Darwin understood these things so well.
Survival of the fittest.
Or, more succinctly, people who do dangerous things often don’t survive their own stupidity.
Sadly, when it comes to building wind turbines near airports, the consequences of a foolish act performed in the name of the flawed Green Energy Act are borne by innocent people who had no part in the stupid decision.
Two rural airports in this province are facing the serious consequences of wind turbines sited too close to their runways.
Transport Canada recently issued an order forcing the removal of eight turbines near Chatham-Kent’s airport. And Collingwood airport is fighting a plan to place massive turbines close to its runway.
A spokesman for Transport Canada said the turbine company, GDF Suez, was asked to voluntarily comply with its Airport Zoning Regulations (AZR) and remove or lower the turbines.
“When this was not achieved, Transport Canada issued a notice requiring the company to lower or remove the wind turbines in compliance with the Chatham AZR. The notice to enforce compliance with the Chatham AZR has been issued because eight wind turbines contravene the height limits and voluntary compliance was not achieved,” said Jana Regimbal by e-mail.
The company has until Dec. 31 to comply with the order.
Chatham-Kent-Essex MPP Rick Nicholls said this is not about a dislike for wind turbines. It’s a question of public safety.
“AZRs are put in place for a reason,” he told me. “On a beautiful clear day, for someone operating a small aircraft it’s probably not an issue. But what about on a foggy or windy night, and someone is not familiar with Chatham airport and has to fly into it under distress?
“I have concerns about that,” he said.
A spokesman for GDF Suez says the company plans to appeal.
“We do expect to formally object to the order by Transport Canada,” said Bonnie Hiltz. “There have been multiple studies done on this project both by ourselves and by the airport and all of those studies have been consistent that there is no safety issue with regards to the turbine location.”
She says the turbines are in a “no-fly zone,” south of the airport.
“Since they have been operating, there have been no issues in more than a year,” she said.
Under Transport Canada rules, airports have an imaginary circle about four nautical miles wide and 500 feet high in which no tall obstacles are allowed to be built.
Tory interim leader Jim Wilson is angry the Wynne government hasn’t changed its mind about allowing 500 foot tall wind turbines on the flight path to Collingwood airport and the Creemore aerodrome in Clearview Twp.
“When she was running for the leadership, Premier Kathleen Wynne said she would go back and make sure that the Ministry of the Environment reconsidered the path they are on and we see no evidence to date, no communications from the government,” Wilson said.
The chair of the Collingwood airport board says the plan to build turbines as tall as the TD bank towers in downtown Toronto poses a safety hazard for planes flying in and out of the airport.
“They’re too close to the airport and they’re potentially dangerous,” said Charlie Tatham in a phone interview.
He scoffed at suggestions planes could change their arrival and departure procedures to dodge the turbines.
“That’s unsafe on a day when there’s poor visibility and someone’s trying to make it into the airport,” he said.
“On top of that, these things (the turbines) are painted white.”
Environment Minister Glen Murray was not available for comment.
How stupid can it get? You put white turbines on a flight path of an airport in the snowbelt.
What could possibly go wrong?
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