For years, Gary Thomas has run a successful 50-acre Christmas tree farm in North Gower.
And he does it right, a family event with horse-drawn sleighs, tractor-drawn wagons and a warm fire with hot chocolate and cookies waiting for you upon your return from the bush.
Don’t forget the sweet smells of fresh Scotch Pine and Balsam fir.
Now picture the same Norman Rockwell scene with a 600-foot high wind turbine less than 1 km away.
Sort of jars the senses, doesn’t it?
And then picture the massive turbine casting a shadow over the scene every few seconds.
Thomas says he can barely believe the possibility.
But indeed, there continues to be a looming threat of a wind turbine project as his next-door-neighbour.
A company called Prowind has applied more than once to the province for permission to build the wind turbine project in North Gower.
And when the province opens up for bids again, there’s every expectation Prowind will submit a proposal again.
“We’re not very pleased with it for a number of reasons. Health, there’s the psychological aspect, and the flicker effect, with every few second have a shadow come in front of our house, this is crazy,
“I’m not sure customers having the old fashioned experience will like the shadow,” he said.
Thomas doesn’t just worry about the immediate effects of the turbines, but he and his wife have counted on the farm for their retirement – and if the giant wind turbines are erected, doesn’t know how that will effect the resale value of their home.
“We’re hopeful Watson and council won’t put them in the municipality,” he says, in an interview with the Sun on Wednesday.
The threat of a giant wind turbine farm in their community has galvanized residents of North Gower in opposition of the project.
“We really don’t need these wind power projects,” said Jane Wilson, the chair of Ottawa Wind Concerns.
The group is circulating a petition – which now has about 400 names on it – advising the province North Gower doesn’t want to be home to a wind turbine project.
“It’s a pretty big power plant, I’m not sure people understand that. It’s huge, these are really large machines, they make noise and the vibrations can be upsetting,” she said.
The group has the support of their ward councillor Scott Moffatt, who’s working with them and city staff to craft a motion asking the province to give municipalities a say in where the wind power projects can and can’t be located.
“The majority are against it,” he added.
Moffatt is working with city staff and Mayor Jim Watson on a motion for council that would allow municipalities the right to say yes or no to wind turbines.
Watson said there’s no need to ask the province for an all-out ban on wind turbines.
“There could be some remote areas, willing farmer, wiling community that would have them, helps the bottom line of farmers,” he said.
The petition, along with Moffatt’s motion, are expected to go to council in the next several weeks.
And with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne saying much the same thing about empowering municipalities, there’s lots of hope a wind turbine won’t be forced onto North Gower.
While council appears to be behind Moffatt and the mayor, his efforts almost got derailed by the intervening hand of Kanata South Coun. Allan Hubley.
For whatever reason, Hubley took it upon himself to work some North Gower residents into frenzy.
Thankfully, his council colleagues quickly turned on him, making it clear Hubley had no business stirring the pot for the sake of a couple of minutes of media glory.
“You don’t want to draw political lines, that’s a risk. You want to make it about the people you’re representing.
“Maybe it could have been handled better,” said Moffatt, in a tone more kind that Hubley deserves.
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