The fight isn’t over.” That was the message from hundreds of County residents, health experts, biologists, a wine maker and politicians at a rally on Sunday afternoon to stop the development and construction of industrial wind turbines near Milford.
wpd Canada does not have a Notice to Proceed, explained MPP Todd Smith to the large crowd inside the Regent Theatre on Sunday. He said until that permit—an official notice to proceed with the construction of renewable energy project—is issued, the province can cancel the contract and bring development to a stop. He said that there would likely be a penalty—but the amount would be insignificant compared to the hundreds of millions of dollars the project will cost Ontarians if allowed to proceed.
“This is a political fight,” said Smith. He emphasized his great respect and admiration for the health experts, biologists and others gathered with him on the Regent stage. He agreed with Dr. Robert McMurtry who earlier told the gathering that he was optimistic that “the truth has power”. Smith cautioned, however, that the “truth” might come too late for Milford.
He urged residents to remain vigilant, to support the Association to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC) in its legal challenge next month seeking a court injunction to stop the project arguing that the contract was made null and void when an Environmental Review Tribunal slashed the project from 27 turbines to nine.
Smith urged County residents to go to Queen’s Park to sit in the west visitor’s gallery in the legislature— to look Kathleen Wynne and her government in the eyes. (Tentative plans for bus loads of protesters travelling to Queen’s Park are being worked through. Follow The Times for more details.)
Sunday was a significant date. October 15 was the first day the developer was legally permitted by the Ministry of Natural Resources to begin construction of nine industrial wind turbines in the countryside around Milford—though, in fact, land clearing has been underway for several weeks.
The date was established by MNRF scientists assuming the Blanding’s turtle and other endangered species have burrowed into their nests or vacated the area. But the warm fall has altered the wildlife signals, with regular sightings still occurring, according to biologists and observers in the area.
Winemaker Norman Hardie, too, insisted the fight wasn’t over.
“We have not lost yet,” said Hardie.
He said government officials can hear the criticism from Prince Edward County. He urged the gathering to continue to make their voices heard inside the walls of government.
“Let them know, this is not going to happen,” urged Hardie.
He warned the success story of Prince Edward County would be stymied by the industrialization of South Marysburgh. He pointed to the words of noted wine writer Matt Kramer who has recently described this region as one of the most exciting in the world.
“No one is going to write about 54-storey wind turbines in Prince Edward County,” predicted Hardie.
Dr. McMurtry told the group the evidence of harm and distress related to the infrasound emanating from industrial wind turbines continues be amassed—getting more difficult for governments to ignore. He says the signal is real—that the link between infrasound and detrimental health effects in some is well established in the science and studies.
“If we felt these effects arising from the testing of a new drug, it would have been pulled a long time ago,” said McMurtry.
Despite many years accumulating and compiling evidence of harm caused by wind turbines, McMurtry remains hopeful the truth will eventually free Ontarians from the scourge.
“I believe we can overcome,” said McMurtry to loud cheers from the crowd.
Jane Wilson, of Wind Concerns Ontario, warned, however, that the truth wasn’t likely to come from the government— who, she says, has abdicated its role to protect the health of residents and the environment. Wilson said her organization has uncovered more than 3,200 official noise complaints related to wind turbines filed with the Ontario government between 2006 and 2014. More than half of the complaints received no response at all from the relevant ministry. Only one per cent of these concerns merited a “priority response” according to the WCO’s findings.
“This is deeply flawed process,” said Wilson, a nurse by training.
Wilson also pointed to residents near Chatham who complained about black water from their wells after piles were driven to support industrial wind turbines. Some of these folks learned last week they are being sued by the developer, Samsung, for $1 million for blockading the project site they believe is poisoning their wells.
Huron County has received so many complaints the Health Unit has launched an investigation.
Finally, Wilson noted that on this windy Sunday, the province was paying developers a record amount to curtail their supply, according to Scott Luft, of Cold Air blog.
Liz Driver reminded the gathering of her long battle with the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. Initially ministry officials had said that several turbines proposed were too close to important heritage architectural landscape features, recommending they be deleted from the project. These officials later complained about a review process that seemed intent on overturning their conclusions.
Then, according to Driver, communication with the ministry went silent. Several months later the ministry quietly issued a new statement in support of the turbines.
Driver vowed to keep digging—to keep fighting.
That was the mood shared by the hundreds of folks who marched along Main Street in Picton from Cold Storage Road to the Regent Theatre.
The fight is not over.
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