MILLBROOK — Millbrook residents brought their questions and concerns about a planned wind turbine farm project to company officials Thursday at a public meeting held at the Millbrook arena.
Carl and Linda Brown, who will wake up every day and see wind turbines across the field from their home, said the meeting was pointless.
“What’s the point of this meeting if the project will go ahead anyway?” Carl Brown asked an official.
Brown, who lives on Zion 4th Line, the future site of the wind turbines, said he was told the community consultation process happened a year ago.
“The way (the company) talks about the project it’s already done. No one came and asked us our opinions. Now it’s too late.”
Energy Farming Ontario plans to build a turbine farm called Whispering Woods and will provide a number of benefits to the community, said project manager Andrea McDowell.
“There will be additional employment, revenue for municipal taxes and a source of green energy for the community,” she said.
“There’s a lot of very scary misinformation on the Internet about this and we understand that. We would like a chance to set some of the community’s fears to rest.”
The plan calls for a 10-megawatt facility to be built on privately owned lands east of Millbrook and west of South Monaghan, with up to five REpower MM92 turbines generating two megawatts each.
The site is south of County Rd. 21 and north of Zion 4th Line, with Hutchinson Dr. running roughly through its centre.
Hundreds of residents dropped in throughout the evening to ask questions and read information boards set around the room.
Millbrook resident Bob Shack said he’s worried about the location of the turbines.
“I’m really concerned with how tall these turbines will be, and I really don’t think they should be in residential areas because of potential dangers to the public,” he said. “I think green energy is very important, but this is the wrong area.”
Pat Wood, a resident of South Monaghan, said she asked company officials if they live within close proximity of a wind turbine.
“They said no,” she said. “That really bothers me.
“I don’t think this is a good and efficient way to provide hydro. This is being pushed too much and too fast. This is all just a money grab.”
Debbie Lynch, of Norwood, said Energy Farming Ontario is also proposing turbines in her area.
“I am adamantly against the turbine proposals,” she said. “Some people say wind energy is great and it’s green. It is not green. The minute you connect that wind turbine to the grid it costs every Ontario ratepayer huge money in subsidies.”
Karen Wetherup, of Millbrook, said she wants to see more studies on the health effects of wind turbines.
“We need more information,” she said. “They seem to always do the studies after the turbines are up.”
McDowell said the health and environmental effect will be addressed through the study process.
“We do a number of environmental assessments, noise assessments, and the goal is to site the turbines in such a way that the impacts are minimized and they don’t disturb anyone,” she said. “That’s really our goal.”
The turbines are not allowed to be any closer than 550 metres to a noise receptor, which includes homes, places of worship, day-care centres or hotels, she said.
“And that 550 metres goes up the more turbines you have,” she said. “That’s really a minimum, so the distance may turn out to be greater.”
Once the studies are complete and Energy Farming Ontario finalizes the turbine layout, the plan will be released to the public for review 60 days before the final public meeting, which will be around December.
NOTES: The meeting, which was held upstairs at the Millbrook arena, was not wheelchair accessible. Project manager Andrea McDowell said a second public meeting will be announced soon for those who weren’t able to attend. The meeting will be scheduled if enough people request it, she said. To request a fully accessible meeting, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org…. The meeting lasted three hours but was in a drop-in format, so an attendance estimate was not available…. Energy Farming Ontario also hosted a public meeting Thursday night in Manvers Township about two wind farm projects proposed for the Bethany area.