Wind energy supporters and objectors storm council meeting

Mark Davis

by MARY GOLEM, QMI Agency  Owen Sound Sun Times

A supporter of the proposed Arran Wind Energy Project wants Arran-Elderslie’s deputy mayor removed from all future council discussions regarding wind energy.

Bruce Ransome, a Kincardine-area farmer and Arran-Elderslie landowner, said Mark Davis’ “anti-wind bias” prevents him from being an effective decision maker for all ratepayers. Davis has been leading council’s fight to keep turbines out of the municipality.

Ransome told about 60 people who crammed into Arran-Elderslie’s council chambers Monday morning – the majority of them sporting “Stop the wind turbines” buttons – that if the municipality’s long-standing position to keep turbines out of Arran-Elderslie is successful, “then landowners and others in the municipality who support wind energy should be compensated 50 per cent of the amount of the money they will lose” because of that decision.  However, later in the meeting, Davis and the rest of council were praised for their work and anti-wind position.

Keith Stelling, an Arran Lake resident and long-time opponent of wind energy, told council he’s “really proud of our councillors”, saying “Arran-Elderslie was the first one to speak up against the Green Energy Act and the provincial government. We see honesty and truth coming out in your wind energy discussions, which isn’t always the case with power point presentations.”

Stelling’s comments, and a two-page letter he read to council outlining results of studies about adverse health issues resulting from the low frequency noise emitted by the turbines and suggestions that turbines have setbacks from 1 to 4.3 km from any residences, drew loud applause from those in attendance.

Earlier in the meeting, Charles (Chuck) Edey, president of Leader Resources Services Corp. and members of his team – communications manager Heather Boa and general manager Eric Monrad – updated members of council on the Arran Wind Energy Project in a power point presentation.

Edey, who admitted being nervous in making the presentation, told council a “significant number of landowners in Arran-Elderslie” support the proposed 115 mega-watt project in the municipality, saying over 35,000 acres of land is already under option for the Arran project, near Burgoyne, and the Skyway 127 project near Port Elgin. A maximum of 212 acres, for 36 sites, “is all that’s on the list for Arran-Elderslie.”

About a dozen Arran Wind Energy Project supporters were at Monday’s meeting. Edey stressed their attendance at the meeting “was their choice. They were not asked to come.”

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“Open dialogue is the best way to move the project forward,” Edey said, adding “in some cases, there’s limited understanding of what’s going on.”

Edey said further fieldwork – required as part of the renewable energy approval process needed before the project can continue – will occur this spring, followed by public meetings to present the information in the fall.

“It will be the first quarter of 2012 before there’s a shovel in the ground.”

According to Edey, the 46 turbines which will make up the Arran Wind Energy Project, will bring in $96,200 in building permit revenue for Arran-Elderslie, along with $149,200 in annual taxes, an estimated $920,000 to landowners (leases) and $740,000 to Arran-Elderslie for the first 20 years in assessment. “The first year alone (the project) will provide revenue of $1 million,” Edey said, adding it would take 70 new homes in the municipality “to provide a similar tax base.”

Leader’s communications manager Heather Boa told those in attendance “more and more landowners are asking for more information . . . the silent majority is starting to speak,” she said, her comments sparking laughter from the audience. New signs, supporting wind power, “will soon start appearing in the area”, Edey said, at the request of local landowners.

Ransome says the proposed project will net each landowner who signs a lease for one or more turbines on their property an average of $20,000 per turbine annually for 20 years.

“The loss of revenue, including taxes, you should compensate us for,” Ransome told council, adding Davis “should step aside” during council’s wind energy discussions, claiming Davis “has too close of an association with anti-wind groups which compromises your ability to be impartial. Your dislike for turbines is well known,” Ransome said to Davis, adding his comments were “business, not personal.”

But Ransome’s comments drew an angry response from most in attendance. “He was elected … that’s democracy” one wind opponent yelled, before Mayor Paul Eagleson was forced to call the meeting to order.

“If I were to agree with you,” Davis told Ransome, “all that would prove is that two of us are wrong.”

Council presented Edey with a list of 15 questions it wants Leader Resources Services Corp. to answer, in writing, within 30 days.

Concerns raised in the questions range from the effect of turbines on surrounding properties, the health, safety and well-being of residents and future decommissioning and removal of the turbines to a request for the names of Arran-Elderslie residents who support the Arran Wind Project, questions about remuneration paid and restrictions placed on landowners.

Edey told council they would receive a written response to their questions.

9 thoughts on “Wind energy supporters and objectors storm council meeting

  1. “Then landowners and others in the municipality who support wind energy should be compensated 50 per cent of the amount of the money they will lose.”
    Then those situated near Wind Turbines should be compensated for the nights of sleep the will lose. How does one compensate for the loss of a neighbours health?

  2. I have yet to hear of any landowner will to share revenue with his suffering non-participatory Turbine project neighbours. How about those neighbours that have no turbines on their land because their land was not suitable, but need to suffer the negatives of their neighbours IWT’s? Where is their compensation?

    We now witness the disintegration of communities!

  3. Greed greed greed, all for the love of money. They do not care about the neighbours health and welfare just the cheque in the mail. These evil corporations have created a nightmare for rural Ontario. In the end we will all pay for it and I hope these jerks that allowed them on there farms will end up losing big time in the long run and I cannot give a dam anymore, they were warned and if money is more important to them then neighbours. They the property owners of IWT are not worthy of sympathy,there is enough witnesses out there that these things are a problem. What good is it when your community is all screwed up and neighbours fight with neighbours when before you would help them out and look out for each other this will be all lost.

  4. The people whose property values will go down because on wind turbines should be compensated by the neighbours who put them up, not only on lose property values but the loss of good health. They are an eyesore and Ontario does not need them.
    The green energy act is a scam, no one can afford to pay those hydro rates. We could have bought hydro from Manitoba or Quebec and would only be paying 6 cents a k

  5. Wind turbines are very important to the world’s eco-nuts as they are a symbol of their power that they can force their views onto the world whether or not the people of any particular country want them or not.

    The excuse they use is making planet earth more sustainable. These eco-nuts have gone from country to country forcing the adoption of wind turbines as part of their global agenda.

  6. I was at that meeting. If there were a dozen landowners there , there were 4 dozen people there who don’t want their health, homes and environment desecrated. No one STORMED anything. We are pro health and pro well-being. All of us there and at every other meeting and gathering and all that is involved with this would rather have our pre-turbine lives back but we are forced to defend our health and homes! On top of that, every step of the way, we are labelled in the media as anti, activiist, storming, fear mongering, shouting, etc.
    Chuck Edey and the landowner who stood up after Chuck push money, money, money, very important to think about the money, money, money.
    They aren’t called veiled threateners, anti health and well-being, money mongerers or liars by the press.
    Gee, I wonder why we seem so angry sometimes.

  7. More proof that landowners are not doing this because of the environment, but for the money and the neighbours can go hang. Greed energy

  8. Hey, to the landowners who are feeding the industry:

    Good luck selling your property when it comes time. Get a quote on costs to decomission, look at yourself in the mirror and then repent.

    Joe, good comment. So true.

  9. Well, you can say one thing about the arrival of the wind boys in an area. They sure separate the wheat from the chaff in a community. I would never have dreamed that so many people would sell their neighbours down the river for a few thousand dollars a year.

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