By John Tapley, Woodstock Sentinel-Review
CURRIES – Guests snacked on Oxford County grown food during a meet-and-greet gathering with Oxford provincial Liberal candidate David Hilderley at David Start’s farm on Curries Road Saturday. But across the road from the politics and produce, there was protest. Blowing whistles and carrying signs, about a dozen members of opposition groups gathered across from Start’s farm to show their opposition to Liberal policies on wind turbines in Ontario.
Between the Oxford Liberal Association event and the possibility that a wind turbine may eventually go up on Start’s property, the protesters took the opportunity to send a message.
“We would just like to make our thoughts known,” said Keith McKay, who is Start’s neighbour and one of the organizers of Saturday’s protest. “All we’re asking for is that a moratorium be put on (wind turbines) until further health studies can be done on them.”
McKay said 2.5 megawatt turbines can be installed as close as 550 metres away from a residence and stand close to 500 feet tall.
“That’s not far enough. As a neighbour, I could never do that to somebody else,” McKay said. “It’s going to devalue property and the health effects are still unknown.”
He said he and his fellow protestors have been trying to make their point with the provincial government for the last three years.
“It’s (supposed to be) all about green,” he said. “The only thing green in all this is the money. Ontario, as a whole, we can’t afford it.”
Start said he hosted Saturday’s Oxford Liberal Association gathering as a way to bring urban and rural residents together and put Oxford produce in the spotlight. As for the protest, he acknowledged there are preliminary plans for a wind turbine on his property. But those plans still have a long way to go before they see the light of day, he said, including being cleared by several government ministries.
“I don’t support the burning of coal in the province,” said Start, who has a solar renewable energy system on his property that feeds into the electricity grid.
The sixth generation of his family to work the farm, Start said he has no intention of doing anything but preserve the property for farming.
“I want it to be a farm for the next six generations,” he said.