By Christina Blizzard, Toronto Sun
ZURICH — It sounds like something out of a science fiction movie.
The plot? A small town, of less than 1,000 people is surrounded by hundreds of giant 150-metre-tall wind turbines that will dwarf every structure in the area.
Add to that plans for a massive underground gas storage facility, that would store natural gas under pressure beneath a residential area, including a school — and really, what could go wrong?
Just no one light a match. Local residents fear it’s a recipe for disaster.
They’re worried vibrations from the giant turbine 49-storey wind turbines could destabilize the underground gas storage “pool.”
Located close to Lake Huron, even in the dead of winter this small town is set in stunningly beautiful countryside.
“We will be completely surrounded by the turbines,” said local resident Heather Redick.
Turbines can be placed as close as 550 metres to her home, a figure she says the provincial government has plucked from the air.
Three giant projects totalling 260 turbines will affect the village. The planned turbines will have blades as wide as a Boeing 747 wingspan.
They point out that so close to a lake, ice will build up on the blades, which could fly off and hit people or livestock.
Residents feel their way of life is being sacrificed on the altar of green political correctness.
“Why is our provincial government, through the Green Energy Act, exploiting rural Ontario with questionable benefits to global climate change?” asks Doug Oesch.
“Why are they willing to sacrifice our quality of life?”
What’s more, each turbine consumes about four acres (1.6 hectares) so residents estimate between all the planned projects, about 1,000 acres (405 hectares) of prime farmland will be taken out of production.
Meanwhile, Tribute Resources in London has been offering homeowners in the area $500 for the mineral rights to their land.
That would allow them to pump natural gas underground at pressure for storage.
The unique geological formation of the rock — it’s old lake bed — provides an underground “pool” where natural gas once occurred naturally. That gas was depleted in the 1940s and the proposal now is to pump in gas from outside the area and store it — under three times the pressure of the naturally occurring gas.
Residents fear their water supply will be affected. They use well water and the project will drill through their acquifer in order to access the gas.
The “pool” is about three miles (4.8 km) in diameter and sits directly under the Catholic school. The project is the first of its kind in Huron County.
Redick says the village just doesn’t want it and they’re angry they’ve been forced to fight it.
“There is no financial benefit to the village.
“There is no tax benefit to the village.
“There won’t be any jobs created,” she said.
They’re angry that they may be forced to spend money on costly legal representation in order to fight the project at the Ontario Energy Board.
Tribute did not respond to requests for comment.
The government recently slapped a moratorium on off-shore wind turbines, saying there wasn’t enough science to say they’re safe.
What about onshore projects? Can we be sure these giant structures really won’t rob rural residents of their way of life?
This isn’t a horror flic. It’s not Children of the Corn. It’s a lovely part our province that deserves better.