Cottagers Oppose Wind Turbines

Joni Baechler

Lake Huron cottagers from Goderich to Kincardine fear their famed sunsets and tourism-based economies will be overshadowed by energy companies looking to build wind turbines offshore.

By JONATHAN SHER, London Free Press

Residents are organizing to fight an enemy whose face and plans aren’t entirely clear: Bureaucrats at Queen’s Park say they’ve received 12 applications to build offshore wind farms, but won’t disclose which companies made the proposals, where exactly the turbines would be located or how big the operations might be.

The potential size of the operations is apparent in a 2008 report prepared by an energy company for the Ontario Power Authority (OPA), an agency tasked by the province with finding new sources of energy.

The report found 20 sites in the lakes around Ontario, some in Lake Huron, that could support 160 turbines each, as well as more than 40 smaller sites. “They’re just shoving this stuff down our throats,” said Ross Klopp, a Collingwood resident with a cottage on Bruce Beach, south of Kincardine. Ontario’s Environment Ministry has proposed rules for offshore turbines and given citizens and companies until Aug. 24 to respond.

“Nobody is telling anybody anything and the deadline is fast approaching,” said Cam Spooner of Arva who has a cottage with a view of the lake south of Kincardine.

Spooner and Klopp are among cottagers who only learned in recent weeks that the Environment Ministry in June proposed rules for wind turbines that would include a five-km buffer between development and the shoreline.

The turbines would be part of a broader effort by Ontario’s Liberal government to seek alternative sources of energy to replace closing coal-fired plants — the OPA has set a target of using wind to generate 15% of the province’s energy needs.

Many wind farms have already been built on land and there’s a proposal for a $1.1-billion operation — Ontario’s largest — in Lambton and Huron counties. As land for turbines is claimed, often with local opposition, the potential market for offshore turbines, which are more costly, grows.

Along the Huron shore, a citizens’ group called Huron-Kinloss Against Lakeside Turbines — HALT, for short — says its membership has swelled by 100 in just the past few days.

Those concerned include London Coun. Joni Baechler, who has a cottage south of Kincardine.

Baechler was able to get from the ministry website a map that showed where some proposed wind farms might go, some less than one km from shore, but the map is no longer on the website.

The map’s removal and the lack of details lend the appearance of a government pushing ahead without citizen input, she said.

“It feels more like public relations than community consultation,” she said.

Baechler said a five-km buffer isn’t enough, noting she can see from the beach to the Bruce Nuclear complex, perhaps 30 km away.

Klopp says he wrote of his concerns to Huron-Bruce MPP Carol Mitchell, whose riding includes the affected Huron shoreline, but received what appeared to be a form letter praising green energy but ignoring local concerns.

Mitchell, who doubles as Ontario’s agriculture minister, couldn’t respond Tuesday to Free Press questions because she was at a conference, an aide said.

Cottagers outlined concerns beyond the threat to beautiful vistas and tourism:

  •  Lakefront property values will plummet and those who live inland will have to pay a much greater share of property taxes.
  • The wind turbines, which typically stand 150 metres high to the tip of their blades, will disrupt boating and require horns or lights that will disturb those who live along the shore.
  • Migratory birds will be threatened.
  • The only turbines used offshore were designed for salt water areas in Europe, not fresh water lakes where ice build-up is substantial.

Told of concerns, a spokesperson for another ministry involved — Natural Resources — responded.

“Expanding Ontario’s clean and renewable sources of energy is key to the government’s plan to phase out coal fire generations, combat climate change and create a stronger, greener economy,” ministry spokesperson Jolanta Kowalski wrote.

Private operators would have to pay the Ontario government to create offshore operations since the lake is Crown property, she said.

Questions about public input, Kowalski referred to the Environment Ministry, whose officials couldn’t be reached late Tuesday.

9 thoughts on “Cottagers Oppose Wind Turbines

  1. We need to worry about the impact of wind turbines on your sunsets…You can’t get used to the flicker vertigo created from the blades of the wind turbines…

  2. “Expanding Ontario’s clean and renewable sources of energy is key to the government’s plan to phase out coal fire generations, combat climate change and create a stronger, greener economy,” ministry spokesperson Jolanta Kowalski wrote.


  3. “Klopp says he wrote of his concerns to Huron-Bruce MPP Carol Mitchell, whose riding includes the affected Huron shoreline, but received what appeared to be a form letter praising green energy but ignoring local concerns.”
    Mitchell has ignored, or belittled, local comcerns about industrial wind turbines since her election. It is a gross slap in the face to food producing farmers, to see McGuinty appoint her as Agriculture Minister. Her tenure may be short lived, as she has to run again almost 1 year from now.

  4. Liberal, Tory same old story…Poor Ontario, Canada

    What is truly mind boggling is that people still think the liberals and conservatives are different. Wake up folks. Just like in the USA, the 2 parties together have created this financial mess that the provinces, states and countries are in.

    Liberal McGuinty has lied several times; “informed” thinking people know this. This is what all politicians do; lies, spin, talking points…they’ve been doing it for decades. All the tax increases, green fees, user fees, health fees… Where has all the money gone? The government is collecting more money then ever, yet they are going further and further into debt. Again, where has all the money gone? Well lets take a look at the some of the waste that’s costing Ontario taxpayers billions yearly and I’m not talking about any essential services. Expensive cap and trade agreement being negotiated with Quebec, expensive Social engineering programs like bilingualism, multiculturalism, Quebec style daycare, excessive hiring in all departments, new departments/programs yearly, million dollar salaries going to hospital and Hydro officials…Unless these programs/salaries are cut, repealed, eliminated, things will not change in Ontario. We will continue to go further and further into debt. Most of these programs began under previous administrations, Liberal Peterson and NDP Rae and for some strange reason the “Conservatives” have not repealed or cut back these programs, departments and salaries. Now why is that,mmm? Unless someone cuts these wasteful, expensive Quebec style, big government programs the province can not get out of debt. That’s a fact! Just look to Greece and Quebec, this is where Ontario and Canada is headed. This is what no one in government is telling you. The future is looking bright, isn’t it now?

    Liberal, Tory same old story. High taxes, new green fees, user fees, health care fees, HST, high government salaries, social engineering – expensive forced bilingual and multicultural policies (only outside Quebec of course), greedy unions controlling just about everything, new programs and more government departments yearly, more government empire building, the size and growth of government is out of control and has been for decades! All current political parties have created this mess that Ontario is now in and all are clueless as to how to get us out of debt and back on good financial footing. All you hear daily from government is more spin, lies…blah, blah, blah, all bloody clueless. Informed, thinking people know this.

    We need a new party and a new leader NOW. Do you care about the debt, the mess you are leaving your children and grandchildren? Think long and hard about that! Can we really afford 4 more years of spin, lies, government propaganda, and more debt?

  5. Anthony:

    Does that mean that you will run?

    How may I support you?

  6. I bet if the true figures on how much is doled out to NGO”s (McGuinty’s lapdog Green Army) I would suggest that if we stopped every penny from being spent right this second we would be out of deficit within 2 years……………..

  7. Quixote, that may be true but we also need to stop this rot in other areas too:

    “Eleanor Clitheroe, the ousted CEO of Hydro One who is seeking an increase in her hefty government pension, is a sole breadwinner supporting ailing relatives, including her husband, her lawyer says.

    Clitheroe, now an Anglican priest, is fighting the provincial government in Ontario’s Court of Appeal. The province believes her monthly pension should be $25,637.08 but Clitheroe, who made $2.2 million in 2001 in her final full year with Hydro One, is seeking $33,644.21 a month”

    Nice pension eh?–clitheroe-supporting-ailing-relatives-lawyer-says

  8. Yikes!…………I sure hope my increase in Hydro goes to a good cause cause like this one………….after all, how can one live comfortably on only 2.2 million a year?

  9. Well now you see. She made $2.2 million as a salary in 2001.

    Her current pension is only $307,644.96/year but honestly, how could anybody live on that????? How would she ever pay her hydro bills without an additional increase of $96,085.56/year?

    Geesh… I wish I had a 1/2 of her current pension as a salary. I’d feel like I had died and gone to heaven. These people are absolutely delusional feeling we Ontarians owe them their grandiose living style. Oh, this sense of entitlement of theirs is absolutely immoral.

    And then there’s McLyingMcSquinty and Do-NO-guid, expecting the likes of us to conserve!!!! Kick all these bums out!

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