Wind turbine opponents say they’re feeling encouraged by Lambton County council’s decision to join the chorus of Ontario municipalities declaring themselves unwilling hosts for wind farms.
County councillors passed a motion Feb. 12 joining approximately 80 communities making the declaration.
Lambton is currently home to only a few small wind farms, with a total of 14 turbines, but Suncor Energy and Nextera Energy are planning projects that would see a total of 138 turbines built in the northern half of the county.
Suncor is also taking Plympton-Wyoming to court over bylaws aimed at wind projects.
Many rural politicians have been pushing back against the provincial government’s decision to take planning approval powers for renewable energy projects away from municipal councils.
“Heading into that lawsuit with Suncor, that really really validates our fight,” Ingrid Willemsen, a member of We’re Against Industrial Turbines, Plympton-Wyoming, said about the county’s unwilling host declaration.
Lawyers for Suncor and Plympton-Wyoming are scheduled to be in court Feb. 26 in Sarnia.
Willemsen said Ontario’s green energy legislation supersedes the “wishes and will of the people,” and members of her group are happy Plympton-Wyoming council “did what they know is best for us, and they’re going to this extent to fight for us.”
Suncor’s Cedar Point wind project would see up to 46 wind turbines built in Plympton-Wyoming, Lambton Shores and Warwick Township.
The company has a contract to sell power from the project to the province, and is awaiting environmental approval from Queen’s Park.
Willemsen said the group is hopeful the Cedar Point project can be stopped, and added she knows of three landowners who signed leases years ago to allow turbines on their property but now want out because what they’ve since learned about the issue.
Marcelle Brooks, a member of the Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group, also welcomed county council’s declaration.
Her group opposes projects that include Nextera Energy’s 92-turbine Jericho Wind Energy Centre planned for Lambton Shores and Warwick Township.
Lambton’s motion follows similar declarations by most of the county’s municipalities.
“It’s a whole bunch of municipalities saying, ‘We won’t, we don’t stand for this,'” Brooks said.
She added that stand goes beyond an unwillingness to host wind turbines, to include opposition to the province’s decision to “take away our right to plan for our communities.”
Brooks, who lives on a farm in Lambton Shores, said she regularly passes wind turbines under construction on her way to and from her job in London.
“It makes my heart sick to watch this,” she said.
But, Brooks added that members of her group remain determined to continue fighting wind projects in the region.
“I know what will happen is we do nothing,” she said.
“I don’t know what will happen if we take a stand.”
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