Mountains are sacred places

Thunder Bay will receive between $200,000 and $275,000 annually from Horizon Wind Inc. in lease payments.  In other words for about $2.75 per resident annually, Councillors Foulds, McKinnon, Giertuga, Tuchenhagen, Johnson and Angus along with Mayor Peterson have voted to permanently scar the Nor’Westers.

by James Murray,
THUNDER BAY – “I won’t duck and cover.” That was the message from Current River Councillor Andew Foulds on Tuesday night as he spoke against a motion from Councillor Frank Pullia to defer a decision on the Horizon Wind Inc. lease agreement.

Foulds said that because he supports “green energy” he will support this project as “part of the package”. Foulds was determined that the timeline set by Council had to be followed.

The problem for Council last night is that once again it is looking like decisions were made without all the facts being on the table to allow for the best possible decision making.

One of the telling moments at last night’s special Council Meeting was when the City Solicitor could not say if the city’s income on this project is based on net or gross profit. Councillor Pullia was trying to get that information, but the Committee of a Whole Chair Mark Bentz appeared at times less willing to allow Pullia the flexibility to get answers.

One might have thought Foulds, along with the other Councillors who voted in favour of this project, would want to know that important piece of information.

Thunder Bay will receive between $200,000 and $275,000 annually from Horizon Wind Inc. in lease payments.

In other words for about $2.75 per resident annually, Councillors Foulds, McKinnon, Giertuga, Tuchenhagen, Johnson and Angus along with Mayor Peterson have voted to permanently scar the Nor’Westers.

Imagine your tax bill can drop by $2.75 annually as a result of this decision.

“Mountains are sacred places”, to quote Chief John Snow, a long time Stoney Chief from Alberta. I have always had a special place in my heart for mountains, I have climbed many, and have lost friends in climbing accidents.

To watch in today’s world where environmentalists and others talk about taking nothing but pictures, and making sure even our footprints left behind are small, the idea of leaving permanent scars atop the Nor’Westers is one I simply cannot, and will not ever understand.

There are certainly other places that those wind turbines could go.

What was also surprising is that Councillor Angus, who also voted for the Horizon deal, didn’t seem to care about the income the city will receive. It was more of a “damn the facts, full speed ahead” approach to get the issue behind them.

Angus also appears to have forgotten the NOMA fight for a Northwestern Ontario power rate of “$45 all in”. Of course so too has Mayor Peterson who fought for that rate to save the forestry sector.

Angus appeared to figure that rather than a civic issue, it should be solely a provincial issue with the suggestion that lobbying the province might stop the project.

Councillors voting for this project have given away the power they had to command a stronger seat at the bargaining table, and now hope that someone else takes the blame.

Citizens who were appearing before Council raised important points that caused Councillor Aldo Ruberto to thank the groups for helping to educate them on the scope of the issues. Ruberto stated that when this deal first came to Council in 2006 none of the potential problems were raised.

One issue completely ignored by Councillors at last night’s meeting were comments that liability insurance issues may cause problems for Loch Lomond Ski Area. There are three insurance companies which offer liability coverage for ski resorts, all three according to what Council was told are not willing to insure the ski resort if the wind turbines are located where they will be placed.

That issue didn’t seem to matter to Councillors in moving the vote forward.

What appears certain from last night will be that voters in Neebing now have more incentive than ever to get out to the polls and vote. There is an old political adage that says people never vote a new government in, they vote out the old one.

One thing is certain; chances are the Councillors-at-Large who supported the Wind Farm in Neebing are going to be able to count their votes in that ward in one heck of a hurry.

Likely one day, long after some of these Councillors who voted for the Wind Turbines atop the Nor’Westers have left political life, they might realize that their political and personal legacy will be three hundred foot tall monuments to thoughtless decision making.

8 thoughts on “Mountains are sacred places

  1. To make an important decision like this just days ahead of an election smacks of “desperation” for some reason that won’t become apparent until the New Council takes power.

    Of course I wouldn’t even “suggest” that the Councilors who “approved” this project would receive any recompense from any outside sources for their uninformed decision-making, but “why” they rushed this through will definitely have an answer in a short period of time AFTER they have been booted to the curb and the facts become public?

  2. The City of Thunder Bay will get ~ $4 – 5.5 million over ~20 years.

    How much will it cost to remove the wind turbines from City owned land in the event Horizon Wind goes bankrupt ot is too insolvent to removed them from City property before or at the end of the lease?

    Was or were there any demolition/savlvage estimates done to determined the cost of removal and toxic waste removal for the wind turbines prior to signing a contract/lease with Horizon Wind?

    Not to have estimated the cost of removal of the turbines from City owned land is NOT SMART business. Any smart business person would have determined the cost/risk of removal of wind turbines before signing a contract/lease with any company.

    People can phone the mayor’s office and their councilors to find out if removal costs were determined prior to signing the contract/lease with HorizonWind.

    Does the council know or not know how much the dollar risk amout is for the people of Thunder Bay to be stuck with?

    The estimated dollar risk amount is the difference between what the City gets over ~20 years from Horizon Wind and the cost of removal of the turbines before or at the end of the contract/lease.

  3. Mountains are sacred. So are bats, birds and butterflies. And people, especially children.

    If you have seen the video of the Manvers “public meeting”, you will know that, to Big Wind developers, nothing is sacred.

  4. Guaranteed there have been no discussion on Decommissioning costs!

    Estimates start at around $300,000 in today’s dollars per turbine…….in 20 years it would be more like a million!

    This doesn’t even address the 65 foot wide 25 foot deep concrete footings which will remain until………………………forever?

    This is such a massive environmental disaster that one can’t even comprehend how anyone who is even a Grade 6 student couldn’t see everything about it should scream the word; “DISASTER!”

  5. “There are certainly other places that those wind turbines could go.”

    Why? For what purpose? To what end? So we can build more monuments to our stupidity?

    It matters not where an IWT is put. It is equally useless.

    Obviously the FIRST prerequisite for elected office is to take complete leave of one’s senses! Had any of the councilors who supported the motion wanted to know the facts, an hour on the internet would have given them more info then they ever got (or will ever get) from the wind company.

    The day of reckoning is coming. Not from a likely change in government but rather from multiple rulings from judges! Unlike politicians, courts don’t take kindly to perjury and outright lies!

    My advice: Get off the Ontario grid if you can or leave the Province , you know, like our economy is…

    I just wonder how much all this will cost us in the end…

    Sean Holt.

  6. Help thy Neighbour! The new motto of Green Energy — Ontario Style.

    “Foulds said that because he supports “green energy” he will support this project as “part of the package”. Foulds was determined that the timeline set by Council had to be followed.”

    Well then what is being done with this precious renewable energy?

    “So, a strong argument can be made that all wind is sent south, not used domestically.”


    “In 2008, Canada was the world’s 4th largest exporter of electricity. We sit next door to the world’s largest electricity consumer which has a strong and growing appetite for green power. In fact, 25 American states now require a certain
    portion of their electricity to come from enewable sources.

    These initial efforts will lead to the installation of 61,000 MW of new renewable energy generating capacity. Canada enjoys a long history of energy and electricity trade with the Americans and there are great opportunities to build on this through wind exports. For example, Canada’s Atlantic
    provinces have tremendous wind resources but a relatively small demand for electricity. Across the border, however, in the north eastern United States, there is a huge demand for electricity that will be difficult to meet from local renewable
    sources. Wind power from Atlantic Canada can fill this gap and there are similar opportunities in other parts of Canada as well.”

    – CanWEA Windvision Report

  8. Yup…

    The Danes are tickled pink at paying the highest electricity prices in the EU so Norway, Sweden and
    Germany can get the Danes wind power for free… Guess that’s why Danish wind capacity has remained flat or has decreased slightly since 2003. Wasn’t that the year Dummy McGullible came to power in Ontario?

    I guess we can expect the same here for the same reason!

    It has been said that “even if the Liberals were led by a fence post they could still get elected”

    Having spent half my life in agriculture I can assure you, a better example of a fence post has never been seen then Dalton McGuinty!

    Now we just need to plant him deep and nail on some barbed wire!

    Although unlikely, you gotta admit, it is a nice image though eh?

    Photoshop anyone?

    Sean Holt.

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