Even though construction has begun on a wind energy project in their own backyard, the Middlesex Lambton Wind Action Group is continuing to fight.
With longtime activist Esther Wrightman of Adelaide-Metcalfe and Muriel Allingham of North Middlesex leading the way, the group staged a rally Jan. 31 that began in Parkhill. About 15 vehicles – many carrying signs and messages of their disapproval – convoyed through parts of the area that energy giant Nextera has earmarked for wind turbine construction as part of its Adelaide Project.
Wrightman and the group have battled proposed wind energy projects for years, and although it’s an uphill climb, they’re determined to stay the course.
“There has been a lot of support – there’s also a lot of letdown because now that it’s here, it feels like an invasion,” Wrightman said minutes before the protest began. “People feel like they don’t have anything else they can do, so part of the reason we do protests is to get people together, rally and say, ‘we’re standing together on this, we still object, we still will object and these guys aren’t welcome.’”
Declining property values and the project’s affects on both Mother Nature and nearby residents are just a few issues the group has with the turbines – not to mention cost to the taxpayers.
“Today, we want to let these (Nextera) people know that they’re not welcome in our community – this is our community and their presence in our community is destroying our property values, it’s destroying our neighbourhoods, it’s (pitting) neighbour against neighbour,” Allingham noted. “It’s creating a community that we don’t want to live in anymore.”
Allingham went on to say the ultimate goal of the group is to abolish the construction of wind turbines, support a change in Ontario’s government and notify the province’s voters to the Green Energy Act.
“I’m worried about the health issues for residents that are (living) too close to these wind turbines, which there are many of them,” Allingham noted. “I’m worried about my property values of course, and I’m worried about what’s happening to the wildlife.”
Ultimately, the group has growing concerns turbine construction won’t stop in their area either. Southwestern Ontario could continue to be a target.
The current Nextera project, Wrightman said, is already changing small communities like Adelaide.
“There’s more construction vehicles for Nextera here than there are residents going down our roads,” she began. “They’re very disrespectful – when we go into any business that they’re in, they’re ‘me first’ and really quite rude. We feel that, and we’ve felt that for five years in fighting this, but now it’s really come to a head because it’s very visual and it’s right in our face.”
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