Wilkinson says he will meet with some of the affected families in Amaranth

By WES KELLER Freelance Reporter (Orangeville Citizen)

According to the Hansard record of May 5, Ms. Jones said in part: “you seem to believe that every problem resulting in the siting of industrial turbines will be solved by the companies who own them.

“That certainly explains why you’ve been ignoring the Whitworth and Kidd families in my riding since 2006. They have been forced out of their homes at the recommendation of their doctor, who used to be a medical officer of health, because of the constant noise and electrical pollution produced by the substation. Minister, after five years, isn’t it time for you to act?”

As had been expected as a result of his victory speech May 2, newly reelected Dufferin-Caledon MP David Tilson has called for a federal environmental assessment of the proposed Melancthon quarry on the basis, among other statutes, of the federal Fisheries Act.

At the victory speech, Mr. Tilson described the quarry as one of the issues facing him. He also mentioned wind turbines as another concern facing his constituents in Dufferin, although, unlike the implications of the quarry’s location, the turbines would be entirely within the purview of the province.

But, in the meantime, MPP Sylvia Jones has called for provincial action on the Melancthon wind farm’s transformer substation particularly, and Amaranth Mayor Don MacIver has petitioned the minister of environment to protect the “health and wealth” of residents in respect of wind farms generally.
In a news release this week, Mr. Tilson said: “The level of concern expressed to me by residents(about the quarry) is very significant. I felt it was necessary and appropriate” to ask Environment Minister Peter Kent to look at this case.

“If approved, this would be the largest quarry in Canada and would take up a significant chunk of prime farmland in Melancthon. It needs to be looked at from all angles.”

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act contains a number of triggers that can cause an environmental assessment to be undertaken. Among them are regulations surrounding freshwater fisheries, which could possibly include the tributary of the Pine River that flows through the site.

Mr. Tilson cites the David Suzuki Foundation’s response to Highland’s Stantec study in support of a need for an assessment under the Fisheries Act. Mr. Suzuki said a potential exists “for harmful alterations, disruptions or destruction of fish habitat” in a Pine River tributary.

He also refers in his news release to Highland’s prospective purchase of the rail corridor as triggering the need for an assessment under the Railway Safety Act, the Railway Relocation and Crossing Act, the Canada Transportation Act, the Fisheries Act and the Navigable Waters Protection Act but doesn’t amplify how each of those would apply.

At Queen’s Park, meantime, Environment Minister John Wilkinson has chided Ms. Jones for not supporting the Green Energy Act but said he would meet with her and the families with health complaints at the substation. He was responding to her charge that his ministry had heard the complaints for five years but had done nothing.

According to the Hansard record of May 5, Ms. Jones said in part: “you seem to believe that every problem resulting in the siting of industrial turbines will be solved by the companies who own them.

“That certainly explains why you’ve been ignoring the Whitworth and Kidd families in my riding since 2006. They have been forced out of their homes at the recommendation of their doctor, who used to be a medical officer of health, because of the constant noise and electrical pollution produced by the substation. Minister, after five years, isn’t it time for you to act?”

Mr. Wilkinson responded: “The reason the Ministry of the Environment is open 365 days a year, 24/7, is that people, if they feel that there is some detriment to their health due to an environmental issue, can call us. That’s exactly why people call us. I want to say to the member that all the wind turbines that are up in the province are based on the old rules, and all of them are expected and required by law to comply. So when people complain, we take that very seriously and we investigate.

“One of the powers that we have at the Ministry of the Environment is the fact that they cannot operate without our approval. So when we call a company and say that we have a concern, they take action. We expect them to take action. We take the complaints seriously; we investigate them,” he said.

“Minister, they’ve been calling for five years. The point is, you have done nothing,” responded Ms. Jones.

Mr. Wilkinson then suggested she should have voted for the GEA, which was “designed to ensure that we have, at the provincial level, the tools we require to ensure that companies are protecting human health. It is exactly why we uploaded responsibility for these issues to the provincial government: because it’s our level of government that has the ability to deal with these companies and ensure that they are in full compliance with provincial laws.”

Mayor MacIver’s letter includes substation complaints, but also explores other concerns that Amaranth has had since the outset. It says the township will oppose any further turbine development until the present problems have been corrected.

The mayor says the township has always supported green energy but only if located such as not to impact neighbours negatively.

He says there is no question that (the turbines and transformers) do impact health and adds that the township requested that human and animal health be included in the Environmental Assessment for the wind farm but the request was rejected.

On the environmental issue of health, he suggests that the Whittington three turbine proposal, if approved, would adversely affect the adjacent 50- acre spinach plantation, as no one would work in an unhealthy environment.

He says the placement of the industrial wind farms and the setbacks combine to “sterilize” huge building envelopes, plus “5 to 10” neighbours are affected by each turbine.

One solution he proposes would be that the wind farm developers be required to purchase, rather than lease, their properties – but apparently not in “the tornado capital of Canada” – as he describes Dufferin.

18 thoughts on “Wilkinson says he will meet with some of the affected families in Amaranth

  1. “Minister, they’ve been calling for five years. The point is, you have done nothing,” responded Ms. Jones

    And this will likely continue unless the Liberals are vanquished in October….

  2. “Mr. Wilkinson then suggested she should have voted for the GEA, which was “designed to ensure that we have, at the provincial level, the tools we require to ensure that companies are protecting human health. It is exactly why we uploaded responsibility for these issues to the provincial government: because it’s our level of government that has the ability to deal with these companies and ensure that they are in full compliance with provincial laws.”

    What kind of a reply is that? Does he means he will not do anything because Ms Jones did not vote to support the GEA?

    Let’s just hope all of these Liberals loose their seats!

  3. The question is what are the provincial laws now in effect to protect human health and what do they cover? Are they adquate to cover the health and safety issues involved with IWTs and all the structures,lines and etc. that go with the construction and operation of wind farm power plants?

    Would suggest that since no action has been taken then there are no real protection laws and/or regulations in place or they are not being enforced.

    Citizens are going to have to look up these laws themselves. Another citizen investigation is needed here. So these laws need to be researched to see what they do cover.

  4. Families in Rural Ontario are expected to take the bullet for this ugly green thing.

    The Liberals have thrown the victims under the bus and looked the other way.

    Disgusting!

    Then they wonder why the rest of them have a big problem with this social injustice. They know they are next.

    History repeats itself!

  5. “The reason the Ministry of the Environment is open 365 days a year, 24/7, is that people, if they feel that there is some detriment to their health due to an environmental issue, can call us. That’s exactly why people call us. I want to say to the member that all the wind turbines that are up in the province are based on the old rules, and all of them are expected and required by law to comply. So when people complain, we take that very seriously and we investigate.”

    Sure.
    The Ministry of the Environment rep told us more than once that we were the only people that were having a problem. We were told we just had to get used to it and there was nothing that they could do or even needed to do because all was in compliance.
    We would not accept that answer because we could not longer sleep.
    Just a few months later I observed as he updated local council and told them that there had been over 300 complaints from that area made to the ministry. So it went from us being the only people having a problem to over 300 complaints. So who’s zoomin’ who?

    That is how Minister Wilkinsons and his ministry really works and I’m sure there are many more with the same story.
    And truthfully that is just the beginning of the tale…

  6. How many of you Ontarians are up for a visit to your Min. Environment’s office? Stratford’s a nice town. (-; I’m MORE then ready!

    • It would be comical to see the MOE employees ducking behind the wall next to the windows with the curtains swaying…wispering don’t let them see you. Like the rest of the Liberal Mpp’s have been doing.

  7. Wilkinson cares folks. He was at a fund raiser to raise funds for the united way so they could help people pay their hydro bills.
    Good guy.
    As the minister responsible for the environment he cares about wildlife , people and likes mega quarry’s. It creates jobs.
    Those that are pretending to have health issues with IWTs are trouble makers.
    Bird and bat population needs to be culled.
    Who cares if cows have their hoofs blown off.
    And given the chance he would have them in his backyard.
    A stand up guy.

  8. I’m just not sure who is the worst–Wilkinson or Tilson.
    Mr. Tilson during a conversation with me, prior to the election, continually referred to IWT’s as windmills and spoke in such a way I was unable to determine how he felt about them and was left with the opinion he is favourable.

    AND

    As far as Mr. Wilkinsin is concerned I telephoned hos office to voice my concerns about IWT”s and because I’m not in his riding I was referred elsewhere. Following several conversations with his rep in Harriston–He won’t speak about turbines– the thought of being transferred elsewhere did not sit well with me. So I was told that unless I wanted the telephone number to be referred elsewhere she would hang up. That was probably his secretary obeying orders.

    • Sandra, people call them windmills when they want to “soften” the image of IWT’s. Afterall windmills evoke the feelings of something picturesque and pretty. While IWT’s are harsh and ugly. Tilson left you wondering how he felt about them, because he is sitting on the fence. He wants the pro turbine group to not have cause to hate him and the “studies before wind turbine” group to not dislike him. Most politicians do that and not just about IWT’s. Any controversial issue is handled like that.

  9. The human health issue should be paramount to any other of the serious valid concerns we hear expressed about wind turbine effects. Here we are witness to the Ontario Government’s lack of interest in what its citizens are experiencing. I can hardly wait for the October election and the Liberal’s defeat.

  10. Operators ideas of safety issues…

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    • New OSHA regulations set to take effect Jan.,2012 for safety issues involving wind turbines. Fines for worker injury or death $400,000 and this just the government fine and not any settlements due to litigation.

      People signing contracts should heed this information as to what the new safety standards will be in wind turbine operations as these regultions cover IWTs already installed.

    • People participating in IWT co-ops are owner-operators of IWTs which are industrial machinery. So as owners they become responsible for worker injuries and deaths related to IWT operations.

  11. All government entities and MPPs involved in IWT instllation must be on board or the rapid deployment of IWTs in Ontario can NOT be accomplished.

    Nothing will be allowed to hold up or prevent IWT installation in Ontario. Issues that Ontarians raise against this rapid deployment don’t count.

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