by Jennifer O’Meara, Durhamregion.com
CLARKE — Concerned residents are still determined to fight the winds of change which could blow two proposed wind farms into rural Clarington.
Clarington Wind Concerns, a group of citizens opposing tall wind turbines close to residential areas, is hosting a public forum on Thursday, March 3 at Clarke High School.
“There’s been a lot of development. There’s been two legal challenges (of Ontario’s Green Energy Act) before the courts,” said spokeswoman Heather Rutherford.
She said there are also many Clarington residents who are not aware of the planned wind farms and the potential impacts on residents.
The wind farms proposed for rural Clarington — one by Energy Farming called ZEP Wind Farm Ganaraska and the other by Clarington Wind Farm Leader Energy — are both in the early stages. ZEP Wind Farm Ganaraska is studying the area from Mosport Park to Kendalwood Park to see if it’s suitable for a wind farm. Clarington Wind Farm Leader Energy is considering land from Kirby to Port Granby.
For almost a year, Clarington Wind Concerns has been working to inform residents about the concerns expressed by other communities where wind turbines are currently operating. The group held two public meetings over the summer which drew several hundred concerned residents.
“We’ve been so profoundly affected by the experiences of others we’re meeting, people whose lives have really been affected (by wind turbines close to their homes),” said Ms. Rutherford.
The group is now in talks with Toronto environmental lawyer Eric Gillespie to provide legal representation for the community. Clarington Wind Concerns is hoping for help from the public for its legal fund.
To keep residents informed on what the group is working towards, Clarington Wind Concerns plans to discuss these issues at the public meeting.
Dr. Robert McMurtry will be the keynote speaker for the evening. Dr. McMurtry is on the board of directors for the Society for Wind Vigilance. He is a former dean of medicine for the University of Western Ontario, a former member of the Health Council of Canada and a special advisor to the Royal Commission under Roy Romanow on the future of health care in Canada.
Also speaking that evening will be David Colling, a dairy farmer from the Ripley area where 38 wind turbines have been in operation since December 2007. Since 2005 he has been doing electrical pollution testing — which includes the measuring of ground current — for Bio-Ag Consultants on more than 300 homes, offices and farms.
Ms. Rutherford said Durham MPP John O’Toole is expected to present his wind farm petition to the provincial legislation before the public meeting. The petition calls for the minister of the environment to amend the Green Energy Act to allow for public input and municipal approvals on industrial wind farms, and for a moratorium on industrial wind turbines until an independent study is done on the potential health and environmental impacts. Ms. Rutherford said Mr. O’Toole is expected to attend the Clarington public meeting.
The Clarington Wind Concerns public forum will be held on Thursday, March 3 at 7 p.m. at Clarke High School. Doors will open at 6:45 p.m. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.