By Paul Baswick, Dunnville Chronicle
An Aug. 27 rally against wind turbine development may be the last, best chance for communities to fight new turbine development before it’s too late, says rally organizer Marnie Knight. Knight, a longtime wind turbine opponent from Selkirk, along with Michelle Pearson of Dunnville, is co-ordinating the rally, set to begin at 2 p.m. at Silver Lake Lions Park, 320 St. Patrick St. in Port Dover.
The rally comes just days before the Aug. 29 deadline for submitting public comment through the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) process on Capital Power’s plan to bring 58 industrial wind turbines to Haldimand and Norfolk. The EBR process is the last hurdle for Capital Power to clear before its turbine development project can begin, says Knight.
“I want this to be huge,” Knight says of the rally.
“I’m hoping we get several thousand people, and I will be very, very disappointed if we don’t. This really is our last hurrah.”
One of the area’s most vocal wind turbine opponents, Knight has been fighting wind turbine development on several fronts: at informational meetings, in community parades and events through her involvement in Haldimand-Norfolk Wind Concerns and through countless hours spent on her phone and computer trying to rally support.
She says although the Aug. 27 rally comes on the heels of the EBR deadline impacting Haldimand and Norfolk, the wind turbine issue involves everyone, not just area residents.
“I would like to see people come from all over Ontario, from Wolfe Island, from Manitoulin, wherever they’re putting these things in. I would like to see the rally absolutely packed. That’s my dream. That’s my hope,” she says.
Knight says four turbines are slated to go up east of her Selkirk home.
“I’ve got four of them going in straight back there and these suckers are 101 feet tall, equivalent to a 46-storey apartment building. They’re not real close to me, but I’m still going to see them in the skyline,” she says.
“I don’t want them there. I’ll be surrounded by them. I’m lucky enough that they’re not in my backyard, but they’re close enough to count.”
But she stresses the upcoming rally isn’t just about what’s happening in her own town or county, and adds wind turbine opposition is about much more than the physical turbines themselves.
“My biggest complaint in all of this is that I’ve had my democratic rights yanked out from underneath me. There are a bunch of backdoor deals being done, and we’ve had no say,” she says.
“I’m tired of Canada and Ontario being sold off piece by piece to multinational companies. To me that’s irresponsible of our government.”
A 56-year-old mom who’s preparing to start her first year of classes at Niagara College in September, Knight says there are many other things she’d rather be doing than fighting wind turbine development.
“This is taking up every moment of my time. I’m getting way too old for this, but I don’t have the option to walk away from this,” she says.
“There comes a point when you have to take a stand and you have to believe passionately in what you do, even when it gets uncomfortable. You have to come out of the comfort zone, and right now I’m willing to do that. The gloves are off and the fight is on.”
Residents can submit their comments on the Capital Power development proposal by visiting www.ebr.gov.on.ca and entering registry number 011-3999.