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North Gower Wind Action Group receives candidates’ responses

Posted Sep 30, 2010 By EMC News


EMC News – Candidates and incumbents running for the upcoming municipal election are ignoring a major environmental issue that is of concern to all Ottawa taxpayers, says a local citizens’ group.

A complex of 190-meter high industrial wind turbines proposed for the south area of Ottawa could have significant environmental impacts, health effects for residents, and a decline in property values for neighbouring homes, says the North Gower Wind Action Group’s chair.

“We received very thoughtful replies from several candidates,” says Jane Wilson, “but most are just ignoring this important issue. That’s a mistake. This turbine development is not going to be good for the environment, it’s not good for our community or for Ottawa as a whole. The city’s tax base could be affected by declining property values if this industrial project is allowed to proceed.”

Ontario’s Green Energy Act removed all municipalities’ planning powers where renewable energy projects are concerned.

Responding to the wind action group’s questionnaire sent out last month, Capital ward candidate and environmentalist David Chernushenko said “The North Gower project appears to be one that is too large, too close to residents, and without sufficient community buy-in.”

Mayoral candidate Mike Maguire said he had been “shocked to learn about the experiences of residents in southern Ontario with industrial wind turbines, the health effects, the reduction in property values, and the negative effects on migratory birds…I object to such developments in principle due to the tremendous cost and their essential inefficiency.”

Rideau-Goulbourn ward candidates Scott Moffatt and Iain J.MacCallum are also skeptical about the development. “It is my belief that North Gower is unlikely to be a suitable location to produce wind energy due to its low potential to produce efficient supply,” said Moffatt.

Sitting councillor Glenn Brooks, who brought a motion to city council last year asking for a moratorium on turbine developments until health studies have been donewhich was defeatedsaid he doesn’t think the Ontario Ministry of Health has enough information on health effects from turbines. “Setbacks ought to be 1.5 km from the nearest house,” he said. “That would likely remove neighbours’ concerns about health and noise.” Current Ontario regulations state that the setback between a turbine and the centre of a neighbouring home can be just 550 meters.

Incumbent Kanata North councillor Marianne Wilkinson thinks the North Gower plan is too close to homes – the separation should be two kilometers.

“I would support a motion to give the City control over planning the location of wind farms with more stringent distances to homes required,” said Wilkinson.

“Industrial wind turbines are supposed to be built only in communities that want them, but nobody asked us,” says Wilson of the wind action group. “Right now, there are 67 Ontario communities objecting to turbine developments for very good reasons. We’re sorry to see that many politicians don’t seem to care about this crucial issue that affects the whole city. The people of North Gower and Richmond need the support of their fellow citizens throughout Ottawa to ensure the province responds to citizens’ concerns on this issue.”

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