Algoma Region joins the fight

The McGuffin family

Soo Today       Adventure-paddler, photographer, writer, activist and environmentalist, Joanie McGuffin along with her husband Gary are internationally recognized for their conservation efforts.

Commercial wind power is not cheap and it is not green and it is not solving global warming or helping our communities prosper.

For people interested in having a discussion about the massive changes coming to the Algoma region with commercial wind farms, there is going to be a community meeting on Thursday July 29 from 7-9 p.m. at Captain Tilley Park on Hwy 552W Goulais River.

Wind turbines are coming to the Algoma region and the east shore of Lake Superior in a big way.  What might at first appear as a cheap, green solution to our energy needs, in anything but that.

Unbeknownst to most of us, the McGuinty government’s Green Energy Act quietly stripped local governments of their zoning powers.  That means that we, the people of the Algoma region, have had our democracy denied to be involved in the process of establishing these wind farms throughout Algoma.  You might be surprised to learn who voted for silencing our community voice.

Most people today are aware and concerned about the effects that global warming is having upon our planet.

The massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has further prompted us all to reassess the way we live.

How do we move away from our fossil fuel-dependent society and begin to rely on the natural, renewable forces of nature from the sun, wind and water?

How can anyone be against wind power?

If commercial wind power was really an economical, long-term solution to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, we should be having serious community discussions to find the best available places to site these wind towers.

However, the big, inconvenient truth about industrial wind is that is not going to solve our problems.

It is making things worse.

– Wind power is not reliable and, therefore must have a constant back-up source of power (most often fossil-fuels) which duplicates rather than replaces our energy consumption. Pollution and CO2 levels are going up, not down.

– For every wind farm that gets built, our electricity costs will continue to go up to cover this hugely subsidized industry.

– Giant wind turbines create enormous impacts on our natural and wild places and on communities where people live. There are hundreds of examples of communities worldwide being negatively impacted by commercial wind farms.

– Living in the vicinity of a wind farm has a number of serious health-related consequences. And there is a significant devaluation of property values.

– Before signing contracts with wind farm companies who wish to locate wind turbines on private property, land owners should get legal counsel, and get educated about the overall impacts to the community.

– Commercial wind turbine requires significant forest clearing, bedrock blasting, road and powerline infrastructure.

– The spectacular ridges of Lake Superior’s east shore and the Algoma region will be covered with red flashing lights if the many hundreds more towers planned are built.

I, along with many people, initially felt excited by the government’s commitment to renewable energy.

As I watched the wind turbines appearing on the horizon in Prince Township from our property in Goulais River, I wanted to believe that we were moving in the right direction.

However evidence from countries with years of commercial wind experience like Demark, Germany and the United Kingdom demonstrate that commercial wind development as a clean, green solution is a fallacy, and we need to have a serious look at the real economic, environmental, and social costs associated with this industry before we inundate one of the most beautiful landscapes on earth with wind turbines.

The answer, my friend, is not blowing in the wind.

From Joanie McGuffin, Goulais River


5 thoughts on “Algoma Region joins the fight

  1. Stop talking about wind and solar. Talk geothermal. Geothermal provides energy whether it’s windy or not, whether the sun is out or not, it does not pollute, it does not kill birds, it can be located anywhere and delivers enery 24/7. It just looks like another coal fired power plant that’s all. The greens and politicians don’t get a warm and fuzzy feeling from a geothermal plant like they do from spinning wind turbines. And yes, this makes a difference I kid you not. Wind tubines are a symbol. Too bad that after about 10 years when they are rusty and falling apart, they aren’t so much of a warm and fuzzy symbol anymore. People are idiots.

  2. Great to see Joanie and Gary on board. Followed their canoe trip on CBC (at least Joanie not sure I remember hearing Gary) radio in the mid 80’s. Hope they have some influence to get CBC to report honestly. At least they have done their homework and recognize it is not about putting wind turbines somewhere else. It is about industrial wind turbines not producing any meaningful power and too soon none at all. Industrial wind turbines are a waste of space and effort and have too many casualties. Anyone approached by companies to lease their property should ask themselves “Do I want to sell the rights to my property to someone I do not know, most likely will never see again and who most likely does not care what happens to me or my neighbours?”

  3. Mr. Alias: I believe Joanie was talking in the past tense in that she “wanted to believe…”, at the beginning and that is not much different than a lot of us at the start. The turbines are so big it is hard to imagine them not producing lots of power and that a few hundred would power Ontario. The industrial wind turbine illusion fades in steps if one is interested in researching the topic. Industrial sized turbines are only giving us costly problems that will not be solved by building more. This is not an industry but a process to get more money from consumers to deliver nothing more than what we had before. If we are on the same page, that is against the building of industrial wind turbines, than we should appreciate what each can bring to the table.

  4. Wind Turbines remind me of some politicians. Far too many of them draw power to spin their rotors — rather than producing any energy themselves.

    Perhaps that is closer to the point where may of us end up — after initially believing that a spinning Wind Turbine is a productive wind turbine.

  5. I still stand behind what I said, even though MA pulled my post, that there are to many environmentalist and or environmental groups that aren’t doing anything when they could. One has to ask one’s self, why aren’t they doing anything? Read the following document and you might better understand where I am coming from;

    The sad thing about the Wind Turbines that are operating in Canada,when they kill wildlife the companies are in violation of our wildlife protection laws, Wolfe Island and Ripley are examples, the slaughter has been well documented and it is going to continue, why aren’t these groups doing anything about it.

    If our wildlife protection laws were to be enforced, then there wouldn’t be a need for human studies? They want the studies to show the ill effects to man, the wind companies say there aren’t any ill effects however they can not say that there wind turbines do not kill wildlife. In one aspect we are looking for something to use against the wind companies, with the other aspect we already have evidence to shut them down as per our wildlife protection laws.

    The Canadian government has charged the oil companies out west for killing wildlife how come the Canadian government has not laid any charges against the wind companies for their killing of wildlife, under our existing legislation they are both considered to be activities?

    As for being on the same page, and what each can bring to the table, at best, we all are proceeding down the same path with a common goal, where there will be times where we have to agree to disagree.

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