MNR to limit offshore wind farms?

By Jonathan Sher     The London Free Press

Ontario’s Natural Resources Ministry is considering constraints on offshore wind farms but it’s not clear the limits will appease a wave of protest from those living along Lake Huron.

The ministry published a draft policy this week that, if adopted, might exclude from development areas in the lake where there are:

  • boating lanes
  • core commercial fishing
  • sensitive ecology
  • important recreational uses
  • cultural heritage
  • natural-gas activity

There also may be limits on development in inland lakes and other water bodies.

The proposed limits drew a quick and co-ordinated response from Southwestern Ontario MPPs who’ve been criticized by constituents for doing little to create safeguards against land-based and offshore wind turbines.

Carol Mitchell of Huron-Bruce and Pat Hoy of Chatham-Kent-Essex both issued releases saying, “These tough new regulations would make sure our drinking water and the sensitive Lake Huron environment are protected.”

They were joined by a third Liberal MPP, Bruce Crozier of Essex, who wrote, “This is yet another clear sign that the government has listened to the residents of my riding and I encourage the public to continue (making) their views known by commenting on this proposal.”

His claim might anger residents in Huron County, who say their pleas have long fallen on deaf ears.

The head of a citizens’ group called Huron-Kinloss Against Lakeside Turbines (HALT) could barely contain her anger when asked about how the Liberal government had responded to complaints and fears over turbines that can be placed as close as 550 metres from farm homes.

“Dammit. People matter, too — we are getting sick out here,” said Cheryl Murray.

Still, she said, she was relieved the Natural Resources Ministry had proposed some limitations on offshore turbines. She encouraged residents and cottagers to e-mail and phone the ministry to make sure it follows through with tough rules.

“They need to submit comments,” she said.

Those who want to make comments must do so by Oct. 4 by phoning the ministry at (705) 755-1499 or by going online to, typing in the registration number of 011-0907 and clicking on the submit button.

Meanwhile, a Tuesday deadline for public comments is approaching for a proposal by the Environment Ministry to forbid wind-farm development within 5 kilometres of shore.

Mitchell, who is also Ontario’s agriculture minister, has asked the Environment Ministry to extend that deadline. Many residents just learned of the proposal in the last week or two.

Three companies whose identities the Ontario government hasn’t disclosed have applied to build 12 wind farms in Lake Huron, one as close to shore as 50 metres, the hoped-for development and uncertainty fueling anger among cottagers and residents who fear turbines.

2 thoughts on “MNR to limit offshore wind farms?

  1. “Meanwhile, a Tuesday deadline for public comments is approaching for a proposal by the Environment Ministry to forbid wind-farm development within 5 kilometres of shore.”

    Back in June when the 5 kilometer offshore setback proposal was issued for comments…

    “Duguid said the five kilometres setback is in line with other North American jurisdictions.

    “We looked at a number of different priorities,” he said. “We wanted something that was in synch with other jurisdictions in the Great Lakes.”

    Similar setbacks are in place in Ohio, New York and Michigan.”

    Yet according to the London Free Press…

    “Michigan, too, is considering rules for offshore turbines, but its proposed buffer is 6 miles, or nearly 10 km.”

    Wonder where DoNoGood gets his figures?
    Or do they just make them up!

  2. The government has been making up rules and telling lies all along. Politicians lie because some people will believe and what is the worst to happen if the truth was printed? There is no downside to telling lies. The government has access to a lot of money but getting it to flow where they want is not easy. A lot of planning, manipulation and effort are needed and wind development provides an amazing tool to give them blank cheques that are above questioning with little after taste like e-health. Telling lies is part of the process. Any government giving full support to wind developments have no interest in wind power but power over our money.

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