Ontario Wind revolt won’t die

By Michael Den Tandt Toronto Sun

Rural opposition to massive turbine farms in the Ontario countryside won’t blow over

Employees of the wind industry and Ontario Liberal politicians are scratching their heads. Why the fuss about wind turbines?

Some of them still think the furor will blow over. It’s just the griping of a few malcontents and health quacks — people who wear tinfoil helmets in their living rooms to ward off spy beams. The march of progress can’t be stopped. The Green Energy Act is law, turbines are coming to the countryside and that’s it.

Here’s a tip, from the hinterland. This is incorrect. The furor is building, not waning. Premier Dalton McGuinty was already a long shot for a third term. With wind in the mix and barring a radical re-do of the Green Energy Act, he is positioned to lose every rural and small-town seat.

People who live in the country do so by choice. Some stay because we wish to raise our children close to family. Others leave to pursue a career and then eventually come home. And others still, mainly boomers, retire to a small town or a farm because they’re tired of city life.

People who live in small towns or on farms are connected to the countryside in a way that most city people are not. We hunt, fish, cycle, hike, walk or drive through it all the time. Many residents of small towns are linked through family to a farm or plot of land.

For 30 years now, people who live on or near the Niagara Escarpment, a UNESCO World Biosphere Preserve, have lived within the strictures of the Niagara Escarpment Commission. This appointed body tells rural people what they can or cannot build on their property.

There are many rules. They do not account for family circumstances or in many cases for common sense. For example, the NEC won’t permit a landowner to build a second home on a 100-acre plot of land to house an ailing parent. Yet it does permit the Blue Mountain ski resort in Collingwood, Ont.

Despite these seeming contradictions, farmers and landowners have grudgingly learned to live with the NEC. But now along comes Big Wind, propelled by the vision of former Ontario deputy premier George Smitherman.

The vision is one in which the Ontario landscape, including land directly proximate to the Escarpment, is festooned with massive industrial turbines. Suddenly, preserving our agricultural and geographic heritage is less important. Indeed, such values don’t even seem to figure in the debate. Nor has there yet been a serious effort to expand nuclear — still the only way to produce huge quantities of energy without emitting carbon.

An irony about current-day Ontario: We have a government that says it is deeply committed to environmental protection. If a rare species of dung beetle is unearthed in a marsh, chances are no building will be allowed there. But disrupting the ecosystem of thousands of rural people? Not a problem. Disrupt away.

There was a good way to bring in wind energy.

The good way would have respected the wishes of communities that chose not to allow industrial-scale projects. It would have induced industry to offer small, farm-sized wind turbines at a reasonable price. It would have made it much easier for people to use wind (or solar) to satisfy their own energy needs, and sell any excess back to the grid. It would have been a local-first movement.

Instead McGuinty chose big industry, backed by big government. In doing so he trampled on the most important political idea to hit rural Canada in modern times: Greater local control of the food supply and stewardship of the land.

No, this revolt will not go away.

michael.dentandt@sunmedia.ca

25 thoughts on “Ontario Wind revolt won’t die

  1. Very well written and researched. Scratching their heads are they?
    One, (McGuinty) probably doesn’t so much as drive by and industrial wind farm, let alone live next to one.
    The wind energy people are motivated by profit only.

    Were farmers allowed to charge what their produce is worth they would never consider turbines.

    I particularly agree with the third last paragraph.

    Two thumbs up, way up for the Michael Den Tandt

    Keep up the good work.

  2. Hands up all those in rural Ontario willing to house another nuclear power plant in their back yard.

  3. I already have a nuclear plant in my backyard and it doesn’t bother me a bit. I have never heard of a nuclear plant forcing people from their homes like these wind turbines are in Ontario. They don’t build nuclear plants 350 meters from family homes. I vote nuclear.

  4. Great. Let’s put a few concrete proposals out there and see what happens. I would be delighted if all rural Ontarians were as enlightened as yourself.

  5. I’ll have one also! After all they DO employ lots of people, AND make lots of power!!!

  6. Nuclear! at last, common sense prevails.
    Count me in. How about the ex General Chemical lands near Amherstburg – it’s a perfect spot for a small (200-300MW) nuclear facility. River Access, Rail Access, Storage Ponds, Zoned Industrial. The only hurdle would be transmission, which is solvable.
    And guess what, no realtime CO2 emissions and no standby gas powered plants required.
    … and lots of “real” employment. I feel a petition coming on…

  7. Quit talking nonsense about having a nuclear plant in everyone’s backyard!

    Nuclear Plants are usually built in Industrial areas that are close to large transmission facilities and centres of population.

    One Nuclear plant would out produce ALL Wind Turbines that are scheduled for Ontario’s Rural Landscapes!

    Here’s a better idea….build more Hydro-Electric generators on dammed rivers that are just there to control water levels. Small generators are available and have been for decades that would supply local towns with all the power they would ever require along with a surplus that can be passed back into the existing grid structure without causing any significant upgrades. Locally we have at least a dozen existing water systems capable of accommodating this small less costly generation yet the Federal and Provincial Governments have continuously rubber stamped every application with an automatic “Reject” label!

    WHY?…………because the Government run mega agencies like OPA, OPG and all the other fake money grubbing political agencies wouldn’t be able to make any $$$$$$$$$ off the low priced and CLEAN electricity!

    So in future save your BS and go back to work at your “CANWEA propaganda desk” and leave the honest and true reporting to the people who are being forced from their homes and seeking help from the Medical community for their Health problems caused directly from the Wind Scam that has been forced down our throats by a group of greedy and self centred industrialist and politicians.

    Better yet, just dust off your resume and try and get a job with a firm like Goldman Sachs who really cares about destroying people’s lives and futures!

  8. The Bruce nuclear generating station. Industrial area ? (No), centre of population? (No), Transmission ? (Not really, but being upgraded as we speak). Nonsense? (It appears Not).

  9. Hey Davey from Amherstburg. I work at that site (Honeywell). I’d love to see that happen. Perfect industrial location.

  10. Thanks MA. I believe the RfP for the GenChem land is out soon… if not nuclear (which can sometimes be an expensive build option – like Solar, in fact) then maybe natural gas turbines or natural gas fired Combined Heat/Power with local district heating.

  11. Harrow wind Farm has turbines running,at least 4 KM from me and last night laying in bed I heard them. Today working in the yard I can hear the whomp. What will happen when the ones 2 and 3 KM away start up? Thanks Essex Council,the most dysfunctional council controlled by a bully

  12. The Bruce Nuclear Station is less that 5km down my Bruce Road 20 where our home and farms are located. Nuclear has huge employement opportunities for local people as well as people from all over ontatio in fields like engineers, operators, mechanics, electricians, scientists, civil mtce. security, rapid deployment SWAT type teams, administration, supply chain, buyers, stockkeepers, legal, clerical, training, chemical technitians, management staff, nurses, doctors, secretarial, communications, lan administrators, food preparation and cafeteria staff probably total over 4000 employees plus construction and other contrators. A wide varienty Jobs for many professional and non proffessions and trades. Also the the local and in Ontario purchases of goods and services, stationery items, desks, furniture, safety equipment, computers, printers, paper etc. This is a private company not funded by our tax dollars.
    Bruce Power gives to the comunity it is a Welcomed Company.

    It does not bother me that it is located 5km down my road. Lots of traffice at start and stop times. Other than that I would never know I have a Nuclear neighbour.

    Enbridge Wind Company – I have the extreme displeasure of living with 115 Wind Turbines around my home. We have enough land that thank the lord the closest to me is 1.5 km.
    They have a negative impact on me and my family.

    Every direction I look outside my home all I see is spinning blades. They are not pretty and they are horribly inefficent. I have had to purchase blinds for all the windows in my home. Its the constant red blinking lights at night that drive us crazy.

    My sister in law up the road’ house is much closer to them she has experienced health problems. Her dog “Dakota” sometimes barks at the one closest to their home and when they are really making noise the dog gets irratated and runs away from home. The horses get agitatied and run around the fields.

    This is not right!

    The Wind Company employ a low end labour technicians and repair people. I dont think they are even local.

    No high end jobs in this market for the locals who have to put up with the sight of them.

    Just some big Wind Companies not eeven local who want to make big money off our taxes.

    I vote YES to Nuclear and NO to Wind Trubines!!!

    thaI vote build Bruce C Nuclear station.

  13. I vote for a North American Revolt! The truth is out about the uselessness of Wind power, the serious health problems and the taxpayer expense! What we need now is to have a referendum across this country and the USA!

    When our hydro bill goes up I am going to run our fridge and clothes dryer off a gas generator.

    I really do hope all our Counties pass a by law using the Canadian Charter of rights and freedoms. Looks like some people are ready to fight and keep an eternal vigilance to protect democracy! Cheers to them.

  14. This Provincial Government has basically become a useless “entity” and is in such an “adversarial mode”now it is no longer a “leader” but an “attacker” on our “Freedom and Rights”. When a Government becomes a “tyranny” then it has to be brought down!

    Only a peaceful and lawful demonstration of our power is warranted!

    Our Municipality’s have to take the lead here and reject anything harmful that is being promoted by McGuinty and gang.

    They are OUR power, all that’s left!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. Wind is not a source of power that can replace nuclear, coal, gas or any other reliable source of power production. It is not about wind or nuclear, but will be wind and nuclear or wind and coal. Industrial wind turbines need reliable power to operate and provide no functional power for the end consumer. If one understood the limitations of wind on the grid they would realize there is no argument to justify building industrial wind turbines if producing energy for consumers is the desired outcome. If really interested view the presentation by John Droz at

    http://www.slideshare.net/JohnDroz/energy-presentationkey-presentation

    Slide 98 begins the real focus on why industrial wind will never be a useful source of energy. John gives industrial wind as much credit as possible and still comes to the conclusion that very little energy reaches the consumer. In reality most of the time industrial wind will not provide the consumer with any additional energy and as turbines age it will consume more energy than it produces. That makes it a waste of effort and money to build industrial wind turbines anywhere.

  16. I vote nuclear. It’s clean, efficient, inexpensive and one nuclear reactor tower takes up much less farmland than the countless numbers of turbines that wouldn’t even come close to producing the same amount of electricity. As an added bonus, very few birds are killed by running in to a stationary reactor tower….in fact, I’ll guess none!

    Thanks for posing the question Greg.

  17. @Davey:

    The article by Tyler Hamilton is interesting, but then, he creates a lot of interesting stories about climate and global warming and the tremendous value of alternative energy and wind turbines.

    I think that most of the stories created by Tyler Hamilton would be better off to never see the light of day. But then we have free speech don’t we? Unless you are opposed to the ludicrous ideas of the well financed Big Green Machine.

    Can I get grant money for writing those stories? I need a few bucks…

  18. Good responses all. May I make a suggestion? If you are pro-nuke, you should perhaps channel your energies toward beginning a conversation about creating more nuclear power, in Ontario, rather than being anti-wind. It is much easier to sell a positive message than a negative one. Just my two cents.

  19. Greg, we are not doing this for “something to do”. We are in the midst of fighting to save our communities, our families health and quality of life and help stop the victimization of those affected already.

    McGuinty has stripped local input and designated rural Ontario as some type of third world country for his exploitation.

    This might be an abstract “political cause” from your perspective but this is in-our-face, impacting our lives NOW and there is no one else willing to get the truth out there. I’m sorry if some people find that unpalatable.

  20. There was practically a riot in caucus against the Samsung deal. Smitherman left and McGuinty still pushed it through…so no, I don’t think Smitherman leaving makes any difference.

  21. Dalton (AKA Norman)….back to the Bates Motel…You’re mother is calling…

  22. Just like the last dragged out days of Harris and his “greasy bunch of weasels” where he was met with demonstrators every single time he ventured out from his “Pink Palace”, McGuinty is now experiencing the same “death throes” of an unwanted “leader”!

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