Wind turbine opponents returned to Suncor’s Sarnia refinery Monday to continue protesting the company’s plans to build a 46-turbine wind energy project in Lambton County.
It was the third protest organized in recent weeks by Ed Vanderaa, a resident of Plympton-Wyoming, one of the municipalities where Suncor has received provincial environmental approval to build its Cedar Point Wind energy project.
Vanderaa has been asking to speak to the refinery’s joint health and safety committee about the impact the wind project could have on local Suncor employees.
Vanderaa said that after the first two protests, he did meet at the refinery with Suncor officials but the employee co-chairperson of the heath and safety committee wasn’t included in the meeting.
“That was extremely disappointing,” he said.
He still wants the opportunity, he said, to speak directly with the employees’ representative on the health and safety committee.
Monday, Vanderaa and other protesters placed sheets of information on the windshields of vehicles in the employee parking lot at the refinery.
Vanderaa said he also asked the company to not proceed with any construction on its Cedar Point project until all legal challenges have been completed.
An appeal of the provincial approval for the Suncor wind project is set to be heard, beginning this week, before Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal.
Vanderaa said the Suncor officials wouldn’t agree to his request to delay the start of construction.
“So, unfortunately, I have to come back and keep sending the same message,” he said.
About a dozen protesters joined Vanderaa Monday.
“They’re not paying attention to us, yet,” he said.
“We’re not going to let up.”
Several members of Conservation of Rural Enniskillen (CORE), an anti-wind turbine citizens’ group from Enniskillen Township, joined Monday’s demonstration.
CORE member Lee Slaght said “we’re kind of in the same boat” as local residents fighting the Suncor proposal.
“We just feel there’s no need to be putting up these wind turbines,” he added.
“They’re uneconomical. They’d be great if we only needed power when the wind blew.”
Slaght said the group is also concerned about the impact wind projects have on farmland, the health of people living near them, and on rising electricity bills.
“So, I think we should be out here protesting,” he said.
The environmental review tribunal hearings into Suncor’s wind project approval are scheduled to begin Wednesday, 10 a.m., at the Camlachie Community Centre.
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