SMITHVILLE—Sam Oosterhoff isn’t an expert on windmills, but the newly elected MPP did have one thing in common with the members of the West Lincoln Glanbrook Wind Action Group – they both wanted to decrease hydro rates.
Oosterhoff, whose election platform centered on the cost of hydro, connected with the group in their mutual concern about the production of energy in Ontario.
He attended the group’s annual general meeting where he heard about their efforts over the past year and the current state of wind energy in the wake of the Liberal government halting green energy plans.
“Even though the demand for hydro has gone down, our supplies have increased and our costs have increased,” Oosterhoff said to the crowd from inside the Covenant Christian School in Smithville. “We need to be seeing what we can do to make sure it’s competitive across the board.”
Oosterhoff encouraged the crowd to come forward with ideas to tackle the hydro issue and to join the PC Party.
“This is a community that has said enough is enough,” said Mike Jankowski, director of the group.
Speakers at the event reiterated their concerns about the turbines, about the proximity to homes and the physical effect it may have on people. They spoke about the removal of thousands of trees in the area to make way for transmission lines; trees that they say were promised but never replaced.
They also spoke about the overproduction of electricity in the province and the unnecessary amount of debt being incurred by green energy projects such as those in Smithville, Wainfleet and across the province.
The group has now aligned with Wind Concerns Ontario and have purchased equipment that they hope will prove that wind turbines are affecting their health.
“We have purchased a noise monitoring system,” said Jankowski.
The system, he said, aligns with the Ministry of Environment and Climate change’s monitoring standards.
He hopes that by monitoring the low level noise that is undetected by the human ear they can lay some sort of foundation for government research on the effects of placing wind turbines close to residential dwellings.
Some members of the audience at the meeting spoke of an inability to sleep, a ringing in their heads and a general sense of discomfort since the turbines have went up.
“My goal when I started was, let’s at least erase any doubt as whether or not wind turbine emissions are inside people’s homes,” said Jankowski, who says so far they are picking up noise emissions in nearby homes.
West Lincoln Councilor Joann Chechalk was also present and said she were there to listen.
“I’m very much listening with an open mind,” said Chechalk explaining that she has heard much of the information before.
“The province holds the collar on understanding what that machine is recording; it’s the province that’s going to have to determine whether or not that machine is capturing the information the way that they want it captured.”
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