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Residents ask council to rewind turbine decision

Several residents addressing council’s committee of the whole Thursday afternoon want the County to change its industrial wind turbine designation from “unwilling” to “willing” host.

Don Chisholm addressed wind energy in relation to the County’s recently-declared climate emergency.

“We’re in times of climate emergency without the wind in our sails,” he stated.

“Energy is central to our problem, energy is central to its resolution. We are in one of the best areas of Ontario to capture the free flowing wind energy. Surely it’s time for PEC leaders to reverse unfortunate decisions of the past and to state that we acknowledge the climate emergency; we are now willing hosts for wind energy development; and we petition our province to re-engage the intent of the Green Energy Act.”

Rod Holloway added his support for council to change to an unwilling host and support the development of turbines, purchase electric cars, or fuel-efficient, for County use, and get moving on the environmental action committee.

“Now we need to act,” he said. “We have to stop dumping carbon into the atmosphere… We have about 10 years to change and you have to lead us. The other levels of government have dropped the ball.”

There are four turbines erected of the nine that had been approved for the White Pines development in South Marysburgh before the provincial government terminated the project last July.

“Tell the government you’ve changed your mind and will accept wind energy in the County,” said Holloway. “Allow the completion of all nine turbines. This will do a significant amount stopping carbon from going into the atmosphere. If we activate turbines at Milford, it will create affordable, clean renewable energy, reducing our reliance on carbon.”

Jennifer Ackerman, who has one of the cancelled turbines on her property, also requested the County revisit allowing turbines.

Her deputation sought a County-wide vote on the issue and wants people to hear about “devastating environmental impact of destroying the turbine sites, as well as the benefits offered by White Pines Development to help birds, turtles and farmers in the County.”

Gary Mooney, making a comment from the audience, reminded council of the vote in South Marysburgh in which 90 per cent of its residents did not want turbines built in the environmentally sensitive, and protected, area.

“We also raised $1.5 million in the fight against turbines – $10, $50, $250 at a time. That does not come from a small group of people. There is no significant support for turbines in the County.”

One of the first actions of the newly-elected provincial government in 2018 was to introduce legislation to cancel energy contracts, including wpd’s project that had been under development, and under fire from the community, for a decade to fight putting industrial turbines in the middle of a nationally-recognized wildlife area.

The German wind company’s initial plan was for 29 turbines but following years of legal battles, led by the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists, over protection of species at risk and heritage preservation, the project was reduced to nine. Only four of the 100-metre tall turbines were erected, but were not put into service before the legislation.

Adam Bramburger, constituency assistant for MPP Todd Smith, said Thursday he believes negotiations are ongoing with wpd in terms of decommissioning and compensation.