GRAND BEND – About 70 people were in attendance at a protest Sunday of the planned installation of wind turbines in or around the Thedford Bog near the Lambton County Museum.
At issue is the tundra swans that use the bog to rest and feed on their way from their wintering grounds in Chesapeake Bay to the Arctic shores breeding grounds.
Protesters believe that building turbines in the bog will disrupt the flight path of the swans and they will disappear from the area and never return as long as the turbines are in place.
Before the turbines get final approval, members of the Trees Not Turbines on Ontario’s West Coast, Ontario Wind Resistance, Middlesex Lambton Wind Action Group, WAIT Plympton-Wyoming and Wind Concerns Ontario are attempting to convince NextEra to stop the turbine invasion in the area.
Not only will the tundra swans disappear from the area, say the protesters, but there will be deaths of migratory birds and bats in the region and loss of tourist dollars to the communities if the swans disappear.
And according to the protesters, there are health issues with the placement of turbines for the people in the area.
The protesters claim that the rural areas are being torn apart by the controversy over wind turbines.
Then, protesters say, there are the millions of dollars of Ontario taxpayer dollars that are the result of dumping the expensive energy in other provinces or in the United States. That results from having an excess of electricity that Ontario doesn’t need.
Ontario recently acknowledged the province has been dumping electricity for a number of years at a tremendous loss.
At the same time as this dumping has been going on, the protesters say the taxpayer is seeing large increases in the cost to deliver power to the province.
All these things are under the protesters’ watch, but the meeting on Greenway Road near the Thedford Bog Sunday was mainly about protecting the tundra swans.
NextEra is the company proposing the building of turbines in the bog area, and they say in some advertising they will consult with stakeholders and complete a study of the birds in the area but protesters say the only study or bird count done by NextEra was last fall.
One of the organizers of the Sunday protest, Exeter’s Dianne Waun said, “They should be out there doing a bird count today when the swans are here, not after they’ve gone.”
Waun said that NextEra seems to be long on promise and short on delivery.
“I want them to go away and stop changing our rural way of life.”
She added, “Ideally, I would like to see them (NextEra) pack up and go back to Florida, where they are from.”
As far as taxation goes, Waun said she was tired of hearing about massive losses that Ontario has taken and passing them down to the taxpayers to pick up those losses. She feels that Ontario is subsidizing these giant companies at the expense of the taxpayer.
The protesters say they will continue their fight to keep the turbines out of the area to protect the tundra swans who have no voice to protect their migratory flight path.
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