“We’ve recently seen hundreds of industrial wind farm proposals ‘rubber stamped’ throughout Ontario without effective environmental, wildlife or human health studies,” said Sherri Lange.
SCARBOROUGH – In a sudden policy shift announced today, the provincial Ministry of Natural Resources announced a series of proposals designed to restrict where industrial wind turbines can be built in the Great Lakes and other fresh water locations across Ontario.
These proposed regulations come about after citizens’ groups, including the Scarborough-based Toronto Wind Action, had complained for years about the lack of effective planning and controls regarding wind turbine construction throughout Ontario.
“We’ve recently seen hundreds of industrial wind farm proposals ‘rubber stamped’ throughout Ontario without effective environmental, wildlife or human health studies,” said Sherri Lange, founding director and volunteer for Toronto Wind Concerns. “The provincial government now recognizes that industrial wind turbines cause serious harm to their surroundings. However, no environmental studies have been conducted. No studies have been done on sound and vibration across water. We need the results from these studies before adding more regulations.”
Currently in Ontario, industrial wind turbine locations proposed for “offshore” locations are unregulated. This means the wildlife, fragile shorelines and local residents along the province’s Great Lakes and other freshwater locations are virtually unprotected from such industrialization.
The provincial government’s proposals suggest more stringent environment assessments, including effects on wildlife, shoreline erosion and drinking water, will be required necessary before any of these towering structures will be built in Lake Ontario, Lake Erie or else in Ontario. The province is suggesting that offshore turbines, measuring some 40-storeys tall, must be located at least five kilometres away from land.
Lange pointed to the recent “six-month” wildlife study that reported nearly 2,000 birds and bats had been killed by the industrial wind turbines operating on Wolfe Island, near Kingston, Ontario. The wildlife mortality results came from field studies done over just 77 days between July 1 and Dec. 1 last year. The environmental group, Nature Canada, described the results as “shockingly high.”
She adds that she’s surprised the province neglected to add any requirements to measure attributes affecting human health, including noise, low frequency vibration, and shadow “flicker” – the effect caused when moving turbine blades partially obstruct the sun’s rays. Also missing from the provincial announcement is any requirement for independent economic assessment to show if the benefits of operating these expensive generators outweigh their significant costs, as well as risks to people and the environment.
It remains unclear how these new measures will affect Toronto Hydro’s proposal to built at least 60 industrial wind turbine as close as two kilometres from the Scarborough Bluffs, extending from the Don River, along the Toronto Beach and east to Ajax. At past public meetings, Toronto Hydro said its proposal was only feasible if all turbines were built in the shallow lakebed shelf within five kilometres of shore. The province’s new proposals would rule out this location for Toronto Hydro.
“There are so many problems with wind turbines,” said Lange. “This is why Europeans build their offshore turbines about 10 kilometres or more away from coasts, fragile environments and people. We now have an opportunity for Ontario to adopt the world’s best practices for green energy, which means more than trying to rely on troublesome wind turbine technology.”
For more information contact visit Toronto Wind Action