The Scarborough East councillor is bringing a motion to Monday’s, April 19, executive committee meeting at city hall asking the city to urge the province to place a moratorium on any new wind turbine agreements. He sent out a letter to residents urging their voice to be heard. Ainslie had been told the item will be dealt with at 2 p.m. on Monday.
Those wishing to speak at the meeting need to register with the city clerk’s office by April 16 at 4:30 p.m. by calling Janette Gerrard at 416-392-6627, fax 416-392-1879 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Ainslie is also bringing a motion to Scarborough Community Council looking for support in asking Toronto City Council to request the federal and provincial governments “not be permitted to industrialize” any crown lands along the Scarborough Bluffs, which is how he sees the possibility of a wind farm by Toronto Hydro in the area.
“To me it’s basically industrializing the lake shore,” he said.
Toronto Hydro is currently testing wind speed and frequency in the area using an anemometer; if the results of that study determine a wind farm is feasible, up to 60 turbines could be erected in Lake Ontario two kilometres offshore from Ajax to the Leslie Street Spit.
Judy Lipp is the executive director of Toronto Renewable Energy Co-operative, which built the wind turbine on the Exhibition Grounds. She read Ainslie’s motion and doesn’t see wind turbines as an industrial use.
“I’m certain there is a common denominator around industry. There are a lot of emissions and waste that make the area unusable…That is absolutely not the case with wind turbines,” she said. “It’s a completely different form of development.”
Lipp did say she is not familiar with the zoning in areas where wind farms have been built.
Ainslie said in Denmark wind turbines are considered an industrial use.
“If they call it that in Denmark, I consider it that off the Scarborough Bluffs in Toronto,” he said.
One of Ainslie’s main concerns is esthetics and that building a wind farm along the Scarborough waterfront would ruin “some of the most spectacular views in southern Ontario,” it says in the motion.
“The main concern is for esthetic reasons and I’m still waiting on the health department for a comprehensive study that has never been done,” he said.
Lipp took exception to the part of the motion referencing views. “The fact that they will be several kilometres out in the lake means a negligible visible impact,” she said.
Ainslie said he knows many of the residents along Scarborough’s waterfront don’t want turbines in the lake – and he has the support of Councillor Ron Moeser and Councillor Brian Ashton, who represent the other lake front wards in Scarborough.
Ainslie is also trying to raise awareness about the possibility of the turbine project in Pickering, Ajax and the Beach.
“I want to make sure everyone is engaged and knows what’s going on,” he said.
Ainslie’s motion is going to the April 27 Scarborough Community Council meeting, which begins at 9:30 a.m. at the Scarborough Civic Centre.
He knows many residents have already contacted the clerk’s department to speak to the issue. The last time Ainslie brought forward a motion concerning the wind turbine issue it lost on a five-five tie.