“NOT willing hosts!” was the message Prince Edward County and Amherst Island residents protesting wind energy projects delivered to Premier Kathleen Wynne.
More than 100 people endured freezing cold and bitter winds to show opposition to Gilead Power’s project at Ostrander Point, wpd Canada’s White Pines project, and Algonquin Power’s project on Amherst Island.
Protestors from the County were members of the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC), Prince Edward County Field Naturalists (PECFN), South Shore Conservancy (SSC), and the Coalition for Safe and Appropriate Green Energy (CCSAGE), which had coordinated the rally. They were joined by residents of Amherst Island.
They first confronted Wynne at a Belleville restaurant where she was speaking to Liberal party supporters. Infiltrating the reception, they pressed documents on Wynne and her assistants that describe the potential harm to the natural environment, heritage landscape, and tourist economy, as well as to the health of County residents.
Later, they lined the road leading to the Procter and Gamble plant where Wynne met with Belleville’s business leaders. Upon arrival, Wynne got out of her vehicle and spoke to protestors. She offered to hear their concerns after her scheduled meeting.
“About 50 people waited for two hours to hear what Wynne had to say. She responded as she has already done at demonstrations in southwestern Ontario. She said her government is reviewing the consultation process,” said Henri Garand, APPEC chair. “Amherst Island and County spokespersons were not satisfied. An Amherst Island woman spoke about a turbine to be sited 550m from her child’s school. The County representative cited the Ostrander Point appeal and the County’s clear unwillingness to host wind projects. Wynne said she knew of Ostrander Point.
“Despite public outcries, however, Wynne would not commit to any timeline for a reviewed process or its application to projects that have already received a contract.
“The threat to the County’s South Shore and the necessity of the appeal to the Environmental Review Tribunal remain as strong as ever,” said Garand. “It is not clear when, or even if, a review of Ontario government policy will respect the opposition of Prince Edward County and Amherst Island citizens.”
But the pressure on the premier is mounting as with every visit to rural Ontario, she has been encountering protests on the development of wind energy.
“She must realize that it’s a growing sign of the need for a new Liberal energy policy – or the inevitability of a new Ontario government,” said Garand.