Archive for the ‘wind energy’ Category

I'm not going to put up with the whining of CanWEA

June 10, 2009

OTTAWA – Money earmarked to support wind energy producers was diverted to research and development in the oil patch in backroom budget wrangling, the minister of natural resources said in a conversation with an aide in January.

Lisa Raitt told aide Jasmine MacDonnell that she suspects Environment Minister Jim Prentice took the money for wind power and redirected it to his Clean Energy Plan – a $1-billion fund for research and development in the oil sands.

The revelation is likely to intensify criticism of the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper as unfriendly to the environment.

Mr. Prentice is the MP for Calgary-Centre North, home to much of Canada’s oil industry. Mr. Harper also represents a Calgary riding.

Ms. Raitt made the comment as she and Ms. MacDonnell were being driven around British Columbia on Jan. 30, a few days after the budget.

The conversation was inadvertently recorded on Ms. MacDonnell’s digital recorder and eventually came into the possession of The Chronicle Herald.

Ms. MacDonnell tells Ms. Raitt that CanWEA, the Canadian Wind Energy Association, had sent a letter to its supporters complaining about the lack of funding for wind energy in the budget.

“I’m not going to put up with the whining of CanWEA, and the reason being is that they’re not utilizing the money that is there now,” says Ms. Raitt. “And until these things don’t start getting built.”

Ms. MacDonnell appears to read from the letter from CanWEA: “We know that the proposal was actively promoted and pushed by Minister Raitt. In fact, it is our understanding that it was actually part of the budget until it was taken out very late in the process.”

Ms. Raitt responds: “No. No. I would never have told that.”

“You wouldn’t have told her,” says Ms. MacDonnell. “Is that true?”

“Yes,” says Ms. Raitt. “It is true.”

“So somebody is talking,” says Ms. MacDonnell.

“Someone in Finance talked,” says Ms. Raitt. “Am I going to get blamed for this?”

Ms. Raitt was worried about the prime minister’s reaction to the fact that CanWEA was somehow aware of budget talks, which are supposed to be kept in confidence.

“I certainly didn’t know the fact that it came out late in the process,” she said.

“I would have no way of knowing that. I understand that’s what happened. My suspicion is, what I told you, that Jim took the money for his clean energy plan. They said ‘Ah, they don’t need it.’ There should never have been any choice. No one asked my opinion on it. If they had, I would have lobbied. Maybe that’s why I’m invited to P and P (priority and planning, a cabinet committee). Oh, the prime minister’s not going to like that.”

Ms. Raitt at first blames the normally tight-lipped Finance officials for leaking the information. Later in the conversation, though, she and Ms. MacDonnell seem to agree that it may have been Natural Resources officials who let CanWEA know that the money had been there but was pulled.

“Those quotes clearly point to the fact that I’m on the team,” says Ms. Raitt. “And I am. That’s what happened. I don’t have that pull. Period.”

“Do you think someone on the EnerCan side did it?” she asks Ms. MacDonnell.

“That would probably be the most likely explanation, that they’re trying to do damage control with the different groups,” she says. “’We did it. We pushed. We brought it. It was there.’”

“’The minister brought it to Flaherty,’” says Ms. Raitt. “I didn’t push it hard at the table though.”

They go on to discuss problems with wind energy funding, with Ms. Raitt complaining that wind energy producers aren’t accessing federal funding that is already available – a subsidy based on kilowatt production.

“If they can’t finance it, and they can’t get their (environmental approvals), and they can’t buy their equipment, then it doesn’t go further and they don’t get the kilowatt cent,” she says.

“So I asked Tyler what’s the sunset? How long do people have to hold onto money? And I don’t know what the answer is yet. But there’s $862 million still waiting for this project.

“I’m upset that the ministry, that the department, told people that that was going to be oversubscribed by a certain date. That’s built this whole fear. It was a $1.5-billion announcement, started in ’07. No one would ever think the funding would run out unless they were told it would run out. So that’s my sadness.”

CanWEA complained publicly about the lack of new money in a news release after the budget.

“Our ability to compete with the United States for investment in wind energy projects and manufacturing opportunities will decline as a result of this budget,” said president Robert Hornung.

“At a time when the United States has made measures to support renewable energy deployment a key component of its plans to stimulate the U.S. economy, Canada is moving in the opposite direction.”

CanWEA had called for a $600-million fund to expand wind energy. It declined to comment when contacted Wednesday.

On May 19, Ms. Raitt announced the $1-billion fund for research and development in the oil patch at a speech at the University of Alberta, saying the money would encourage “new technologies now to help protect and preserve our environment for future generations.”

Mr. Prentice’s office refused to comment on the recording on Tuesday, and the minister’s office told reporters he would end a media question and answer session on Wednesday if anybody asked him about the recording.

Speculation about the recording has been rife since the Canadian Press reported Tuesday that Ms. Raitt mentioned Mr. Prentice on the recording, apparently because Conservative officials knew about the comments and were bracing themselves.

Ms. Raitt’s comments about the budget wrangling were made on the same five-hour recording in which Ms. Raitt called the medical isotope crisis “sexy” and criticized her cabinet colleague, Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, which has led to a media storm in Ottawa.

The Chronicle Herald went to Nova Scotia Supreme Court on Monday to fight an emergency injunction that would have blocked publication of the stories that came from the recorder.

After refusing to apologize on Tuesday under opposition pressure, Ms. Raitt did tearfully apologize for her remarks in a news conference in Ottawa on Wednesday, making reference to the toll cancer has taken in her own family.

Original story at CBC

Is the Govt. Being Honest About Wind Energy?

June 9, 2009

Today the Ont. govt. will release the new set back requirements for the siting of wind turbines.

Do you trust them implement  setbacks that will protect the health and property values of the citizens of  Ontario.

The recommended setback from a wind turbine to a home  is a minimum of 1.5 km.  Lets see what the govt.  comes up with.

With 1600 votes cast it appears people don’t believe the propaganda coming from the govt. and industry.

Is the govt. being honest about wind energy?

Yes (268)
No (1229)
Don’t Know (103)
Enbridge wind farm Kincardine Ontario

Enbridge wind farm Kincardine Ontario

Concern over 'desecration of graves' at wind turbine site

June 8, 2009

Hi Ron

I wonder if you wouldn’t mind posting the article below on your website to raise awareness of the concern mentioned and to garner support for the people on the Isle of Lewis in their fight against this particular wind farm application?

The closing date for signing the petition is June 20.
Many thanks.
Kind regards
Norma


———————————————————————————–


[Please circulate this to others to help us in our common cause.]

Concern over ‘desecration of graves’ at wind turbine site

http://www.stornowaygazette.co.uk/news/Concern-over-39desecration-of-graves39.5336809.jp

Published Date: 04 June 2009

By Donnie Macinnes

A PETITION is being circulated around the world opposing plans to erect three turbines on an area north of Barvas where it is believed the last battle between Lewis clans took place.   

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/Druim?e

It is claimed the Morrisons and the Macaulays were engaged in battle on the moorland at Druim nan Carnan around 1654 and members of the Clans are up in arms that the area could be desecrated with the erection of a wind turbine.

Councillors have unanimously approved an application by the Galson Trust to construct a wind energy project at Upper Barvas which would have a total maximum generating capacity of 2.7mw, with ancillary development including access tracks, underground cables, crane hard standings and a site control building at Loch Sminig at Barvas.
However, there were a number of objectors to the Comhairle at the time.
Said one: “Recorded and published historical information indicated Druim nan Carnan is the burial site of an unknown number of the slain defeated clan members of the warring Morrisons of Ness and the Macaulays of Uig.”
It was also stated: “Human remains are very possibly preserved at this site.”
Chair of the Galson Trust, Agnes Rennie said this week: “We are aware that the site, like many sites throughout the area, have a cultural significance of one kind or another. We took advice from archaeologists and others before submitting the planning applications.
“The site itself is a site that has been skinned of peat and the specific location of the turbine has very little cover of soil or peat. The access from the main road is very short and will be over the line of an existing peat road.”
She added: “As with the other community projects which received planning consent from the Comhairle at the same time, it is a planning condition for all the community projects that an archaeologist be present at the site when any groundworks are taking place.”

Alasdair Smith, a seaman from Upper Shader, said that there were four sites in the area which tradition had stated were the sites of the last Clan battle between the Morrisons and the Macaulays – two at Shader and one each at Barvas and Brue.
He said that crofters had been extracting peat from the area proposed for the wind turbine for generations without finding anything, and he felt the present protest was a ‘red herring’.
“They have cut down to the hard and nothing was found so it is very unlikely that there is anything buried there. I think if there was anything, it would have been found over the years. If people thought there were graves there, they wouldn’t have cut their peats at that location. The subject was never brought up when they were cutting peats or putting up electricity poles there,” he added.

The organisers of the petition say that for over 300 years, the Macaulays and the Morrisons had been at peace and that situation was likely to continue.

“There is now arising, however, a serious matter of high priority to all clansfolk, and an urgent need for a united front against a common enemy.

“This enemy is in the shape of a plan to erect up to three massive wind turbines on an area which has a most important place in our mutual history – Druim nan Carnan – ‘The Ridge of the Cairns’, which is situated just north of Barvas. Here, on the moorland, was fought a great battle between our Clans, c1654, reportedly the last battle between clans on Lewis.”

They go on: “Those who were killed were laid to their eternal rest in this area, and the cairns marked where they were buried. The cairns are no longer visible, unfortunately, possibly having collapsed or – according to one local source – removed by workmen constructing the main road from Ness to Stornoway.”

The petitioners say it is important that there should be joint Clan opposition to ‘the high probability of excavators ripping up the land, desecrating the area, and throwing out the bones of our forefathers.’

They point out that they are not against renewable energy, but do not want it on this particular part of Lewis.

They conclude: “Our ancestors, and our history, deserve our loyal support. Leaving this appeal to others is turning our backs on the story of our Clans. We can be proud of our present, as we are proud of our past, and our views must be listened to.

“Please take the time to fill in the petition. Please circulate this to others to help us in our common cause. http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/Druim?e

Donald Macaulay of Lewis Street – originally from Bernera and now retired from his police career in Dunbartonshire – said: “Apart from the historical view, it is unethical and not Christian to dig up where they know people were buried. It is desecration of graves and a serious offence in international law as well as British law.”

He referred to the archaeological point of view in the Comhairle’s report.

“Despite the fact that the archaeologist who examined the site and reported there was a fairly high historical interest, it is surprising that the planning authority gave permission without taking cognisance of this report.

“There hasn’t been a detailed archaeological survey done, so nobody is sure where these graves are.”

He added: “Apart from disturbing the living, they are planning to disturb the dead.”

Member of the Hebridean Environment and Landscape Projection Society, Murdo Morrison of Bragar, now living in Wishaw, said this week: “The Morrisons, like the Macaulays, regard this issue as a travesty. This is not an argument for or against wind turbines, but it is an argument for or against desecration for what is probably a place where there are graves.”

He pointed out that since the petition was started a few days ago there had been a number of responses.

Said one response from Minnesota: “All the best of luck with getting proper siting of the wind turbines. We are a farming community that is in complete disruption due to heavy development by wind turbines. It is too bad that it will take a few years to realize we are creating junk yards.”

Said another from America: “Surely there are other locations that are not so historically (or scenically) significant! To desecrate such a place is unconscionable.”

A Scottish resident stated: “I am not a Macaulay or Morrison and I have no affinity with Lewis. However, to plant three turbines on such a historic site is insensitive and completely mercenary. According to its website, Galson Estate has 56,000 acres. Surely a less contentious site could have been found.”

The closing date for signing the petition is June 20.

Said the report before the Comhairle on the archaeological aspect: “Ground-disturbing excavations associated with the proposed development could have an adverse effect on any unrecorded buried archaeological remains present in the affected areas.

“The Environmental Statement states that the CnES archaeologist has indicated that the archaeological potential of the area is moderate to high. However, the field survey for this project found that the areas where proposed development features would be sited have been extensively exploited for peat extraction.

“The Environmental Statement argues that given the proposed access track to the turbines would utilise existing tracks and that the turbines are to be sited in areas significantly disturbed by peat extraction, the probability of the development works encountering sites or features of archaeological significance is judged to be low.”

Bonnechere Valley Township Loses Backbone

January 7, 2009

Editor:

A few days ago the Bonnechere Valley Township called for a moratorium on wind farms until studies could be done to make sure the wind turbines were being located at safe distances from people.

I got an email a short time ago saying that during an emergency meeting the council rescinded their request. (An emergency meeting for a wind farm?)

I will update as I get more information.

I have seen this kind on nonsense before while trying to convince the ACW council to call for larger setbacks for the Epcor-Kingsbridge ll wind farm near Goderich Ont.

Please read what the Bonnechere Valley Township said a few days ago and then try to figure out the reason for the quick flip.

I know, but you try and figure it out.

BV TOWNSHIP adds it’s name to “Councils with Backbone”!

PREAMBLE:

Wind energy generation is a useful and potentially environmentally friendly method of augmenting our growing energy needs. At present, many municipalities across Ontario and the rest of Canada are considering numerous approvals for projects to harness this energy source. These projects are being undertaken mostly on private lands that cover terrains ranging from flat farmlands to mountains with heavy forest cover. Each application is being considered on a case-by-case basis with engineering and environmental reports being commissioned before decisions are made. However, the technical nature of the information in these reports is frequently beyond the ability of most municipal staff to comprehend in any meaningful way; therefore, we rely upon reviews by different engineers for interpretation. Even these reviewers do not have sufficient resources to undertake more than a casual review of the technical data and are unable to do much more than fact check the data. Some of the issues of greatest concern to the public, such as noise, economic impact and possible medical side effects, are little understood by the engineers as well as municipal councils and staffs, even after these reports and peer reviews are presented. Our tendency is be dismissive of challenges to findings that show noise levels to be within Ministry of Environment guidelines. Supposed medical concerns are generally dismissed outright. This could be a costly mistake.

There is a growing body of concern around the world that there is a need for a more comprehensive study of the reported incidents of apparent adverse health reactions due to prolonged exposure to the environmental alterations caused by industrial wind generation projects. It is beyond the expertise of municipalities and the resources available to them to undertake any meaningful studies in this area. Additionally, it would be wasteful in terms of time, money and resources to study this issue on a project-by-project basis. The provincial and federal levels of government in conjunction with the international community need to determine the nature of these health concerns through scientific study in order to create guidelines for safe setback distances from residential and other sensitive occupancies.

Please visit the SOS site for full statement

Suncor wind farm Ripley

Suncor wind farm Ripley

Enbridge wind farm Kincardine Ontario

Enbridge wind farm Kincardine Ontario

Protesters Required for the Openning of the Kruger Port Allma Wind Farm- Contact the CBC

November 12, 2008

Editor: The CBC – a big promoter of global warming and wind farms – is looking for protesters. If you have some time and feel like protesting a wind farm in Southern Ontario please contact Rebbeca.

wulfshagen04

Hello There,
My name is Rebecca and I’m with CBC Television in Toronto. Tomorrow is the official opening ceremonies of the New Kruger Port Alma wind farm in Ontario and I was just wondering if you knew of any protests or demonstrations that will be occurring tomorrow at the event?
Thanks so much for your help.

Rebecca Kinos-Varo

CBC News Toronto

rebecca.kinos-varo@cbc.ca



Wind farm chases couple from Wolfe Island – Ontario

November 12, 2008

Editor: Just wait until the wind farm is built. Then the real problems begin.

There is nothing green about the wind industry unless you count the cash. If anyone else tried to destroy the land and and flyways the greens would be having a fit.

.

Wind farm chases couple from Wolfe Island

When Dawn and Dean Wallace moved to Wolfe Island 17 years ago, they fell in love with the peaceful, slow pace of life in the rural community.

It quickly became home and they planned to retire on the island.

That has all changed. The couple feels that construction of one of Canada’s largest wind-power projects has forced them out of the community and they’re in the process of moving off the island into a home they’ve bought northwest of Kingston in Camden East.

“It’s ironic that the very thing that’s supposed to be green has had such a negative impact on us,” said Dawn Wallace.

“It’s a green project without a green process.”

The couple lived at the corner of Baseline Road and 5th Line – at the heart of the construction zone – where dozens of trucks moved past their house daily on their way to and from a quarry that supplied stone to build the access roads and cement foundations for the wind turbines.

As a result, the Wallaces spent this past summer wearing earplugs and avoided spending time at home.

The noise and dust from dozens of trucks and heavy pieces of equipment moving past their property, at times starting as early as 4 a. m., made life almost unbearable.

They didn’t even cut their lawn until Thanksgiving weekend because of the dust.

“I have one word for it: hell,” said Wallace, a high school teacher.

The couple has documented the dust and noise by posting video footage on YouTube, which is available by searching the online site using the keywords Wolfe Island wind.

To get some relief from the noise and dust, they called the Township of Frontenac Islands, the Ministry of the Environment and the company building the wind plant, Canadian Hydro Developers Inc.

But the Wallaces say they got no relief. The trucks kept coming.

“It was very difficult to get help,” she said. “At the end of the day, it was unbearable and we got no support.”

That wasn’t completely a surprise for the Wallaces, who watched as tension grew in the community between those who supported the project and those who had concerns about the location of the wind turbines. Angry disagreements occurred at public meetings.

“[Opponents] had to endure such terrible, painful social pressures from certain members of the community for speaking out about certain aspects of the process,”Wallace said.

“What was once a community of solidarity that we contributed [to] and benefited from has become a community divided, which is very painful.”

It all became too much for the Wallaces, whose departure comes just as the project’s first turbines are being erected.

Mammoth and pre-eminent on the rural landscape, the 125-metre-high turbines are visible for miles along the western portion of the island. The giant machines tower high above what were once dormant farmers’ fields.

In the coming months, workers will be using giant cranes to erect a total of 86 turbines along the western side of the island. The project is anticipated to be up and running by April 1, 2009.

By Jennifer Pritchett
Whig-Standard Environmental Reporter

The Kingston Whig-Standard for full story

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Proposed Wolfe Island Cement Factory 20m from Lake Ontario

link to construction phase

Wolfe Island Wind Turbines: Life on the Front Lines

Wind turbine noise – Suncor wind farm Ripley



TVO's Agenda will feature a panel discussion on Wind Developments

November 2, 2008

TVO’s Agenda this Tuesday will feature a panel discussion on Wind Developments. John Adams of WCO ( Wind Concerns Ontario)is slated to speak on behalf of our new coalition. Tune in if you can.

TVO – Tuesday, Nov. 4th., 8.00 pm

You don’t do this to your neighbors !

Suncor wind farm Ripley

Suncor wind farm Ripley

click for full size

click for full size

Enbridge Wind Farm Kincardine

Enbridge Wind Farm Kincardine

click for full size

You don’t do this to your neighbors !

Go through this information and then tune into TVO on Tuesday, Nov. 4th., 8.00 pm

Wind turbine noise affects health

Homeowners living near windfarms see property values plummet

Wind turbines cause health problems, residents say – CTV News

A Fight Against Windmills In Denmark

Wind energy unreliable, says E.On

Premier, Dalton McGuinty Talks About Renewable Energy For Ontario

Poor Advice Has Led To Noisy Wind Farms Sited Too Close To Houses

OPTIONS FOR COAL-FIRED POWER PLANTS IN ONTARIO

The Wind Energy Scam- Compare the Numbers

Is Nimby the new “N” Word

Premier, Dalton McGuinty powers a press conference with wind energy

Suncor Wind Farm Ripley Ontario

WCO (Wind Concerns Ontario)

October 30, 2008

Wind Concerns Ontario Is  a coalition of 22 small rural groups opposing projects in their own municipalities.

Suncor wind farm Ripley

Suncor wind farm Ripley

Enbridge wind farm Kincardine Ontario

Enbridge wind farm Kincardine Ontario

Wind Concerns Ontario

Gordon Brown puffs the great wind scam – A Lesson for Canada and the USA

October 26, 2008

Editor: The most important things people need to understand are

  1. The wind industry backed by govt. is a scam. (truth hurts)
  2. Our govt has handed the decision making for our power generation over to the e8 (internationalization of energy) a UN based agency.
  3. Any country that gives up it’s electrical system, has  given up it’s sovereignty. Electricity supply and cost are the most important part of any economy. Once control of the electrical system has been lost (or given away) the ability to make real economic decisions has been lost.
  4. You have now accepted rule by unelected officials.
  5. End of sovereignty.
  6. This is about a lot more than wind energy. It’s about the loss of your freedoms and your nation state.

The time has come for every thinking citizen to join in the fight against the wind industry and  treasonous govt. policy, that has been put in place to undermine both our democracy and sovereignty.

Gordon Brown puffs the great wind scam

Even in these dark times, it is still possible to be shocked when our Prime Minister personally endorses a flagrant perversion of the truth. Last year, for example, many of us felt outraged when Gordon Brown pretended that the Lisbon Treaty was somehow totally different from the EU Constitution, in order to wriggle out of his party’s manifesto promise of a referendum. Last week Mr Brown in effect did it again when he endorsed the deception at the heart of his Government’s wildly exaggerated claims about the benefits of using wind to make electricity.

In a video for the British Wind Energy Association, the industry’s chief lobby group, Mr Brown claimed: “We are now getting 3 gigawatts of our electricity capacity from wind power, enough to power more than 1.5 million homes.”

This deliberately perpetuates the central confidence trick practised by the wind industry, by confusing “capacity” with the actual amount of electricity wind produces. In fact, as the Government’s own figures show, wind turbines generate on average only 27 to 28 per cent, barely a quarter, of their “capacity”.

In other words, far from producing those “3 gigawatts”, the 2,000 turbines already built actually contributed – again on official figures – an average of only 694 megawatts (MW) last year, less than the output of a single medium-size conventional power station. Far from producing “enough to power more than 1.5 million homes”, it is enough to power barely a sixth of that number, representing only 1.3 per cent of all the electricity we use. Yet for this we have already blighted thousands of square miles of countryside, at a cost of billions of pounds.

Indeed, at the same BWEA-sponsored event, Mike O’Brien, energy minister, went on to perpetuate the second confidence trick practised by both Government and industry, which is to conceal the fact that all this is only made possible by the huge hidden subsidy given to wind energy through the Renewables Obligation. This compels electricity companies to pay way over the odds for the power generated by wind turbines, a burden passed on to us all in our electricity bills.

Mr O’Brien claimed that the cost of electricity generated by offshore wind turbines would drop by 8 per cent, failing to explain that it would then be raised by 50 per cent through the hidden subsidy. He then soared even further into make-believe by saying that he was “assessing plans” to build a further 25GW-worth of offshore turbines by 2020, “enough electricity for every home in the country”.

Mr O’Brien must know that there is not the remotest chance that we could build the 10,000 monster turbines needed to achieve this, at a rate of more than two a day, when it takes weeks to instal each vast machine. At present, of the giant barges needed for the work, there is only one in the world. Even if it were possible, the construction costs alone, on current figures, would be anything up to £100 billion – the price of 37 nuclear power stations, capable of producing nearly 10 times as much electricity – while the subsidies alone would add £6 billiion a year more, or 25 per cent, to our electricity bills.

Why do our ministers think they can get away with talking such nonsense?

What is humiliating is that they do it largely to appease the EU, which has set us the wholly impossible target of producing 32 per cent of our electricity from “renewables” by 2020. What is dangerous is that even contemplating such a mad waste of resources is diverting attention from the genuine need to build enough proper, grown-up power stations to keep our lights on. For that the time is fast running out, if it hasn’t done so already. It is on that Mr Brown should be concentrating, not on trying to pull the wool over our eyes with such infantile deceits.

By Christopher Booker

Telegraph

26 October 2008

You might ask – If the wind industry is such a scam why isn’t the media saying anything?

DAVID ROCKEFELLER THANKS MEDIA FOR ITS SILENCE

The Green Agenda

South Algonquin declares moratorium on wind farms; No turbines to be built for 10 years, council says

October 22, 2008

Editor: Ever since I got involved in the STOP THE WINDMILLS fight, 2 years ago, I’ve continually said that it would be the folks in the eastern part of Ontario that would be the ones to show the way for the rest of the province. The people of the Ottawa Valley still know what’s important!

I salute the council!

To the councils in SW Ontario – it’s time you stood up for your constituents. The time has come to stop rolling over to the whims of the wind industry and the govt. Take a trip to Eastern Ontario, borrow some backbone and stand up for your constituents.

You don’t do this to your friends and neighbors!
Not for any amount of money

Enbridge wind farm Kincardine Ontario

Enbridge wind farm Kincardine Ontario

South Algonquin declares moratorium on wind farms; No turbines to be built for 10 years, council says

No wind-powered energy projects will be approved in South Algonquin for the next 10 years, the township’s council has declared.

The declaration, which was supported unanimously by councillors, came last Thursday night following a council meeting considering a proposal to construct a series of wind-power turbines in the hills along the Highway 60 corridor.

RES (Renewable Energy Systems) Canada wants to build 40 to 60 of the massive wind-power turbines in the area east of Algonquin Park. The plans, particularly for the construction of several of the turbines around pristine McCauley Lake, are unpopular with many seasonal and year-round residents. Several opponents of the project were present at the meeting, and gave a short presentation.

Cottager Brent Peterson, representing “the McCauley Lake Families,” said the 45 families on the lake just east of Algonquin are “the only community directly within the Whitney Wind farm study area.”

“We are united as a community, and we are asking for your protection,” he told council. The cottagers are asking that RES be required to locate its turbines, currently planned for the hills in full view of the quiet lake, out of sight and hearing distance from the lake. The PowerPoint presentation showed photographs of the lake’s vista, along with enhanced pictures showing what that vista would look like with wind turbines erected on the surrounding hills.

“These things are massive and they will completely change the experience of living on the lake,” Peterson said. “Your constituents are extremely anxious and very upset.” Peterson added that the McCauley Lake residents “know this is a big decision and that there are a lot of dollars involved.” But he said many of the people are considering leaving the area, or putting off plans to retire to their cottages if the turbines are built.

Harvey Leeman, a longtime Ontario Hydro employee and a McCauley Lake resident since 1949, and a hunter and fisherman as well as a forest manager, questioned both the assessed impact of the wind turbines on wildlife and the need for the electricity they will produce.

The RES proposal wants to take over “the heart of the last block of public land” in the Algonquin Park area, Leeman said. He pointed out that, while the company says each turbine has a one-acre footprint, “they want 6,000 acres of Crown land” for the project.

He pointed out that there are few local benefits from the turbines, either in jobs or in significant tax income and said RES estimates of job creation and local benefits come with heavy qualifications and are “greatly exaggerated.” The estimated $150,000 in tax income for South Algonquin would be lost in the decreased property values that the turbines would cause, he charged.

After the presentation, Councillor Richard Shalla presented a motion, seconded by Councillor Joe Florent, that would impose a moratorium on wind turbine approvals. After some discussion, the motion was amended to set the 10-year period, and a provision was added for a township-wide referendum on wind turbines, if council deems it necessary.

The motion was approved unanimously, and sparked loud and prolonged applause from the small group of people in the audience.

“I’ve been at council a long time and I’ve never had people clap for me,” Mayor Percy Bresnahan said, sparking laughter throughout the room.

Stephen Cookson, development manager for the RES Canada project, said he understands the reasoning behind the township’s move. He said RES remains committed to its plans.

“This is a very, very long process and we’re at the very beginning of the environmental assessment process.” He added that RES is confident that once the benefits of the project are understood by the community and council, “they will see it in a better light.” The company will hold more open house meetings, probably in the spring or summer of next year, to keep the public fully informed, Cookson said in a telephone interview from Vancouver. He stressed that RES wants to maintain “an open dialogue with the community of South Algonquin.”

“I think South Algonquin is being very prudent in waiting until all the information is in concerning the project. We hope that council will take as good a sounding as is possible” on the proposal.

Barry’s Bay This Week

22 October 2008