Opposition Growing in Wellington County

Guelph Mercury  by Greg Layson  glayson@guelphmercury.com

GUELPH — A second proposed wind farm in part of Wellington County will be met with opposition next month.

Invenergy Canada is seeking approval to build 25-35 wind turbines on approximately 4,000 acres of land a few kilometres northwest of Belwood.

Half the proposed site is in the Township of Centre of Wellington in Wellington County. The other half of the land is in the Township of Garafraxa of Dufferin County.

NextEra Energy, a subsidiary of Florida Power and Light, wants to erect a dozen of the 80-metre-tall towers near Drayton in Mapleton Township on farmland off Highway 6.

Invenergy will host an open house March 9 at the Belwood Town Hall. The company will host another March 10 at the Marsville Community Hall. Both meetings run 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Laura Humphrey plans to attend the first — if not both. She lives directly across the road from the proposed site.

“Anywhere we have an opportunity to participate, we want to,” said the mother of two. “I’m really scared. As far as I can tell, there is no definitive science settled about whether these wind farms are safe to be near residences. So there are lots of concerns.”

Residents are concerned about potential health problems caused by noise, light pollution in the form of “light flicker” and vibration. Residents are also concerned the farm could disrupt wildlife, migratory bird patterns and environmentally sensitive wetlands. They’re also worried the farm could force property values to plummet.

The Province last year made changes to the Green Energy Act and last month Premier Dalton McGuinty made a $7 billion investment in the green energy sector. The focus of the investment is wind and solar electricity to be provided to more than 580,000 Ontario. It all makes it easier — and faster — to approve and build wind farms.

“These large-scale wind farms are being foisted on us by the Ontario government without public consultation thanks to the new Green Energy Act,” said Humphrey’s neighbour, Sonia Day.

The Province’s legislation supercedes municipal bylaws.

“At these two meetings — organized by Invenergy — residents are apparently not allowed to ask questions (but instead) just submit concerns in writing, on cards,” Day said. “In other words, the project is being treated as a fait accompli.”

Not so said James Murphy, Invenergy senior development manager.

“The purpose of the open house is to gather information and we look forward to hearing from individuals. We have to hear from them directly to know what their concerns are,” he said. “These are big undertakings and very complex. We need ensure we’re a good neighbour. And we have a good track record of being a good neighbour.”

Invenergy is currently building a wind farm outside Chatham.

“There may be concerns by folks but we can have reasonable dialogue with people,” Murphy said. “It’s important the concerns of the community are being heard but it has to be a reciprocal conversation. Part of my concern is the tone (of these meetings) hasn’t been a respectful one.”

Murphy doesn’t believe wind farms present potential health problems.

“The health concerns have been raised by the Ministry of Environment and reviewed thoroughly and it’s been concluded universally there are no concerns,” he said. “We’re following everything being requested by the Ministry of Environment. We’re following the rules set out by the Ministry.”

Humphrey said “that’s a fair point,” but that doesn’t make it right.

“I don’t think the rules are appropriate. I don’t think it’s responsible to say, ‘we’re just following the rules and that as long as we check the boxes it’s right for the community,’” Humphrey said.

Humphrey only learned of the proposal three weeks ago when she saw a public notice in the local newspaper. She immediately began researching wind turbines, the effects and their efficiency.

“It’s not even clear wind farms will have an actual impact on climate change,” Humphrey said. “I think we should all stop, take a breath, understand what all the impacts are and then figure out where to go from there.

“I just feel like it’s all happening really fast.”

10 thoughts on “Opposition Growing in Wellington County

  1. Please be aware that the project boundary is in fact a short 800 metres from subdivision on the south east side of Belwood.

    You will see these Industrial Wind Turbines towering over your houses.

  2. When the turbines kill off all the Raptors, Hawks, Eagles and Bats then the insects increase and stronger insecticides will become necessary. This defeats the purpose. All yes ALL of the white tailed eagles have been killed by turbines in Norway! Turbines are not Green!!! They create CO2. Germany has had to build 2 new coal plants to keep the turbines running when the wind doesn’t blow. Tell me, where is the democracy in one neighbour making money and in so doing devalues his neighbours home? Wind Turbines are being embraced in a blind panic re climate change. without proper studies and by removing the institutions that protected us at the municipal level. Plain and simple folks, our rural lands are being exploited for political gain and financial gain by the mostly foreign owned wind turbine companies. They bought up land from desperate home owners in Europe and bought them cheap. Now information is pouring out of Europe about the protests. That is why they had to increase set backs to 1.5 – 2 klms in most of Europe!! We have been polite so they have gotten away with 550 meters here in Ontario. We must stand up and stand up strong and save Ontario. Oust McGuinty NOW !

  3. “… Part of my concern is the tone (of these meetings) hasn’t been a respectful one.”

    What exactly does the above comment mean? It sounds like he is inferring problems.

    Murphy doesn’t believe wind farms present potential health problems.
    “The health concerns have been raised by the Ministry of Environment and reviewed thoroughly and it’s been concluded universally there are no concerns,” he said. “We’re following everything being requested by the Ministry of Environment. We’re following the rules set out by the Ministry.”

    This is typical of developers and completely false. There is overwhelming evidence of adverse health effects worldwide. This is a disturbing response in that they chooses to discount legitimate concerns and to disregard the issues. Sorry, but that does not make for a good neighbour.
    As for Laura Humphrey…the truth will prevail.

  4. Melodie, I totally agree with you. I just want to clarify a couple of points you made.

    Only the eagles on the island of Smola, Norway were wiped out, not the entire country.

    Turbines in themselves operating don’t create CO2 but the huge amount of concrete, steel, roads having to be built, transportation, etc certainly does.

    Germany is not building 2 coal plants, it is building 26! A windie will tell you that this is because they shut their nuclear down. But that goes against the claim that renewables can really solve any problems. Personally, I’d rather have nukes than coal. And wind turbines are just “piss in the pool”.

  5. I stand corrected MA, on the Eagles, thank you. I should have worded more carefully about the CO2 from turbines, I meant exactly what you were kind enough to explain but thought I would get cut off for too many words. Anyway, Ontario is waking up to the whole scam and hopefully we can slow them down for a ‘true’ independent health study. Boy, I will never trust the government again. How gullible we all were! Being so easily taken makes it even worse.

  6. It’s quite an eye-opener isn’t it? Not the country I thought I lived in.

    I think that’s why some people are so adverse to seeing our side of it….they won’t admit to themselves that they’ve been royally duped by big business and government.

    The hostile reaction when their belief system is disturbed is very predicable.

  7. If these turbines cause no health concerns, then why is it that there are “GAG” orders on the contracts, when the companies buy out the land owners, and rent the houses out. I guess this renewable energy act goes hand and hand with “Communism” and I thought Canada was the land of the free.

  8. I agree with you all totally. My family and I did not even know about the proposed wind farm until someone came around with a petition against it. We went to the meetings and you are not allowed to voice concerns at all, personally what is that point of having a meeting if no one will be able to speak except for the government??

    This whole situation boggles my mind. I just came back from Germany and almost all wind turbines were NOT in the process of creating energy, almost all were still and were just standing in the farmers fields. People need to see that not one thing will change the world, you need to change a lot more things and look and different aspects of helping the enviroment, not by just wind energy. we need to realize this as a country too. If the government says there are no health problems or no noise, let them put up a wind turbine right in the backyard of the parliament and see how they like seeing that everyday of their lives.

Comments are closed.