting for April 11 at 7 p.m., at the Baltimore Recreation Centre. More information is provided at www.protectnorthumberlandhills.org.
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