Activists fighting industrial wind turbine projects in rural Lambton County are taking their message to Sarnia residents at a public meeting on Wednesday, July 31.
Ingrid Willemsen, a member of We’re Against Industrial Turbines – Plympton-Wyoming (WAIT-PW), said it’s organizing the town hall meeting at Sarnia’s Imperial Theatre, at 7 p.m., along with Conservation of Rural Enniskillen (CORE) and the Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group (MLWAG).
The groups are fighting plans to build wind turbines in Plympton-Wyoming, Lambton Shores, Enniskillen Township, Warwick Township and neighbouring Middlesex County.
“Our focus is just to educate Sarnia, because we think that’s where the voters are, where the taxpayers are, where the people who kind of don’t think they’re affected are,” Willemsen said.
The meeting will include presentations by Parker Gallant, a retired banker and a contributor to The Financial Post, as well as others speaking about the impact of industrial wind turbines on electricity bills, taxes, future development, wildlife and the life of rural residents.
“All of that is really the guts of our fight,” Willemsen said.
Suncor has a contract to sell Ontario electricity from a 46-turbine Cedar Point Wind Power project and is seeking provincial environmental approval to build in Plympton-Wyoming, Lambton Shores and Warwick Township.
“We don’t think that it’s a done deal at all,” Willemsen said, adding members of WAIT-PW believe the more local residents know about industrial wind farms, the more likely they will put pressure on Suncor.
“We don’t think it looks very good on their reputation to be putting something through that people now understand is not the right idea,” she said.
Suncor is currently suing Plympton-Wyoming over the municipality’s wind turbine bylaws, including its call for wind turbines to be built at least two kilometres back from neighbouring houses.
Ontario only requires turbines to be set back 550 metres.
Nextera Energy has a contract with Ontario for the electricity to be generated by its proposed 92-turbine Jericho Wind Energy Centre for Lambton Shores and Warwick. That project is also awaiting provincial environmental approval.
One of the speakers at the Sarnia public meeting will be Esther Wrightman, an anti-wind activist from Middlesex, who is being sued by Nextera.
While no wind companies currently hold provincial contracts for wind farms in Enniskillen Township, several have been seeking to lease land there for future wind projects.
That led several residents of the township to form CORE earlier this year, to oppose development of wind turbines in the township.
Lambton is currently home to 14 wind turbines – 10 near Kettle and Stony Point First Nation and four in Brooke-Alvinston Township.
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