500 Attend Meeting in Kawartha Lakes

By PEGGY ARMSTRONG, SUN MEDIA   The Peterborough Examiner

About 500 people jammed into the Manvers Community Centre last night for an emotional meeting on proposed wind turbines in the area.

City of Kawartha Lakes Ward 16 Coun. David Marsh said he held the town hall meeting to get clarification from the private company Energy Farming Ontario about its intention to build up to 30 turbines.

He also raised concern that the provincial government’s new Green Energy Act, while intended to protect people during the construction of turbines, removes residents’ and the municipality’s right to appeal the towers going into their neighbourhoods.

The issues for most people who spoke were potential health problems for people living close to turbines, noise, and the impact on property values. After a question and answer session, most of the objections turned on the setback permitted by the new legislation.

The company can build no closer than 550 metres to a neighbouring house. A property owner who allows Energy Farming to build on his or her land can permit a smaller setback.

Information from John Harrison showed the minimum setbacks in Europe are about 1.5 kilometres.

Spurred by a question from the audience, Energy Farming co-owner Ingo Stuckman said, “If we had a 1.5 kilometre setback, we wouldn’t find any space.”

Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock MPP Rick Johnson reassured questioners that all regulations concerning wind farms have to comply with the Oak Ridges Moraine Act, protecting that green belt.

Johnson said many have been calling his office with various points of view, including farmers who want the turbines on their properties as retirement income.

The question session sparked the most emotion from the crowd, with many voicing frustration at the lack of specifics from Energy Farming.

Asked whether the company would compensate property owners if the value of their land goes down, Stuckman said people affected would be within a kilometre of the turbines, which he estimated would be no more than 100 people. He said he would talk to them and find a solution, but did not say specifically if there would be compensation.

Marsh said the company and the province have not offered to aid impacted landowners.

Kelly Campbell, another principal with the company, told the audience about the phases for the proposed project and said it would bring full-time jobs to Ontario. Pressed for specifics by an audience member, Wilen answered that those numbers have not been calculated.

Stuckman said the company is new and has not done wind farms in Ontario before.

Asked by the audience how the company could afford the millions of dollars needed to build the turbines, Stuckman said they are looking for local investors.

He said he knows turbines can have health and sound issues, but if people can’t sleep at night, then he will be in trouble and the MOE could shut them down.

NOTE:  Other speakers included Ralph Ruffo from the newly formed Manvers — Gone with the Wind group that is fighting the project, and Laurie Gillis from Wind Voice.

2 thoughts on “500 Attend Meeting in Kawartha Lakes

  1. A correction:
    I said that health authorities in Europe recommend setbacks of 1500 metres or more. In Europe government regulations for setbacks are broadly in line with those in Ontario. An exception is Germany with a night-time limit of 35 dBA, 5 dBA less than in Ontario. As is well-known, Germany has had a longer experience with wind turbine installations than any other country.

  2. I wish to thank all those from other areas of the Province who made the long drive to attend the session in Manvers. Your support is appreciated.

    It is obvious that this legislation, known as the Green Energy Act, is one that has been rammed through without much thought. Although our MPP Rick Johnson reported in the Lindsay paper the next day, that it is the most investigated and studied piece of legislation that has ever been pasted in the Province of Ontario. You could be right on Mr. Johnson, but perhaps you should clarify and say your government. Mr. Johnson said that he was very concerned, but I wonder how he voted?

    I am angered at the contempt this Liberal government holds for the people of the province. They have set in motion a process that is not a process at all. Apparently an EA is to be followed, but the only way to fight an installation is on the grounds of technical evidence. Well you tell me how many people have the capability to offer technical evidence. We are all laypersons and without substantial dollars to hire consultants that would be needed to offer a case. It then appears that the common taxpayer, landowner or farmer has no chance. It even seems that the local municipality is shut out. I wonder what the Association of Ontario Municipalities has to say
    about this?

    Lastly, what is more important, the legislation to protect the moraine or the one to promote green energy?

    I believe the premier made so many promises, many in which he has not kept, that he is grasping for anything to show that his government has done something. You have screwed up Mr. Premier, because you vacillated so long with the energy situation you are now scrambling. Why not do what many other governments in other western countries are doing and that is not closing coal plants like Nanticoke, but retro-fitting them to burn coal cleanly. The infra-structure is there already, just improve it. In fact those living in and around these plants would be very pleased.

    The Liberal government is clearly a government for the people of Toronto. You proved it by your arrogant statement that “you will not stand for
    NIMBY s”. Come election time, I think many people will say “we can’t stand you and your party”. You are messing with the lives of rural people, many of which have worked and lived on the land for many generations. You have created a situation where a farmer will sell is soul to allow a turbine on his property. I feel bad for that farmer as he may just find himself shunned from his community. What a mess.

    With so many people caught up with this and not much to be heard in the affirmative, except from those who will not be exposed to turbines, I think this entire process should cease until a fair process is developed and more research is done. And I would like to see Ontario Power Generation take this over and not leave our lives in the hands of people who live in Germany.

    I would like to see the government do the right thing for a change and stop now before they destroy the lives of more people in this province.

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