By Tom Wilkinson, Niagara News
Opponents of wind power in Niagara Region were alarmed Thursday that while they’re fighting a proposed five to 11 wind turbines near Caistor Centre, another 50 to 75 have been approved to go to tender in the Smithville area.
Cam Pritchard, the chairman of the West Lincoln Wind Action Group (WLWAG) called West Niagara News with the information.
“It’s out for tender right now,” he said. “It’s crazy, absolutely insane. We’re fighting the five out here and now they’re going to be going in around Smithville.”
The current project being undertaken will generate approximately 10 megawatts of electricity. The project that is just out for tender will generate 230 megawatts, or 23 times as much.
“Smithville is going to be surrounded by turbines, unless they put a stop to it,” he said.
Members of WLWAG have tried to raise awareness about health concerns and property value concerns surrounding the wind turbines.
There is currently a court case in Ontario where the decision is expected soon. Pritchard is hoping for a favourable result that will stop all wind turbine construction until health issues are properly addressed.
He says that people need to get involved and write their MPPs to ask them to stop development of the wind turbines until all the health issues have been properly studied and addressed.
Mayor Douglas Joyner explained that during the last council term, council members signed a moratorium to go back to the province and have another look at the Green Energy Act.
“We plan to work with the province to rectify the green energy concerns for our West Lincoln citizens,” he said.
He said the province has taken the issue out of the hands of the municipality, meaning West Lincoln council has no say as to whether the project will move forward or not.
Joyner said the next step is to educate residents on wind energy.
“It’s important to educate citizens before they go ahead and sign a contract or a lease,” he explained, adding that the contracts are through the wind energy corporations and residents need to understand the facts before they sign anything.
Council members will also be working closely with the Wind Action Group in West Lincoln.