So much fear and stress racked the neighbours of a proposed wind farm near Bethany that a family that was going to build a wind turbine on its property has scrapped the plan.
Norm Lamothe is a son-in-law to the Winslow family. Developers have been planning to build a five-turbine wind farm on land near Devil’s Elbow Ski Area.
One of the five turbines would have been on the Winslows’ land. Two other property owners are also involved: two more turbines are proposed for land next to the Winslows’ and another two across the road.
The deal might have been lucrative for the Winslows: Lamothe said rental of their one acre of land, for the one turbine, would have brought in $20,000 a year.
But there were so many “impassioned pleas” among neighbours who have been fearful about the health implications of a wind farm, he said – not to mention the possibility of their property values plummeting – that the family decided it couldn’t go on with its plan.
“We are truly sorry that our actions have caused such fear and stress within the neighbourhood,” Lamothe told a crowd of about 45 wind farm opponents Monday.
Opponents were gathered outside the Cavan Monaghan Township municipal building, in Millbrook, to hear the public announcement.
“In light of these concerns, we as a family have decided that we will not be erecting a wind turbine on our property, at this time.”
“Oh thank you!” one woman screamed, as people hugged and punched the air.
But in an interview, Lamothe said the fact his family’s pulling out of the deal doesn’t mean the other four turbines – on land owned by other families – won’t go ahead as planned. He wouldn’t say who the other property owners are.
The developer, Martin Ince of MK and Associates, was not at the announcement, and was unavailable for comment Monday.
Lamothe began his announcement by reminding the crowd that wind energy is green – which is one of the reasons his family considered building a wind turbine in the first place.
Many of those gathered said they were surprised at the announcement. But not David Frank, chairman of Cavansaysno.org. “I was holding a little chink of hope open, that this might happen,” he said.
Frank said his group worked to try to convince the family of the “well-documented harms to human health and to property values” that are caused by wind farms.
When they saw the harm they would be doing, Frank said, “They saw the light.”
Township council had also made clear its position on the matter, lately.
During a recent meeting, Cavan Monaghan Township council decided to transfer $500,000 from the lottery reserve – its share of the Slots at Kawartha Downs revenue – to a legal reserve. It also requires that “staff be directed to assemble a team of legal experts to defend our municipality’s position against the construction of industrial wind turbines within the township of Cavan Monaghan.”
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