Ontario’s energy landscape

By Bill Hallatt, Sault Star

When Ontario’s Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure was looking for public input last fall on its Long-Term Energy Plan, its website heralded the coming of Ontario’s new energy landscape. Graphics featured a background image of endless fields of wind turbines as a vision of the future. Clearly, Ontario’s landscapes are about to change and those of Lake Superior’s Heritage Coast are no exception.

If you are familiar with the paintings of Canada’s Group of Seven artists, you will recognize many of the vistas along the coast of Lake Superior that can still be viewed as they were nearly a century ago. The work of the Group of Seven gave Canadians a vision of Canada and established a connection from our collective hearts to the land we share.

Now, the coastal highlands surrounding Lake Superior have been targeted for extensive wind turbine development. The proposed DP Energy Bow Lake project at Montreal River is an example and is one of the next projects on the drawing board.

These turbines will be larger and more powerful than the Prince Township turbines built four years ago near Sault Ste. Marie. At 99.5 meters, the towers alone are taller than the Statue of Liberty in New York and 50% taller when you add the rotor. Put them atop headlands rising 300 meters above the lake surface (more than the height of Toronto’s largest skyscraper) and there’s little doubt they will dominate the landscape.

The rotors have a diameter of 101 meters. When they spin at their full generating capacity at 16 rpm, the tip speed of the blades is 290 kilometres per hour. Given that birds are killed each year when they fly into stationary objects, such as the windows of skyscrapers, the outcome of hitting a moving turbine blade at any speed can’t be good. If you can visualize a disc-shaped vertical wall in the air, each single turbine represents a potentially lethal 1.98-acre-sized trap. Multiply that by 36 turbines and you have a vertical wall of more than 71 acres for this one project alone.

Local businesses need to ask how wind turbines will affect the tourist industry once our wilderness landscape becomes an energy landscape. No economic impact study has been done to determine the effect of turbines on the attractiveness of the area for vacationers and tourists, or for that matter, seasonal and permanent residents. No one knows if we will be trading the local tourist economy for a stake in the new green energy economy.

DP Energy will host an open house at the Water Tower Inn in the Sault on Thursday, April 28 from 5 to 8 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend to learn more and to provide feedback on the project.

The grassroots organization Save Ontario’s Algoma Region will also host a concurrent information session to highlight concerns and will include a visual presentation showing how the turbines will look in the landscape.

Bill Hallatt, Batchawana, Ont.

9 thoughts on “Ontario’s energy landscape

  1. In the near future, people will be looking for the areas of Ontario that have been left untouched. Those areas with turbines will have far less tourists.

    Remember, when/if 10,000 turbines scar the Ontario landscape they will no longer be a so called tourist attraction. Just an ugly industrial park.

  2. When they industrialize the Lake Superior Coast and the Algoma Highlands with IWTs, just watch the tourism industry fold like a cheap suitcase. Many of the visitors that ride the Agawa Canyon tour train are from Europe, mostly from Germany.
    If anybody thinks these generally well-heeled people are going to spend the big bucks to come here to see hundreds of wind turbines infesting the most scenic part of Ontario, think again … they can see all that crap without leaving their own country.
    Prediction: When all of the above comes to pass, none of the proponents will admit that the whole exercise was a mistake. The blame game will begin but there will be nobody left to take the heat. The wind companies will be out of business, the local politicians will be long gone, the First Nations will say Whitey did it to them again, and on it goes.
    Better take a long, good look at those Group of Seven paintings, it may be the only good scenery left to see.

  3. I know , the problem is you paid for studies that set out a policy of action in regards to opposition.
    The gov’t and wind companies are following these policies to the letter.
    They already know people will talk about it , some will come to meetings and complain. Some will orgainze groups that may picket and call out. Some will also try the courts . That being the case gov’t uses your money to defend itself while you go broke paying legal fees in an Ontario court. Who controls them?
    The government and wind developers just keep forging ahead.
    They know the probability of people giving up is high.
    And most people to date aren’t prepared to stand and fight as the natives do.
    You can win in the court of public opinion…that can work.
    The issues have to be universal..not health , bats , birds , property values.
    But common sense money issues.
    You have to remember you have Suzuki propaganda in public schools that is being used by educators on your children.
    People are already brainwashed thinking wind energy is green.
    You have to work from the ground up and show the corruption and how people are being misled.

  4. Ernest, thank you. Unfortunately we are preaching to ourselves. The economic message needs to get to the people of the big cities where the financial effect will be felt. Perhaps the electricity bills for the month of May will help us in our fight for common sense to prevail. Talk to everyone you know in the Golden Horseshoe and other population centres. We have the facts. They still have no clue.

  5. And speaking of landscapes …

    Recent story in the news:
    Ontario Legislature Silhouette in Danger, Critics Warn. “The iconic silhouette of the Queen’s Park legislature may soon be overshadowed by rising condo towers, activists warn, unless the province steps in to curtail development in the area.
    The Premier can step in and save the historic view of the Ontario Legislature , but so far he is choosing not to”

    What has this got to do with Industrial Wind Turbines?

    Simple: It would be extremely difficult for McGuinty to save this part of Toronto’s historical skyline (as he damn well should) while continuing to deface rural landscapes around the province. The double standard would be all too obvious.

    Another very unfortunate spin-off effect of the Green Energy Act …

  6. JayDee…doing that already…also going after Liberal ridings, both federal and provincial……….I don’t think Mercer is as funny anymore. If I had a CBC employee walk into my house they’d be out my front door in a heart beat and I may open it first.

  7. Ernest,

    Correct. Most political issues revolve around economics/money as far as most voters are concerned.

    The “court” of public opinion can hand out some very severe punishment to people who harm others. Often more punishment than courts of law can do.

  8. Heres a scary picture of our landscapes in Ontario, draw a straight line from tip to tip of an IWT, draw some eyelashes around the hub, and what have you got??? a big eye in the sky, rather odd dont you think!!!!! or is it just weird coincidence, curse them all

  9. Its a far cry from the group of sevens vision of our landscapes, or mine

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