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Opponents of Collingwood wind power project say lives will be at risk if turbines built near airport

TORONTO – Opponents of a wind power project in the Collingwood, Ont., area warn it will put lives at risk because giant industrial turbines will be built less than four kilometres from an airport runway.

Local municipalities, residents and a pilots’ association say they don’t want eight, 50-storey-tall wind turbines so close to the Collingwood airport and the nearby Clearview Aerodrome.

Kevin Elwood of the Canadian Owner and Pilots Association calls the location of the turbines “killers,” and says they will “penetrate the arrival and departure airspace as defined by Transport Canada’s guidelines.”

Elwood says the turbines will be “jammed between” the two airports, which mainly operate on visual flight rules, and warns that pilots could have trouble seeing the white blades, especially in snowy or cloudy conditions.

Charles Magwood of the residents’ group Preserve Clearview says it has spent over $1 million in the past several years fighting the wind project by Wpd Canada.

He says Ontario’s Liberal government seems more worried about a lawsuit from Wpd than it does about the safety of pilots and passengers in the Georgian Bay area.

Progressive Conservative Jim Wilson says a gap in responsibility between the province and Transport Canada and Nav Canada means there are “no rules” around locating wind turbines near the two small airports.

“I was told by a senior official with Nav Canada that one of the reasons they don’t have any real rules around this for these aerodromes is they didn’t think any government would be stupid enough to put 500-foot turbines near airports,” said Wilson.

Wpd said in a statement that aviation safety will not be affected by its project, which it insisted meets all Transport Canada regulations and standards.

“Nav Canada has indicated on three separate occasions, including in March 2016, that it has no objections to the project,” said Wpd spokesman Kevin Surette.