On May 26, 2011 Pristine Power held a consultation open house at Seaforth and District Community Center. In order for them to proceed with their plans for a wind factory in the St. Columban community, this public meeting must be held as part of their due diligence under the Green Energy Act.
This supposed “consultation” meeting offered no answers to any questions or concerns. In fact it provided limited opportunity for any real consultation and in some cases concerns were acknowledged to be real, yet no resolution or even empathy was offered. As part of an opposition rally, well over 200 people attended and signed a petition opposing wind factory development in St. Columban. Also present were 57 tractors driven by local farmers. Local MPs were invited. Their absence was obvious. Also obvious was the number of security staff which appeared to be more than company representatives.
There remain many unanswered questions and concerns around the Green Energy Act and the advancement of wind energy in Ontario. The following are some stark, glaring realities that in my opinion remain unaddressed.
My number one concern with the development of wind energy is the question that remains in regards to human health. Under the current setbacks there is a percentage of the population who are negatively affected by wind factories. Even wind energy proponents have this number as high as 10 per cent. In my case I know this to be true from a personal acquaintance.
There are real people who have been forced from their homes. There at least 25 confirmed cases of people being forced from their home. There is an additional 150 families who have expressed health concerns. In some cases the homes have been purchased by wind conglomerates, which have imposed a gag order on the affected people. Forcing people from their homes is simply wrong – no need for further discussion.
Real estate values will decline. This is particularly true of residential homes. This fact doesn’t require documentation – it is simple economics. Those opposed won’t buy homes near wind factories. Whenever you significantly reduce the number of potential buyers of any commodity market values drop. The implications are much more serious than simple economics would indicate. It is possible that in some cases properties will have little or no value.
I am not opposed to Green Energy when pursued in healthy, efficient, and responsible manner. It appears that the current 550 meter setbacks mandated in the Green Energy Act were not arrived at because it is safe and based on science, but rather because it fits. In other words it allows maximum penetration of our rural Ontario landscape. Case in point – how is it possible that off shore wind projects (where there are no people) are cancelled due to lack of research and on shore projects where obviously there are people are allowed to proceed. There is but one answer: the residents of rural Ontario are the test group – we are the “lab rats”.
All anyone is asking for is to maintain a healthy, peaceful environment in our local community. If wind energy proceeds, as it currently is mandated, it will deny us this objective in more ways than one.
Louise Flanagan, RR 5 Mitchell