By Paul Morden, The Sarnia Observer
Building wind turbines close to the Lake Huron shoreline will hurt tourism, says the mayor of Lambton Shores.
A standing committee of Lambton County council backed Gord Minielly’s request Thursday for a staff report on the potential impact of off shore wind turbines.
Ontario proposed rules for offshore wind turbines in June that included a five kilometre buffer zone.
Three companies have submitted 12 off shore applications Lake Huron sites as near as 50 metres from shore, and as far as 30 kilometres offshore, the Ministry of Natural Resources says.
Minielly said Lambton Shores staff are also preparing a report on wind turbines.
“We don’t want them any where near the shore,” he said. “We want them far enough that they’re not going to be interfering with the beauty of the sunsets that we have.”
Whenever his municipality considers taking any action near the lakeshore residents say they don’t want anything done that interferes with their view of the lake and sunsets.
“If you had something winding around in the red sun, I don’t think it would help. So I don’t think it’s a positive thing. I don’t really thing they’re needed.”
Michigan is considering rules for offshore turbines and has proposed a buffer zone of six miles, or nearly 10 km.
“At six miles the acceptance rate becomes significantly greater,” said John Sarver, who heads Michigan’s Wind Working Group for its energy department.
Ask what distance he would like to see between the beach and off shore turbines, Minielly said they shouldn’t visible from shore.
The Ontario Power Authority has set a target of using wind to generate 15% of the province’s energy needs.
Currently, Lambton County’s only onshore wind turbines are located in Lambton Shores, but Minielly said he isn’t a fan of the province’s wind energy approach.
“The reality is they should have built another nuclear plant for base load and used (natural) gas for peaking, and the hell with the solar and the wind turbines,” he said.
“I think they’re just a waste of money.”