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North Gower rally opposes possible wind farm

NORTH GOWER – Nearly 300 people came to the recreation centre in North Gower Saturday morning to oppose construction of eight to 10 wind turbines north and west of the village.

“They’re too noisy. They are really way to close to people for an industrial power plant,” said organizer Jane Wilson, of Ottawa Wind Concerns. “Far too close to too many people.”

She estimates that 1,100 homes would be within 3.5 kilometres of the turbines.

“A number of the homes are within two kilometres, which is … where you see most of the health effects,” she said.

Her group circulated a map of where it says the turbines would be sited, “and when people start looking at the map and see how close it is, it really makes a difference to them.”

Opponents of wind farms say sound waves that are at too low a frequency for the human ear to hear can cause insomnia, dizziness, headaches and other health problems. The industry says there is no health impact.

Construction could begin in the fall of 2014, she believes.

The proposal by Prowind Canada is on hold for now, but residents expect the company to go ahead eventually. The Prowind website estimates the size of what it calls the Marlborough wind farm at eight turbines, producing up to 20 megawatts.

Nepean-Carleton MPP Lisa MacLeod, who is also the Conservative energy critic, attended the event to support the protest.

“Rural communities are going to be assaulted by these wind turbine developments,” she said.

She said the Conservatives want a moratorium on new wind developments, and an end to subsidies “so that we can put them put of business.”

She also accused the turbines of being costly and inefficient.

Wind farms are common in many parts of Ontario, especially along the Great Lakes, but are not yet common in Eastern Ontario. In some rural communities they have pitted neighbours against each other, with some welcoming the revenue and some saying their health and property values are at stake.

“There are obviously some health issues that need to be explored and Health Canada is doing that right now,” MacLeod said.

Wilson said the Saturday rally collected 282 signatures declaring that North Gower is “not a willing host” to a wind farm.

Nepean-Carleton MP Pierre Poilievre announced on Twitter that the social costs of wind farms are too high and added, “I will continue to stand with you.”

Click here for the map by Ottawa Wind Concerns.