Norfolk Council supports moratorium
By Barbara Simpson, Simcoe Reformer
Waterford Coun. Harold Sonnenberg stole the wind out of Norfolk Council’s sails last night, stating he will not be supporting any future industrial wind turbine projects.
His disdain highlights a change in direction about the alternative energy source in council chambers. Last night, Norfolk council approved a motion to support a moratorium on the erection of any industrial wind turbines until rigorous scientific research has been conducted. The county will be joining 58 Ontario municipalities and 410 European organizations of the European Platform Against Windfarms (EPAW) who are seeking a moratorium.
Stephana Johnston, whose home west of Port Rowan is surrounded by 18 wind turbines, presented the motion to council. She has been a regular on the council circuit lately, speaking out about the ill effects of wind turbines. She now maintains a space to clock some restful sleep in Delhi to the tune of $680 per month.
Her story of ill health — and similar stories throughout the community — are now starting to be acknowledged by council. Sonnenberg read from a prepared statement last night, listing off the reasons why he can no longer support wind turbines.
“I will not even put up my hand to receive as information,” Sonnenberg said. “Why? Because it’s lunacy with a capital ‘L.'”
Essentially, the price of electricity will skyrocket with two systems of energy being funded, he said. He also pointed out that wind power continues to remain unreliable, depending on the whim of the weather.
“I’m not even going to mention the health effects, which a lot of upper-level politicians are turning their noses up at,” he added.
However, Windham Coun. Jim Oliver suggested that there are about 400 fellow municipalities who are either not actively supporting the moratorium or are simply unaware of the issue.
“That too says something to me,” he added.
Little concern over wind turbines could simply be chalked up to a lack of firsthand experience, said Simcoe Coun. Charlie Luke.
“I suggest that many, many, many, many in this province do not experience firsthand the effects people in this community and around the world face,” he said, adding there was “no question in my mind” that there are undocumented health effects to wind turbines.
Johnston also similarly framed this lack of concern.
“That doesn’t mean they disagree with it,” she said, after her deputation. “They just haven’t had the experience. These people (council) have had eight years of experience.”
While Johnston has become the local face of the wind turbine debate, she insists that fellow residents are also experiencing adverse effects from the turbines. She and a neighbour drove a 15-kilometre radius, documenting their neighbourhood. There are eight abandoned houses, 11 vacant houses for sale, nine occupied homes for sale and three residents — herself included — who live at their properties during the day but sleep elsewhere at night. She also said there has been one successful suicide and one suicide attempt within her community.
Barbara Simpson 519-426-3528, ext. 112 firstname.lastname@example.org