Residents in Grey Highlands are rallying behind the appeals of two proposed wind turbine developments within the municipality.
More than 100 concerned citizen attended a gathering at the Maxwell Community Hall on Thursday to hear how local communities can fight the major wind companies.
Doug Dingeldein is spearheading an appeal against the Grey Highlands Zero Emission People project, which was approved by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change back on January 30th.
He tells Bayshore Broadcasting News “these companies think they can come in here and roll over us”, but “we are not backing down.”
The proposed Grey Highlands Zero Emission People wind development has a planned location just North of the village of McIntyre, and Dingeldein is listed as the appellant in an upcoming Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) scheduled to begin on May 4th.
While the Ostrander Point Wind Energy Park project is the only Ontario development to be halted through the ERT appeals process, Dingeldein says each attempt is a learning experience, and every fight brings opponents closer to success.
He says anti-wind activist are gaining momentum despite a rigged system under the Green Energy Act, which was passed in 2009 by ex-Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty.
Dingeldein says “wind companies are backed by the Ministry of Environment and their Bay Street lawyers to fight against local communities.”
He’s expecting his own tribunal and appeal to cost upwards of $100,000.
On April 1st, the provincial MOE approved another wind development in Grey Highlands and Gary Fohr is listed as the appellant in the so-far-unscheduled ERT against the Grey Highlands Clean Energy project.
Prominent Toronto-based lawyer, Julian Falconer, is handling both appeals.
Clearview Township resident, Kevin Elwood, spoke at Thursday’s meeting, saying wind companies “don’t care about communities or people.”
According to Elwood, they’re only interested in “financial gains”.
Dr. Nick Kouwen is a retired professor of engineering at the University of Waterloo and a current resident of the Lake Eugenia-area, and he’s been conducting research into the decibel levels of the massive wind turbine structures.
He is confident his experiments, which are similar to those conducted by the Ministry of Environment, show the noise produced by windmills has been “underestimated”.
Dr. Kouwen has a mobile unit/trailer that’s been used to collect sound samples from wind turbine developments throughout Grey County and in other parts of Ontario.
Though he concedes it’s difficult to use the measurements to prove a conclusion “beyond a shadow of a doubt”, in almost every case the decibel level was above the MOE’s limits and guidelines.
Recently, Dr. Kouwen attended a private meeting the government officials – and he says “they refuse to accept that they don’t comply” with their own regulations.
He will present his findings to the Environmental Review Tribunal on May 4th.
The Grey Highlands Wind Concerns group hosted Thursday’s meeting, and they’re now seeking donations and volunteers to help fight the two upcoming appeals.
Ontario is building 6,736 wind turbines, and the province now pays 11 to 13.5 cents per kilowatt-hour for wind power, while the average price in the U.S. is just 7 cents.
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