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Turbines not welcome in unique community, farmer says

LISTOWEL – North Perth council was encouraged to maintain a strong opposition to a proposed wind turbine project at their meeting on Monday, hearing from a local dairy farmer.

Farmer Steve Dolson delivered a presentation to council on May 6, outlining a scenario for the community if a wind turbine project from Invenergy Canada moves ahead.

In a case study of a wind turbine project from the Ripley area, Dolson showed that many residents left their homes and have put them up for sale, leaving empty barns across the community.

“This is what can happen in a community when the turbines come in,” Dolson said.

“When the livestock leave and the people leave, the community will suffer a great deal.”

Dolson expects the situation in North Perth would be even more devastating, due to a higher concentration of livestock operations.

“Compared to North Perth, there were hardly any livestock operations,” he said. “When you intensify that with livestock operations, it’s a scary thought.”

Dolson stated that farmers won’t be the only ones impacted if turbines are constructed across North Perth. Dolson listed feed dealerships, large animal veterinarians and sales barns as just some of the support businesses that could be endangered by the wind turbine project.

“All of this could be at risk by the industrial wind turbines proposed to come into our community,” Dolson said.

According to Dolson, the project area in North Perth contains some of the best farm land in the province, but the uniqueness of the agricultural community is lost on politicians in Toronto making the decisions on wind projects.

“Many of the politicians view anything outside of the GTA as rural,” Dolson said. “They can’t understand there’s a difference in classification of soil; they just think all soil will grow crops.”

A number of questions remain unclear regarding wind turbines, Dolson said, such as their capacity to generate dirty electricity, or cause health problems for humans or livestock.

“We don’t know the answers to those questions,” he said. “Why would you put a high-density livestock area at risk? It doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

North Perth council agreed with Dolson’s position, endorsing a letter addressed to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, as well as the Minister of Rural Affairs and Minister of the Environment.

“We have to continue to send our message that we are unique as a livestock-intensive area,” Dolson said.