Norfolk County has declared itself unwilling to host new industrial wind farms.
County council voted 8-1 last Tuesday to notify the provincial government that it wants no more wind turbines approved for Norfolk.
The message by itself will not stop the province from approving the proposed Port Ryerse Wind Farm or other projects.
But councillors hope the province will take heed of the growing chorus of municipalities asking to put the brakes on Ontario’s push for wind energy.
Premier Kathleen Wynne has said her government will not impose wind turbines on areas that aren’t willing hosts.
In response, Norfolk has joined 17 municipalities that have declared themselves unwilling hosts.
When wind turbines first came to Norfolk about a decade ago, Ontario needed more electricity, Port Dover Coun. John Wells told county council during debate on May 14.
But times have changed.
Back then Coun. Wells supported green energy. Now he’s not so sure it’s a good thing.
Ontario now has more power than it knows what to do with, he told council.
And residents want to know more about possible health effects.
“I support the citizens of Norfolk County and what they’re saying is ‘John, let’s wait for more information,’” Coun. Wells said.
“What’s the hurry to build more (turbines) when there is not a need?”
Port Rowan Coun. Betty Chanyi said turbines in her Houghton neighbourhood have not affected her health.
But the neighbourhood is changing, she said. All but one neighbour has moved since turbines arrived.
Roads have been “totally destroyed” by large equipment bringing in parts for the turbines, she said.
Becoming an unwilling host is worth a try, Simcoe Coun. Charlie Luke said.
“If we don’t complain, we will miss our chance and let our residents down,” he said.
Coun. Luke said his son-in-law recently saw a steel graveyard of thousands of abandoned wind turbines in California.
Dotting Norfolk’s forest, shoreline, small villages and rural setting with steel structures poking out of the natural beauty is “not what I envision this county is about,” Coun. Luke said.
Waterford Coun. Harold Sonnenberg said continuing to subsidize wind farms is insanity.
County council twice has called for a provincewide moratorium on new wind farms until health effects are known.
It also has called for provincial and federal health studies, which are now underway.
Council also is refusing to endorse any new wind projects.
Mayor Dennis Travale said provincial legislation says nothing about municipalities being willing or unwilling hosts.
However, he said county council will send a clear message by declaring itself an unwilling host.
Haldimand soon will declare itself an unwilling host, Mayor Travale said.
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