By Lisa Gervais, Lindsay Post
MANVERS TOWNSHIP- A predominately angry mob greeted proponents of the Settlers Landing and Snowy Ridge wind parks Thursday night, finding fault with the meeting and heckling speakers.
Disturbed they had to sign in, wear name tags and that it was being videotaped, some refused to sign or wear tags and blocked their faces. Some charged through security and confronted police. They were also enraged that they had to write their questions on index cards for a moderator to read. One even asked how they knew the company hadn’t thrown the questions away and supplied their own. They also complained when the gymnasium’s seats were filled to capacity and not everyone could get in, at one point attempting to charge through side doors.
The ugly scene left one employee of the proponents shaking and in tears. One resident then approached her and said: “How do you think we feel.”
Several people left the meeting, some frustrated with the process, others because they had come as proponents, and felt harassed. MPP Rick Johnson’s representative, Mary Anna Zakula was there but had to leave about 6:30 p.m. for another meeting in Millbrook.
Ironically, a sign on the gymnasium wall encouraged anti-bullying as protestors continually interrupted the meeting. One man kept sounding off a bullhorn.
“This is not about wind turbines. This is about bad behaviour,” one person said.
“It’s a powderkeg, I’m telling you,” Ward 16 Coun. David Marsh said.
“Whatever happened to democracy and freedom of choice?” another shouted.
The proponents were booed and heckled, the crowd sang “Oh Canada” emphasizing the word “free” and one woman stood on a chair and repeatedly screamed “you haven’t talked to me.” Another started a chant of “leave our town,” someone highjacked the podium starting a question and answer session and another person told the proponents to go back to Germany.
Despite the meeting being scheduled to begin at 5 p.m., the sign-in process delayed proceedings to 6:20 p.m. when Martine Ince and Ingo Stuckmann faced the crowd. They attempted to make a presentation but soon switched to questions and answers when the crowd continually interrupted them.
Ince implored: “I am here for people who are polite and willing to listen.”
Stuckmann said the three main concerns he was hearing were effects on health, property values and sound/visual. He said Ontario’s top doctor had said there was no proof wind turbines harm health.
He said new, government reg- ulations had also tightened things up to alleviate health con- cerns. He added that the national cost of air pollution is 21,000 deaths a year, and $8 billion.
Heand Ince emphasized that it was the provincial government, not them, that had established setbacks of 550 m and 40 decibals. He admitted there were no studies on subsonic waves.
As for property values, Stuckmann said studies had revealed no impact and said there may be a way to insure houses against declining property values.
As for noise, Ince said two people can have a conservation under a wind tur- bine. He said there would be a swishing sound but that most days it would be audible up to one km away.
Residents were also skeptical when Ince and Stuckmann said the company could not identify the exact co-ordinates of the wind turbines because they had not been determined yet pending fur- ther studies. They said they would be revealed at the next meeting. firstname.lastname@example.org