Prince Edward County votes against supporting municipality’s bylaw

By Joanne Courneya-Fitzroy   
Kingston Whig Standard

After much deliberation and public input, Prince Edward County council has voted against supporting in principle another municipality’s bylaw regulating wind turbines.

The municipality of Arran-Elderslie is seeking the support of several municipalities across Ontario for its bylaw asking the provincial government for more stringent restrictions on wind farms.

Council heard from several delegations both for and against wind turbines, including environmental lawyer Eric Gillespie.

Gillespie said Arran-Elderslie’s council “recognized that due to changes in Ontario’s Green Energy Act, the municipality’s role would change.”

The motion to support the Arrans-Elderslie wind turbine/ Green Energy Act bylaw in principle was defeated 10-2, with Finnegan and Mertens being the only two in favour.

Twenty other Ontario municipalities — out of more than 400 that have been asked to endorse the bylaw — have done so.

County resident Debra Hudson told council that this bylaw “is motivated to stop farmland from being used for clean energy production.”

She noted that damage to human health from fossil fuel production is much more prevalent than wind turbine health issues.

Most members of council weighed in on the Arran-Elderslie bylaw before putting it to a recorded vote:

Peter Mertens: “It is a progressive step for the municipality to take back the responsibility to look after the welfare of our citizens. The bylaw promotes responsible use of wind energy facilities.”

Brian Marisett: “We need the desire to take steps forward for cleaner air. It is frustrating that this resource remains underdeveloped. At some point we have to accept the reality that there will be wind energy in Prince Edward County.”


John Thompson: “We should become positive supporters of renewable energy sources.”

Bev Campbell: “We should have some say where wind turbines will go. A vote of support would allow people to assume we’re going down that same road. This bylaw constitutes a total barrier against wind turbines in this county.”

Monica Alyea: “I have a lot of difficulty with parts of this bylaw. There is a real tug of emotions with the people in Prince Edward County. I want to see wind energy done right with respect to health issues.”

Lori Slik: “I don’t support the Green Energy Act at all. I want this issue to go away. We need to move forward.”

Sandy Latchford: “I don’t want to minimize the public’s concerns with wind energy but the bylaw the way it is written is asking the (Ontario) government to do something (it) cannot do. It’s not viable.”

Kevin Gale: “I support renewable energy. I’m not a fan of provincial bullying. This bylaw slants to an anti-movement. The suggestions in this bylaw are ludicrous and impossible.”

Peggy Burris: “I support passing support in principle of this bylaw. We will get the government’s attention, letting them know many of us are unhappy with the Green Energy Act. Maybe this isn’t a perfect bylaw, but they are on the right track. I am against windmills close to where people live. There is a right place for them, but … windmills are not the only way to save the earth.”

Barry Turpin: “We have looked at this before and have taken our own spin on it. I can’t support that bylaw in this form.”

Dianne O’Brien: “I came here tonight with an open mind on the subject. I support the efforts, but not the bylaw. It would be misleading to support something we are not going to follow through on.”

Mayor Leo Finnegan: “I am in favour of wind energy. This has been a hot subject for the seven years I’ve been on council. We have told the province we want some say in where turbines will be sited. I don’t want Prince Edward County to look like Wolfe Island. I’m in favour of supporting the bylaw in principle.”

33 thoughts on “Prince Edward County votes against supporting municipality’s bylaw

  1. Interesting comments.

    Kevin Gale: “I support renewable energy. I’m not a fan of provincial bullying. This bylaw slants to an anti-movement. The suggestions in this bylaw are ludicrous and impossible.”

    Sandy Latchford: “I don’t want to minimize the public’s concerns with wind energy but the bylaw the way it is written is asking the (Ontario) government to do something (it) cannot do. It’s not viable.”

    So asking the Ontario government to prove to us that wind turbines will not harm our health is something that the government cannot do.
    Therein lies the problem Sandy Latchford.

    Some people can only learn a lesson by personal experience I guess. So much evidence, such little concern.
    I wonder what makes any councillor think that for some reason their municipality will be spared the hell that every other wind farm has created? I don’t get it.

  2. I have just read the minutes from the meeting where the the Arran-Elderslie bylaw was passed. It seems to make a lot of sense on first reading.

    Why would it not be supported by other councils, I ask myself. The only answer that comes to me is that those who vote against it are invested in the wind industry. Is this simplistic, folks?

  3. Claire: It is becoming clearer to more and more people that industrial wind turbines do not work. Some people lack interest and some lack intelligence and trust the government. Somehow you would expect better of council members to put more effort into understanding an industry that has a reputation of destroying what rural communities provide to this province. Your question passes through most of our minds: “What are the council members, who do not support the by-law, interest in the subject?” Full blinded support is not a sign of intelligence but greed.

  4. Any Councilor that is pro GEA and pro Wind has no place in the political arena representing Ontario Citizens!

    No matter what language they use they are not competent or honorable people!

    That is just the plain truth! If any of them claim “ignorance or misinformed” then they are just as guilty of “selling out their constituents” as a councilor who has money riding on Wind Development.

    Time to call a spade a spade. PEC is a birds eye view of how badly run a Council can be! Essex is another…in fact lump the whole damn Provincial total into that category…………….”Throw the Bums Out!”

  5. United we stand and divided we fall.

    Debra Hudson’s comments: this bylaw “is motivated to stop farmland from being used for clean energy production,” if she factors in Wind Turbines in making this statement then she hasn’t a clue about what she is saying.

    As far as her reference to damage to human health from fossil fuel production is more prevalent than wind turbine health issues it’s the usage of fossils fuels that’s more of a problem than the production. So now as far as Hudson is concerned this wind issue is a matter of a trade off on human health issues and effects. She would agree that we go this route (wind turbines) because less people will be affected. How ignorant can she be? Those most affected by CO2 pollution will be those that live in the cities not those that live in the country so now as a society we induce measures to having even more people sick from both fossil fuel and wind turbines. She needs take this opportunity to prove to her constituents that she is not small minded like the many other municipalities in Ontario.

    What she needs and others of her council need to know about wind, is that it is so unreliable, wind farms can only provide electricity when the wind is blowing strong enough to meet the specifications of the wind turbine. If the wind is too strong the wind turbines have to be shut down. The demand for electricity has to match the supply. If there’s a demand for electricity and the wind is not blowing then there isn’t any power being generated by wind farms. When there isn’t a demand for electricity and the wind is blowing the wind turbines have to be shut down. Wind is unpredictable, as such, wind farms can cause power surges where there is more electricity going into the grid than warrants the demand resulting in possible Blackouts if not controlled or caught in time by the Grid Operators. Grid operation is an extremely complicated operation that requires a fine balance of operation. The unpredictability of wind and the ability to operate the grid in a safe and productive manner do not mix. In addition, wind farms have to be maintained which adds to the overall cost of electricity and the production of CO2. For most, because of the unreliability of wind turbines existing generating facilities will always have to be operating or spinning on standby, which further contributes to the production of CO2.

    At this point in our history with wind turbines in Ontario I find it inexcusable that this councilor is so ignorant to the level that she does not realize that it is a fallacy that we will be able to move away from the fossil fuel industry and that it will always have to be in operation because of the very nature of wind. It is very obvious that most of these councilors have not taken the time for the sake of the residents they represent to do the proper research on wind energy. I hope the residents are paying attention because they should be taking action and demanding much better representation than this. Supporting a bylaw in principle is one thing but actually using the municipal authority that remains to protect and best represent their own residents is a completely different thing.

    After having read this article I am under the impression that these guys have been in very close proximity to the spokespeople(s) or representatives of/for the Wind Turbine Companies. One would hope, given to the way things stand presently within this community, is not as a result of being accommodated by the wind companies for the purpose of establishing an allegiance for the development of wind farms within their community.

  6. It looks like that council has to go.

    Vote them out and tell them not to come back. Get some people with some science and technology education in the council as well as the usual types.

    Ross McKitrick examined the following issue:

    “She noted that damage to human health from fossil fuel production is much more prevalent than wind turbine health issues.”

    Feel Free to read the second Coal Plants article here: (first link is broken)

    Prefixed by this:
    “I also did a review of the Ontario Cost-Benefit Analysis for the Power Workers’ Union in 2004. ”

  7. Claire:

    You really do have to put a summary paper in front of the council — at least whoever will listen.

    I have used mine a couple of times because it has the links. If people read the paper they can call up the references — then they can make their own decisions at their leisure.

    Making these decisions at a council meeting with only a small part of the information presented does not allow councilors to be fully informed.

    I think the key is education as to the issues and then let them make their own decisions. In spite of the harsh opinions of politicians that are expressed here I think it is quite difficult to get elected if you are a stupid person. So given a chance to use their own intelligence and to absorb the issues without constant hammering is likely to be more effective.

    In the end if a well-educated councilor makes a decision that to install wind-turbines is a “good thing” — or at least not worth the risk of opposition — then they are making the decision in the correct way.

    Of course you can then easily make a decision at voting time. Perhaps you could even decide to run or work for an opponent of the incumbent.

    Green Energy is about politics. There is a technical base of information, but very few people know how to access that base. That is why I put together the paper I did. It is about Ontario and references similar experiences. This allows you to decide if you want to be on the bandwagon.

    If you educate the local politicians in this way they are more likely to make the decisions that you wish them to make — it is not certain — but if they have the same information as you or at least access to all of it it helps the cause.

  8. Yes, David, I understand what you are saying, and in a context of non-corruption, or at least minimal corruption (if there is such a thing),it makes sense.

    But I am addressing the issue of conflict of interest, which seems to trump education and public trust.

    What I am getting at is the non-educability of those corrupted by power greed.

  9. And what do you mean by “a stupid person”? Perhaps you and I have differing definitions of “stupid”, and I really do not mean or intend to use the word “stupid” pejoratively. The ability to manipulate and spin and fool as many people as possible as much of the time as possible is, to me, the very essence of stupidity…anti-relational, anti-nature, self-serving, trust-busting, harm-perpetrating stupidity – the dominance of ego over spirit.

  10. Zen2then, this may seem like a naiive question, but if, as you say, ” Full blinded support is not a sign of intelligence but of greed”, what are they getting out of it? What is it that they are greedy for?

  11. Claire:

    I am using the word in the standard dictionary sense.
    lacking ordinary quickness and keenness of mind; dull.
    characterized by or proceeding from mental dullness; foolish; senseless: a stupid question.
    tediously dull, esp. due to lack of meaning or sense; inane; pointless: a stupid party.

    …Otherwise we end up being followers of the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland. …where words mean exactly what we intend them to mean…

    ..not that I disagree with the description in your post of some of the people in the industry and their adherents… By: Claire on 07/31/2010
    at 18:35

    …However many people do go into public service because they feel they can improve things. Where they end up is a different matter sometimes…

  12. Most Politicians are not “stupid”…they are “ignorant”

    Ignorant of the facts and figures on most issues.

    Ignorant of the feelings and interests of their employers (US).

    Ignorant of the effects that their decisions have on the broader scale as most decisions are made to address a very narrow agenda.

    Ignorant of what the Province of Ontario means to the people who live within it.

    Ignorant of the damage being done with the tax increases and massive spending they have agreed to.

    In other words, just plain IGNORANT!

  13. Claire: Companies can rely on greed to get people to provide blind support (unable or unwilling to see the truth) when there is promises of money or investment opportunities. For example at an open house last year a council member was being urged by a company representative to think about how the company could fund municipal projects. So for the promise of a few thousand dollars a council member becomes a blind supporter willing to accept the development as a reality that could not be stopped and not questioning where the money comes from. Try talking some sense into a council member whose mind is racing on the promises of extra money. It is hard for them to hold back their excitement. They really don’t want to know who ultimately pays if the promises become real as that could make it wrong to consider any funds. They don’t want to find out the industrial wind development is a waste of effort that will result in high electricity rates as that would make any promise of money part of the scam and dirty money. Greed gives the industrial wind company “blind support”. Promises are cheap and can be broken. The obvious purpose of the promise was to momentarily distract long enough to push through until it was too late. An industrial wind company only has to pay out what it is legally required to, and even then ownership changes can adjust contracts. Someone who leases property will give “blind support” to the development whether they like it or not with the gag orders. Greed gets them to sign the lease as the property ownership places them at a level above what they need.

  14. Anyone out there in Prince Edward County – please feel free to use this post word for word and send it to your newspaper under your own name.

    Do not confuse ignorance with stupidity.

    The lack of knowledge is to be ignorant, the lack of common sense is to be stupid. The question is which category do these local politicians of Prince Edward County fall under regarding wind turbines.

    Many communities/municipalities have taken a stance against wind turbine farms for obvious reasons and all are to be commended.

    However I believe there is something amiss. This is the second municipality within the last two weeks that have gone on record that have criticized or is negative towards Arran-Elderslie’s by-law. One has to ask why or one has to stop and think about what is actually taking place all of a sudden?

    The intent or end result of Arran-Elderslie by-law is not any different from any of the other resolutions and or by-laws that have been passed by other municipalities that have joined forces against wind farms. I am convinced this negativism has been perpetrated by both the Liberal government and the wind companies to create dissension within the municipalities of those opposed to wind turbines and those who are not. I am further convinced that Arran-Elderslie’s by-law if adapted by surrounding municipalities would have the potential to force these wind companies out of our province. If you’re able to create false impressions it makes it a whole lot easier to divide and conquer.

    There is no other explanation for what is happening and I am sure that there will be other councilors and mayors from communities/municipalities who will present themselves in this manner. In doing so, if such is the case, then in whose best interest will their actions serve.

    I ask those from Prince Edward County council to come forward and account for yourselves. What purpose did it serve your community by not supporting Arran-Elderslie’s by-law, keeping in mind the following resolution that your council had already passed?

    Prince Edward Resolution (date unknown)

    The following is the motion that was put forward by Monica Alyea and amended. A vote was then taken on Motion 2008-605 as Amended as follows:
    “WHEREAS Prince Edward County is an island municipality located in Lake Ontario just west of Kingston and has been identified for significant wind farm development, both onshore and offshore; and
    WHEREAS currently six (6) wind turbine development companies have publicly signaled a desired presence with three (3) applications in place at the formal planning application stage ( 1 of these at the Ontario Municipal Board); and.
    WHEREAS the need for renewable energy sources is recognized at the federal, provincial, municipal and local community levels; and
    WHEREAS wind generated power is an established source of renewable energy being created globally; and
    WHEREAS populated and publicly owned and occupied lands and waters are being identified for industrial wind turbine development; and
    WHEREAS discrepancy exists on the health effects potentially created by the presence of industrial wind turbines; and
    WHEREAS this discrepancy on the potential health effects is proving to be destructive and divisive to the social and cultural fabric of rural communities; and
    WHEREAS other Ontario municipalities, being the Township of Loyalist and the Township of Dawn-Euphemia, have passed resolutions expressing concern with the health effects association with wind turbines;
    NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Council of the Corporation of the County of Prince Edward requests that the Federal and Provincial government agencies responsible for public health, energy creation and energy management complete the following:
    1) Dedicate resources to the necessary scientific research to consider the impact of
    a. low frequency noise and,
    b. electrical and electromagnetic disturbances
    in areas of industrial wind turbines with the intent to confirm/deny public health implications; and
    2) Create and provide authoritative regulations and guidelines for the locating of wind turbines to municipalities and wind energy developers.
    THAT the resolution of the Township of Loyalist dated September 25, 2008 be supported; and
    THAT this resolution be forwarded with a request for action to:
    The Ontario Ministries of Health, Environment and Energy, Medical Officers of Health at Public Health Units, Environment Canada, Health Canada, All MPPs and MPs, The Premier’s Office, The Prime Minister’s Office, The Association for Municipalities of Ontario (AMO), and The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM); and
    THAT this resolution be circulated to all municipalities and native territories in Ontario requesting their support.” CARRIED

  15. So basically the above resolution shows every single Ontarian that this Municipality is totally committed to working on behalf of all the above mentioned agencies (note their names for future reference) and is totally declaring that it is not working for the betterment of it’s very own electorate!

    There is no other way to describe this massive support for various Government agencies that are doing “harm” to the People, Wildlife and Lands of Ontario

    On October 25th 2010 you can end their reign of terror by voting them out of their jobs!


  16. Greater setbacks are nice… But the Wind Turbines don’t actually produce useful amounts of power reliably… do they?

    This is a lot of discussion about something that should not exist — and IWT factory.

    Get rid of McGuinty and His Government, Vote out the local councils, Cancel the contracts — any order — forthwith!

    Then… have the new government sue all the participants in Green Energy to tie them up in court so that they can’t collect while the suit is ongoing — take 20 years to work through the suit so you can bankrupt the Wind Companies. It should be a reasonable strategy. BTW — I’m not smart enough to think up that strategy — I just observe how government officials harass their enemies.

    You could also have the new Government back a “Citizens Committee” to sue all the Green Energy Fools that so occupy government these days… Again — a widely used technique of government weanies…

  17. FIRSTyour local Council has to be rebuilt by honest citizens. THEN you go after the NGO’s and Lobby Groups who were influencing Ontario’s Councils in the past…….REMOVE them from any further business with Councils at large…………THEN declare YOUR intentions to the Provincial Government.not wishes……..Intentions……………A list of DEMANDS has to be presented to the Provincial Government that will represent all honest hard working people in Ontario. Back up those demands with Citizens Actions!

    It would take a full hour to list those options but I will leave that for your imagination!

    The first real suggestion would be a Tax Revolt!

    Anyone care to continue?…………..

  18. Caroline:

    Feel free to read my paper in the Viability section “Watts with the Wind”

    The turbines are not effective at producing power. Why risk anything for something that does not deliver?

  19. I think that there are so many pro people from TO buying here that it will be a losing battle.

    Even the anti groups are now split and self fighting – saying no to any turbines and now saying no to solar or any form of Green Energy that requires a grant or subsidy. That is a serious problem as you cannot keep saying no to everything.

  20. Caroline,
    If I were you I would start warning the neighbours who are pro. The minute they get sick they will realize they are not going to get any help. The company will not stop them nor will they take them down.
    Why do people think there is warning after warning on the health issues being broadcast?
    Trust me this is not just for the fun of it. We all have better things to do with our time than worry about PEC when we don’t live there. Do you understand the seriousness of this and why we are concerned, for all residents of Ontario?

  21. Hey don’t shoot the messenger. I understand fine, but now my biggest issue has turned to the farmer down the road who is spraying crops with a helicopter!!!! My land is organic. I am from the UK where this type of crop spraying has been banned since the late 70s due to toxicity levels and chemicals carried on the wind. As this will KILL, it gets into water, livestock, children etc. Think about it in Europe its banned but here in Canada they allow it -if they do not care about helicopter spraying do you really think the gov will listen on IWT???

  22. Geez!…and I thought all the food in PEC was organically grown!!!!!……………….maybe you should post this out in your driveway..I know a huge number of people who drive to PEC from our area about 2 hours away who load up truckloads of PEC produce and sell it back here in the various Farmers Markets all stating publicly it is PEC Produce!

    Maybe when this idiot who is spraying damages the food reputation of PEC produce on a whole may just experience some backlash from his own neighbours for ruining their sales?

    I know I’ll be telling folks up here to be cautious………..seems the only way to stop this insanity is to hit them where it hurts……in the pocket book!

  23. Well here’s a shocker for you – the same guy who is now helicopter spraying owns over 1000 acres of land is rather pissed that the DND has stopped him having near 20 turbines on his land!! He will be renting the helicopter and pilot out to other farmers in the area.

    Our land is certified organic and so is prob another 2 in PEC. Then there are say another 3 medium size farms who practice but are not certified organic.

    Most of the farmers in PEC spray in one form or another. They believe that us from away are just playing at farming and most of the resturants here do buy local but that is the key LOCAL not organic. PEC prides itself on the local key.

    That is why IWT are seen by most as not an issue here. It really is only a few who see the threat.

  24. Well Caroline, thanks to you word will spread around here that people should pay particular attention to who is growing produce down your way in an organic way.

    I’ll make sure folks who shop for fresh produce down there ask the appropriate questions before purchasing!!!!!

  25. carolinedraper, your comments are most educational and illuminating – thanks very much.

  26. “I think there are so many pro people from TO buying here…”

    Ironic, carolinedraper. For the last couple of years, I have been looking for a property to buy – anywhere within 3 hours of Totonto would be possible. Some friends of mine wanted to buy in PEC, and are now waiting to see what will happen with wind development in the area – they will not even consider buying unless the turbines are stopped. And I am not even considering PEC anymore. So sad, for I have spent many joyous times along those shores. Really, I feel deeply sad.

  27. I am going to have to weigh-in at this point as another resident of Prince Edward County.

    Caroline’s view is valuable and I respect her for stating it here – but – I vehemently disagree with many of her statements.

    Last summer over 1250 people and businesses signed a petition rejectiing Industrial Wind Turbines in PEC. Over 110 signatures were collected on another petition rejecting them on Big Island alone. South Marysburgh produced another petition with 150 (or so) signatures against and there is a petition drive on presently in North Marysburgh which is somewhere in the neighbourhood of 350 signatures.

    The total is likely well over 1500 (allowing for duplicates – which surely exist) – and this is a sizeable number of people expressing their opinion against Industrial Wind Turbines.

    The number of farmers and property owners that support IWT’s in fact, is very small. Just as in other jurisdictions, the supporters tend to be owners of large acreage – often agricorp style farmers who are cash cropping in a place that such farming is a silly anachronism – when forced to compete with farms in the West and the US midWest – that add up the size of their farms in sections rather than acres.

    The council in PEC is hopelessly tied to an old guard of families who still believe it makes sense to continue with a way of life that is becoming more and more difficult to sustain.

    This is not sustainable agriculture from many points of view.

    The very same councillors refuse to become informed – they refuse to look at information or evidence – they are a human anachronism that seems to fit the old time politics of the region.

    We love this place – we are fighting this battle as hard as anyone in any other part of the province and we are counting on a victory in Superior Court (which may explain why over 80% of the financial support for the Application for Judicial Review has come from Prince Edward County!)

  28. Thanks so much, PECV. What you are saying matches my sense of things in PEC. Your comments in comparison with carolinedraper’s underscore the divisiveness created by the IWT issue.

    Now tell us, who is ready to demand that this Council revisit the Arran-Elderslie bylaw issue? Who is ready to demand that this Council seek some outside guidance? Who is ready to ask this Coucil to step down?

  29. My question is who is ready to run for Council and kick these dinosaurs out?…………..

    A quick and virtually painless move that would do more to get PEC back on track than a million dollars of litigation………………out of 1200-1500 people against these things there must be 3 or 4 people who can dedicate two nights a month to fighting inside the rot instead of outside?

  30. This read is just like a roller coaster ride.

    I would still like to ask those from Prince Edward County’s Council to come forward and account for yourselves.

    “What purpose did it serve your community by not supporting Arran-Elderslie’s by-law, keeping in mind the following resolution that your council had already passed?”

    Please come forward if your not sure and or really do not understand the IWT issue, whether your on council or not please feel free to ask your questions before its to late.

    We were all new at this when we started to be (wind) concerned. The last thing your community needs, is to have sick people on top of all your other community problems.

    From you other’s since my last post, thanks for making things a little clearer about the people of PEC.

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