by David Meyer Wellington Advertiser
BELWOOD – The community hall here might not be big enough to hold all the citizens concerned about a proposed wind farm that is planned for the area.
Citizens have started a petition against the proposal and one of them, James Virgin, of Belwood, took out a half-page advertisement in this week’s Advertiser to inform residents of the concerns there are for the wind farm proposal.
A few years ago, the provincial government told municipalities to determine policies for allowing wind farms, and Wellington County spent months doing that. After the regulations were accepted by council, Premier Dalton McGuinty unilaterally removed the power to regulate wind turbines from the municipalities and said the province was going to allow them.
He also announced a $7-billion agreement with Samsung, from Korea, to provide the wind turbines.
But Virgin said despite what appears to be overwhelming provincial support, municipalities still have some clout. He cited a case in Quebec where municipalities took the provincial government to the federal Supreme Court over pesticide legislation and won – because it ruled issues for the protection and betterment of citizens supercedes provincial regulations.
The link to that decision, said Virgin, can be found at http://www.ogilvyrenault.com/en/resourcecentre_1505.htm And he noted another site, http//:ontario-wind-resistance.org, can provide information about wind farms and related issues.
He noted The Wall Street Journal has demanded studies be done by independent agencies to determine the health effects caused by wind farms. Mapleton council has also petitioned the province for a moratorium on the projects until independent health studies are completed.
Virgin said people have been complacent about the wind farms, and noted, “Shelburne did not mean that much to me.” That community has huge numbers of wind turbines in the area.
Now, however, the wind farms will be right in his area and he, like others, is concerned. He warned, too, that if people are complacent about wind farms, they will soon be looking out their windows and up their streets at them.
“It’s probably too late [to stop] Belwood,” he admitted, adding if the companies promoting them are not stopped, it will not be long before people in Fergus can see them, too.
“These are not wind farms anymore, they are Industrial Environmental Disasters,” Virgin said. “[But] they are presented as innocuous, innocent elements.”
Sonia Day, of RR1 Belwood wrote to the Advertiser “People in southwestern Ontario are increasingly hopping mad about industrial wind farms.”
She said residents of Wellington and Dufferin Counties plan to attend Belwood Town Hall on March 9 between 5 and 8pm to protest “a massive project by Invenergy Canada to erect 35 monster turbines, 492 feet high, in our area.”
The next day, she said, those opposed will be in Marsville community hall, where the same company will be presenting the proposal, which is reaching into Dufferin County.
Day said in an interview that wind power is presented as a “touchy-feely” solution to coal plants for power, so city people think they are wonderful. But, she said, they are a blight on the countryside, and the province is always promoting tourism and seeing to “the beautiful countryside” that will be wrecked with the turbines and transmission lines.
“It’s about time our side of the story is told,” she said, noting city people would not put up with the problems associated with wind turbines.
“Other countries are finding that these monster turbines -and accompanying transformers and power lines – can cause serious health problems from noise, light pollution and vibration. They also disrupt wildlife and sensitive wetlands, ruin our beautiful countryside and make property values plummet.”
She added, “Would Dalton McGuinty want one outside his cottage?
The meeting in Belwood runs 5 to 8pm on March 9, and at the Marsville community hall the same time the next night.