It is with great dismay that I find I have to write this statement in response to the notification in the local daily paper that there’s a plan afoot to install up to 700 wind turbines just offshore in Lake Erie. I know that this is part of the provincial government’s Green Energy Act but just who is it going to be green for? In the first paragraph of the act, the government states that it will “boost investment in renewable energy projects and increase conservation.” I submit that it will do everything but increase conservation.
Essex County has been billed as the “100 mile coastline”, the perfect place to retire and enjoy the climate, the picturesque communities, the scenery and nature. In fact, the Ministry of Tourism has devoted a lot of time and energy promoting this concept through the real estate board(s). It seems to be all in vain as the Southpoint Wind Energy Project comes through the county, pushing forward with the blessings of the provincial government, hosting spurious open house discussions to garner public support for their offshore development.
One-hour long meetings to discuss, debate and/or reject something one will be stuck with for the rest of their lives is only window dressing for them to be able to say that the public had its chance to comment. As a ratepayer and an owner of lakefront property, I object to having this whole concept rammed down our collective throats. We bought our property five years ago, put a lot of physical effort and all of our available money into making this our dream home on the water. It’s where we want to live for the rest of our lives enjoying a beautiful 180-degree vista over the water. Now that is about to be destroyed! If I wanted to have 700 wind turbines set up one-kilometre offshore outside of my living room windows I would have moved a sofa into the lighting department at Home Depot underneath their ceiling fan display!
It’s not just the view being destroyed either. We love our location for all the nature, both plant and animal. This will only devalue our property value in a market that has seen property values plummet by 20 percent in just the last three years. Is the provincial government going to pay me back that lost value? I doubt it! Do you think my locals taxes to the Town of Essex are going to go down? I doubt it! Do you think the costs of delivering power to me will decrease? I doubt it! Think too of how this shortsightedness to be seen as “the leading green economy in North America” is going to hurt us in so many other ways.
With the decline and utter vanishing of the manufacturing sector, Windsor and Essex County have to turn to tourism for an influx of much needed cash. That will end now as nobody wants to come to Essex County to look at these mechanical monsters in the water. According to ERCA, we live in a Globally Important Area that thrives on the migration of birds through the popularity of the birders that come from all over the world just for a chance to view rare species as they migrate through this region. How can anyone in their right mind say that this initiative will increase conservation? I believe the placement of these turbines will do a lot to harm the already fragile balance we have. Consider this – they say that these turbines won’t affect the migration routes. Migration routes aren’t in a straight line, they are sometimes many kilometers wide and can vary with a minimal amount of wind.
Turn your attention back to tourism and recreation. Locating these turbines in the lake will adversely affect pleasure boaters as navigation obstacles to be dealt with, especially at night. As these monsters endlessly turn they will set up a constant vibration through the lake bed. For the same reason troops don’t march in step across a bridge for fear of the constant vibration crumbling the structure, the same will happen with the lake bed and the attached plankton and other vegetation that provides a food source for fish. It will be loosened and float away. The vibrations through the strata will have the same effect as dropping a pebble into a bathtub. With the disappearance of the food source, sport and commercial fishing will disappear too!
ERCA should also be concerned as they are keeping a constant vigil over our deteriorating shoreline. Having these pylons 1-2 kilometres offshore will act as a “fence” and jam up with ice floes. Whenever there’s a pileup of ice along the sandbars, the shoreline is drastically altered, as it is right now, with the water level low and a lot of sand exposed. What will that be like when these pylons are in place?
Wind is not just available over the lakes. I think this is the provincial government’s idea of green…saving money by putting them up in the lake so as not to have to pay landowners what would rightfully be theirs in financial compensation. The government says they have jurisdiction over the lake so this way they go green and conserve money. There’s a lot of wind everyday over the slag heaps outside Sudbury without all the environmental concerns. Why not go there?
So, with this project, you destroy my future living plans, migration routes, crop futures, tourism, recreation, the shoreline and you’ll still have the gall to tell me just how much trouble and expense you’re going to “create green jobs and economic growth.” Why don’t you just come and buy me out because the only growth any of us will see will be in Southpoint’s and the government’s bottom lines. By their own admission, a project of this magnitude has never been conceived, let alone implemented ever before. How can they say that their will be no adverse ramifications by such a bold undertaking without years of study and experimentation? If this was under the control of ERCA, you know for a fact that there would be a demand for this background information.
–Jon Straw, Harrow