Norfolk Council optimistic they still have a say

Tracey Whitworth of Long Point predicted that a proposed wind farm east of Port Dover will make people sick if approved. Whitworth campaigned outside Governor Simcoe Square Tuesday afternoon for more research into the potential health effects of wind energy.

By MONTE SONNENBERG,  www.simcoereformer.ca

Municipalities have been stripped of their authority to decide where green energy projects go, but they have influence on how these projects unfold.

That was the consensus this week as Norfolk council pondered the most recent green energy proposal in the local area — a 9,000-acre wind farm straddling the Norfolk-Haldimand boundary east of Port Dover.

The McGuinty government took municipalities out of the equation last year after some used the planning process to thwart the progress of green energy in Ontario. The province was especially disturbed that projects were being held up at the Ontario Municipal Board.

The Ministry of Environment took control of the approval process through the Green Energy Act. However, the ministry has told green energy companies that they must take into account the concerns of municipalities and adjoining property owners before drawing up final plans.

“I’m an optimist,” Norfolk planner Shirley Cater said. “I sincerely believe it is to the benefit of these companies to deal with municipalities. If they haven’t taken the municipality’s interests into account, I believe the Ministry of Environment is going to want to know why.”

The discussion came during a presentation from Capital Power Corporation, sponsor of a proposal to locate between 40 and 70 wind turbines on a large tract of land east of Port Dover. Company representatives affirmed that the province prefers projects that accommodate the concerns of the community.

“We think it is in our best interests to engage in out-reach with everyone,” said Lori Wilson, Capital Power’s manager of public consultation. “We’re here for the long-term. We want people to consider us good neighbours.”

Capital Power has held open houses in Norfolk and Haldimand. More open houses are planned as the company refines its proposal. The company wants the project up and running by the end of 2012.

Citizens no longer have recourse to their municipality when it comes to renewable energy. However, the province has established other mechanisms to handle objections.

For one, projects must comply with the province’s Environmental Bill of Rights. If they don’t, the province will intervene. As well, MOE will investigate complaints where “an elevated level of impact on health and the environment” can be demonstrated.

Despite these safeguards, some say the process has let them down. One is Tracey Whitworth, head of drama, music and art at Delhi District Secondary School. Whitworth moved out of her home near Clear Creek last weekend due to health issues she says are related to the large number of wind turbines in her neighbourhood.

Whitworth gets violently ill when she is around turbines. Her symptoms disappear when she is away from them. Whitworth mounted a one-woman protest outside Governor Simcoe Square Tuesday night, calling for more research into the health effects of wind turbines.

“It happened to us down there (Clear Creek) and it’s going to happen again to people in Port Dover,” Whitworth predicted. “They won’t know what they are getting into until it hits them.”

Todd Josifovski, manager of the Capital Power project, said his company adheres to MOE health and safety standards. Sarah Palmer, Capital Power’s senior environmental adviser, referred questions about the potential health effects of turbines to the Canadian Wind Energy Association (WEAC) website: www.canwea.ca/

“We don’t have the right to comment on people’s health or how they perceive their health,” Palmer said.

10 thoughts on “Norfolk Council optimistic they still have a say

  1. Well put T3 – and yes, the few who benefit from this misguided venture don’t seem to care about their neighbour’s well being. And it appears that Norfolk council is marching to the beat of the almighty $$$.

  2. As soon as you hear the word “Planner” in the mix, you will be dealing with a lost cause for any meaningful dialogue between residents and Government.

    A Planner will always take the side of Government and proponent.

    In other words everything stated by the Planner is BS!

  3. “I’m an optimist” says the planner.

    Same as saying “Have at ‘er, Big Wind! Do what you please, ’cause we ain’t gonna give you any trouble.”

    Optimist? I prefer the correct term: Idiot. Anyone who thinks the MOE is going to do anything for them is, indeed, a brainless idiot.

  4. I’m sorry but I had to let out an evil, mocking laugh when I read about the planners “optimism”.

    The province is going to “step in” if a wind company starts stepping all over the municipality and it’s citizens???? HAHAHHHHHAAAAA!!!!

  5. “As well, MOE will investigate complaints where “an elevated level of impact on health and the environment” can be demonstrated.”
    Bull****

    “Todd Josifovski, manager of the Capital Power project, said his company adheres to MOE health and safety standards.”
    Double bull****

    The MOE doesn’t have any bloody health and safety standards. They continue to watch as family after family are forced to abandon their homes. They are ice cold robots.
    CONGRATULATIONS TRACY!! and keep it up!
    I am so sorry you have had to leave your home but the residents anticipating wind farms should be applauding your determination to get the story out before they get nailed. Bravo!!
    What is wrong with these proponents that they continue to lie so vehemently? Oh ya, they have our government directing them……..

  6. “I’m an optimist,” Norfolk planner Shirley Cater said. “I sincerely believe it is to the benefit of these companies to deal with municipalities. If they haven’t taken the municipality’s interests into account, I believe the Ministry of Environment is going to want to know why.”

    You said it first, Quixote.

    Just what ARE the municipality’s interests? The MoE SHOULD want to know why our “planners” haven’t taken into account the interests of their resident, tax paying, salary paying public.

  7. Tracey is a very strong person, but it is painful to have to see somebody go through what she is experiencing everyday. Not just the extreme physical health problems, but to mentally be able to cope with such desertion…and more wind projects. Incredibly painful.

  8. Tracy shouldn’t have to stand alone, we should stand beside her and make them listen- I know we are working and all live in different areas – Nobody ever said fighting something this big and evil was going to be easy- How can we help her? What is her next plan? Where is the press with this story? How about Dale Goldhawk will he go public with it and stir Tracy’s story up big time? CanWEA sure was anxious to debate on his show Maybe Goldhawk will have them both on his show and let them answer why Tracy had to finally leave her home- As long as she can keep her cool and not get emotional and just nail him with the facts- Maybe Carmen could coach her-

  9. To be “forced” from your home due to the actions of a stranger (in this case an idiot called McGuinty) has and always will be a CRIME!

    At least that’s what I’ve always been taught until this Wind Scam came along!

    Maybe someone who is forced from their home and has to live in the street could call the OPP and charge McGuinty with “assault causing bodily harm”?…………..

    Now wouldn’t that be justice during the fake “Question Period” you all attended and see McGuinty being dragged out in handcuffs!!!

  10. We all need to take a page from Tracey and start to picket the MPP’s offices. She is doing it on her last straw. Let’s show some solidarity and hope we don’t end up on our last straw as well.
    Queens Park is not a place to hide out at. They need to be accountable for how they vote to the citizens they represent in their riding’s.

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