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Posts Tagged ‘Wolfe Island’

In advance of our public information meeting, Sunday January 23rd at the community centre in North Gower, co-hosted with the South Branch Wind Opposition Group and the Beckwith Responsible Wind Action Group, we offer the following review of wind power in Ontario. Speakers are Ian Hanna who has launched a lawsuit against the Ontario government, Wind Concerns Ontario president John Laforet about the effect of the Green Energy Act on democracy in Ontario, and Wolfe Island resident Janet White on life in the middle of an industrial wind “plant.”

The truth must be told about industrial wind power development

Last fall, a strategic communications document prepared by a government relations and communications consulting firm was leaked to the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party.  It outlined a  campaign for a coalition of renewable energy developers to fight  opposition to renewable power projects. The writers noted that Ontario residents are expressing “fury” as a result of escalating electricity prices and concern about the cost of renewable energy projects. “It will be critical to ‘confuse’ the issue,” the strategy stated, and referred to “noisy activists” and “editorial positions” to be countered with a coordinated media campaign.

Why are the lobbyists for corporate wind developers worried? Because people in Ontario are mad as hell and not going to take this anymore. As more and more Ontario communities are facing industrial wind turbine projects (often romantically called wind “farms” or wind “parks”) there is rising public opposition to these sprawling industrial installations. To date, more than 50 Ontario municipalities have passed a resolution or bylaw seeking to restore the local planning powers that were removed by the Green Energy Act – the Act that notoriously superceded 21 pieces of legislation such as the Heritage Act and the Greenbelt Act in order to pave the way for renewable projects.

Also last fall, more than 1,000 residents gathered in Fergus, Ontario to protest a planned wind development, and last spring hundreds gathered on the lawn at Queen’s Park. In fact there have been about two such protest meetings occurring every week in Ontario, in towns such as Meaford, Orangeville, in Prince Edward County and the Niagara area. In Ottawa, hundreds of North Gower and Richmond residents signed a petition asking for a halt to wind developments, and for independent health studies.

People have reason to be concerned. As physicians and scientists addressing the recent First International Symposium on the Global Wind Industry and Health Effects noted, there are health effects being experienced around the world by people who are forced to live near the turbines, due to noise and infrasound.  Results from a case-control study of residents in two Maine communities will soon be published, which show a significant relationship between proximity to turbines and impacts on health, using validated health measurements. Ontario’s setback of 550 metres is increasingly at odds with the rest of the world, and was branded by Dr. Alex Salt, a researcher in ear physiology, as “insane.”

We’re being told that closing coal-fired power plants is because coal is dirty and Ontario’s air pollution is “killing people.” The truth? Ontario’s air pollution has been declining steadily for decades. Moreover, more than 90 per cent of air pollution in Ontario comes from the United States and from cars and trucks in southern Ontario. Closing Ontario’s two coal plants will make little difference to air quality.

There is more truth to be told. Wind power is expensive and unreliable, producing power mainly at night when it isn’t needed. And wind isn’t “green”—the construction of these 50-storey monster turbines has significant environmental impact for very little return. The European experience with wind power is also not as advertised: both Germany and Spain now report a net loss of jobs and a negative effect on the economy as a result of their experience with subsidized wind development. The chief benefit is not to the community, but to the bottom line of the corporate wind developers.

Ontario already has renewable power in the form of hydro and the technology exists to improve the effectiveness of existing power generation. As of today, without considering the current IWT plants that are sometimes operating in Ontario, we are one of the cleanest power generating jurisdictions in the world. We don’t need to jeopardize the health of thousands of rural residents and scar Ontario’s beautiful countryside with turbines. It’s time for the truth about wind power.

Meeting: 2 p.m January 23rd, Alfred Taylor Centre, 2300 Community Way, North Gower

northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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From this past Saturday’s Toronto Star, the column by National Affairs editor Thomas Walkom. Amazing.

Walkom: How McGuinty’s windmill dreams became a nightmare

Published On Sat Jan 15 2011

Dr. Robert McMurtry heads up the Society for Wind Vigilance, a new international body investigating wind power. Dr. Robert McMurtry heads up the Society for Wind Vigilance, a new international body investigating wind power.

LUCAS OLENIUK/TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO

By Thomas Walkom National Affairs Columnist

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if (jQuery('.ts-main_article2_image').width()When Dalton McGuinty embraced wind power four years ago, it seemed he couldn’t lose.

Politically, his support for this infinitely renewable form of energy put the Ontario premier firmly on the side of the environmental angels.

Even more important, McGuinty’s Liberals pitched their commitment to wind as part of a comprehensive, green industrial strategy.

The government would not merely use wind turbines to generate electricity. It would also subsidize firms to build the giant machines for export.

In effect, windmills would be to the new Ontario what autos were to the old — the province’s economic driver.

Critics of the premier’s ambitious schemes were dismissed as cranks and nutters infected with a not-in-my-backyard syndrome.

To ensure that these self-seekers and know-nothings didn’t interfere with the government’s bold plans, Queen’s Park stripped municipal councils of their power to regulate wind turbines.

On paper, the plan seemed a sure winner.

But that was before Dr. Bob McMurtry.

McMurtry is neither a crank nor a nutter. An orthopedic surgeon and former dean of medicine at London’s University of Western Ontario, he is part of the country’s medical and political establishment.

He’s acted as a health advisor to the former federal Liberal government. In the early 2000s, he was a key advisor to Roy Romanow’s royal commission into Medicare.

McMurtry’s brother, Roy — a Red Tory and former attorney general — was Ontario’s chief justice for 11 years.

Bob McMurtry began as a strong advocate of wind power, keen to have a turbine built on the 16-hectare Eastern Ontario farm he bought four years ago for retirement.

As he explained in a telephone interview this week, he hoped to generate his own power and sell the rest to Ontario’s electricity network.

But being a scientific sort of chap, McMurtry began by researching the issue.

What he discovered alarmed him. In particular, he ran into evidence — re-enforced by personal encounters later — that low-frequency humming associated with wind turbines may lead to chronic sleeplessness, stress and even hypertension causing heart disease for anyone living within two kilometres of a machine.

What alarmed him more was that the provincial government did not even monitor this low-frequency noise. As well, under Ontario rules, giant windmills need be no more than 550 metres from any residence.

So in 2009, he made the not terribly radical suggestion that Queen’s Park conduct a proper, arms-length study on the health effects of industrial wind turbines before authorizing any more.

Failing that, he said, it should insist that new turbines be set at least two kilometres away from any dwelling.

The wind industry was outraged. Fearful of being enmeshed in red tape, wind power firms argued strongly against such a study. Their case was bolstered last May after provincial medical officer of health Dr. Arlene King issued a report saying no scientific evidence exists to show that wind turbines harm human health.

McMurtry countered that this is because no one has ever conducted a proper study — which is why he wants one.

Those interested in the dueling scientific arguments can find King’s report on the Ontario government website and McMurtry’s response at www.windvigilance.com.

But regardless of who wins the substantive debate, McGuinty’s windmill dreams have already become political nightmares.

Dozens of rural municipal councils, angered by the province’s decision to take away their regulatory authority, have passed motions of complaint.

Even the Ontario Federation of Agriculture — which represents farmers who rent their land to wind firms — has called for a moratorium on new turbines until a serious health study can be done.

The opposition Conservatives smell blood.

Trotting around through all of this is the unassuming Bob McMurtry.

He heads up a new international body of doctors and scientists investigating wind power called the Society for Wind Vigilance. Throughout small-town Ontario, he is in great demand as a speaker.

“There’s a real level of anger there,” he told me. “Rural Ontario is on fire.”

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IT’S TIME FOR THE TRUTH ABOUT WIND

Public meeting January 23, 2 PM, North Gower, Alfred Taylor Community Centre, 2300 Community Way

The Ontario government says industrial-scale wind power is needed for a “clean” “green” future. What’s really happening in Ontario? Higher electricity bills, HEALTH PROBLEMS, declining property values, the industrialization of rural communities, and NOISE—all for a technology that will never replace coal or fossil fuel power generation.

TURBINES ARE PROPOSED FOR THE OTTAWA AREA. Your community. Come hear the TRUTH about what could happen to your community if industrial wind turbines are built. It’s time to hear what provincial government and the wind developers aren’t telling you.

Speakers

IAN HANNAH: Prince Edward County resident Ian went from being supportive of wind turbines to learning what they are really all about. He now spearheads the legal challenge to Ontario’s Green Energy Act (GEA). This is the eve of his court case in Toronto.

JANET WHITE: Mother and Wolfe Island resident will tell us what it’s like living in the middle of an “industrial wind plant”, with noise and vibration.

 JOHN LAFORET: Wind Concerns Ontario president, speaks on the politics of energy in Ontario, how the GEA has affected democracy in Ontario, and on the need for health studies and science-based setbacks to protect Ontario’s rural citizens.

It’s not politically correct to tell the truth about wind farms…but truth is remarkable in that it can’t be covered up forever.” Mark Duchamp, European Platform Against Windfarms (EPAW)

Wind turbine noise is not masked by background noise. This is a LIE promoted by the wind turbine business.” Dr Christopher Hanning, U.K.

 “The courts are where truth has the best chance.” Ian Gillespie, lawyer for Ian Hannah challenge.

This public information meeting is sponsored by:

 • North Gower Wind Action Group northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

https://northgowerwindactiongroup.wordpress.com

 • South Branch Wind Opposition Group

 • Beckwith Responsible Wind Action Group

http://sites.google.com/site/beckwithresponsiblewindaction/

We are members of Wind Concerns Ontario

http://www.windconcernsontario.org

email: northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca 

Wind turbines don’t make good neighbours!!!!

 

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CBC’s The Current did a documentary on the industrial wind turbines on Wolfe Island, near Kingston, today. Called “Beauty and the Beast” it purported to examine what has happened on the island during the leasing process for wind turbines and now, what the effects has been on the community.

Health problems? Not discussed.

Bird kills? The one farmer interviewed said he farms right up to the base of the turbines and he never sees any dead bodies. (Wow, that’s scientific.) Transalta’s own research on the hundreds of bird deaths? Not a mention.

At the end of the program the message you’re left with is that it’s a “generational thing”. Specifically, anyone over 50 objcets to the industrial wind turbines because they don’t like change. “I can respect that,” said Ian Baines, the developer who began the Wolfe Island project, sold out to the larger developer and who is now planning 100 turbines offshore. But, he said, I think in a generation we’ll see that change is good.

Good for somebody. But not everybody. Expropriation without compensation.

For more information on Ian Baines, and on the future plans for Wolfe Island and Amherst Island, go to: http://www.amherstislandwindinfo.com/wi-shoals.htm

To hear the audio go to http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent and click on featured audio on the right hand; it’s about 23 minutes long. (Forget about commenting, CBC closed the link to comments.)

Email us at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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You’ve heard the story no doubt about the camel who put his nose in the door of the tent and gradually moved a little bit more, a little bit more, until eventually, the entire camel was inside the tent.

That’s exactly what happens with wind turbine projects. Look at the Shelburne area in Ontario: the original proposal was for 20 and now there are 133 with 100 more proposed, and dozens more all over the surrounding area. The Big Thunder project in Thunder Bay is nominally 18 turbines but when a councillor pressed the company at a recent open house, the company had to admit that yes, what was on their official application was for 18 now, then 32 more in Phase II and 50-60 more in Phase III. You can bet the reaction would be a little different if they had come out initially saying they would build 100 turbines, rather than 18.

Wolfe Island started with 24 and grew to 86; hundreds more are proposed for offshore from the island.

So what are just eight to 10 industrial wind turbines in the south Ottawa area? Perhaps, just the beginning.

You can contact the North Gower Wind Action Group at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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The Toronto Sun’s Lorrie Goldstein has once again hit the nail on the head, with his column from yesterday on the Liberal government and corporate wind developers. You can read the entire article at http://windconcernsontario.wordpress.com

or go straight to the Sun’s site at:

http://www.torontosun.com/comment/columnists/lorrie_goldstein/2010/06/25/14520876.html

While you’re at it, check out the plans for Lake Ontario near Kingston. You know, beautiful Wolfe Island, Amherst Island, Prince Edward County… see what the government and the corporate wind developers have in store for one of the most beautiful areas of Ontario.

http://amherstislandwindinfo.com/

To get in touch with the North Gower Wind Action Group, email us at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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David Chernushenko, former Green Party candidate in Ottawa and now a “green” educator and lecturer, has produced a new documentary, “Powerful: energy for everyone.” It is debuting tonight, June 8th, in Ottawa, and has other showings booked. We’ll try to catch one: go to his website at http://www.davidc.ca and click on Living Lightly then Films to find dates.

In an interview with CBC Ottawa Morning’s Kathleen Petty, Chernushenko said that a lot of the problem with industrial wind turbines in Canada is that they’re not sited properly. In Denmark, he says, the turbine developments were community-owned and sited 1-2 km away from people. They also were not contructed in large numbers. The moment that the communities stopped owning the turbine developments, he says, is when the resistance started because people had no input as to where the structures went. And, he said, the positive experiences of Denmark were with turbines much smaller than are being constructed today.

Chernushenko says solar and wind are not the answer to supplying power but rather that a “portfolio” of diverse energy sources is the answer, which should include local, small-scale applications. He particularly said that rural communities should be assisted to develop local initiavies such as biofuels.

It doesn’t make sense, he said, to produce power on Hudson’s Bay and then ship it expensively to the south of Ontario, where the power is needed.

Petty asked him about large-scale wind developments, specifically Wolfe Island, and he replied, “I don’t want to say that’s exactly how not to do it, but when I first saw Wolfe Island [with 86 turbines], I said something you can’t say on radio…it was ‘holy—-‘ ”

The answer to Ontario’s need for power is NOT wind: it doesn’t work. We look forward to viewing Chernushenko’s film NOT because it opposes wind but because he might be taking a larger, non-giant-industry view to the problem. We are open to learning, and listening, every day.

To contact the North Gower Wind Action Group, please email northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

To donate to help with legal expenses and other costs, please mail us at North Gower Wind Action Group at PO Box 485 North Gower, K0A 2T0

Thank you.

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From today’s Ottawa Sun:

http://www.ottawasun.com/news/ottawa/2010/05/22/14049111.html

We say again, it’s this simple: wind turbines—>noise/vibration—>lack of sleep—>health problems.

It’s not hard to understand.

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