by Don Peat, Toronto Sun
A storm is brewing at City Hall over Toronto Hydro’s more than $1 million wind measuring efforts in Lake Ontario. Councillor Paul Ainslie will ask Mayor Rob Ford’s executive committee to order hydro to tear down its anemometer, a fridge-size device that measures wind speed and direction from a platform about one kilometre off the Scarborough Bluffs.
Ainslie, who represents the area, also wants the city to slap a moratorium on wind turbines in the lake.
“I’d like (Toronto Hydro) to see the writing on the wall or at least acknowledge the writing on the wall and take the anemometer out of the lake,” Ainslie said.
He noted the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority voted in favour of a moratorium on wind turbines and concerns about the technology being deployed across the lake.
The vote is not binding on Toronto Hydro. The provincial and federal governments have jurisdiction over the part of the lake where the anemometer is located, according to a hydro official.
“I’m not anti-environment, but let’s do a project that’s actually viable,” Ainslie said.
Joyce Mclean, Toronto Hydro’s director of strategic issues, stressed the agency passed a federal and provincial environmental assessment to place the anemometer out in the lake.
Toronto Hydro received approval in October 2009 to maintain the platform until October 2012.
Franz Hartmann, executive director of the Toronto Environmental Alliance, said wind power is a good idea that should be explored.
“TEA has for well over a decade promoted renewable power and particularly wind power,” he said.
Hartmann questioned the logic of pulling out the anemometer now, saying doing so would be a waste of money, energy and effort.
Sherri Lange, the founding director of Toronto Wind Action, called the anemometer “a complete boondoggle.
“It doesn’t do us a lick of good,” she said. “It’s like a white elephant sitting out there.”
Lange, who lives about five blocks from the lake, said removing the anemometer and passing a moratorium would come as a “statement of faith” to Scaroborough residents who oppose wind turbines.