by Colette McLean
My MPP Taras Natyshak and local councillor Randy Voakes staged a meeting last night on Wind Energy. It was a room of approx. 60 people split 50/50 with people against & people for wind/renewable energy. Mr. Natyshak asked that all presenter provide backup facts and referenced material for their statements and reaffirmed his position to support green energy and green jobs. He is, along with Councillor Voakes are strong supporters of the CAW and many of the CAW staff & members were there in attendance.
Mark Bartlett is one of note, who heads off the CAW environmental committee. He started by holding forth the CAW’s work promoting causes for people not just in NA, but the world and has been working since 1986 on stimulating green jobs. His further discussion was mostly about the idea that coal and gas are finite resources therefore we must explore alternatives and coal is after all causing 2000 deaths/yr. There was some more discussion about the Fukishima Nuclear disaster and the cost of keeping secure, nuclear waste for thousands of years. He concluded that he did not want to deny the problems people are having, however believed that this is largely based on fear of the unknown subsequently, how imperative it was to move forward progressively with courage, with renewables, seeing that this is the future.
One resident came forward from Essex (a new victim), with her daughter who noted that the small 5 turbine project south of Essex has been disturbing them when the winds are out of the north. This was offset immediately by councillor Voakes who also lives within a mile of these turbines, signifying that he hears nothing.
There were several young people involved in the wind or solar industry indicating that people could do with getting their facts straight by talking to the industry people and what great opportunities there were with potential markets for solar panels in Africa which has no infrastructure for electricity. As a wind technician, one young man indicated after two years of working inside the turbine he has never suffered the symptoms claimed by residents within these projects. Surely this was proof enough that there are no problems with turbines causing harm to people. He further suggested that their mental state was the underlying motivation for their symptoms. When asked if he slept there, he responded chuckling saying that maybe he did sometimes.
Fortunately Lisa and Michel Michaud recounted their experience of living with turbines, the painful ear pressure, the sleepless nights, the elevated chloresterol that never existed before and their son Josh who was too sick to attend tonight. Especially revealing were the remarks from Suncor when the Michauds asked what can they do to resolve their issues and how do they get out of their situation, considering there are turbines being erected all over rural Ontario. Suncor answered by indicating “special” people will buy your house & property therefore not to worry.
Monica Elmes, brought forth the list of 17 peered reviewed articles from Dr. McMurtry, Carmen Krogh, Dr. Arlene Bronzaft, Dr. Nissenbaum which she handed to Mr. Natyshak and indicated that now he has in hand the necessary information to help people who may be approaching him with their health problems. She also recounted that during the meeting with the Rick Nicholls in Chatham/Kent, there were residents from the Essex riding, who came forth because they felt their concerns were falling on deaf ears.
Brenda Dunn, related the concerns of Dr. Scott Petrie on waterfowl and how Ontario are completely ignoring the recommendations from Denmark which suggest that no turbines should be within 1000 metres of shorelines and not placed within known migratory routes. Ontario is doing the exact opposite, to the extent to allow turbines 120 m from significant wetlands. She further talked about the GA and how in Northern Ontario it has added $1M of surcharges to a thriving business that is now considering leaving. She touched on the issues of property values, the health effects in other countries, the AG report revealing the lack of due diligence on the Samsung deal. She indicated that even she can hear the turbines in her house on certain days despite being 2 km away with a bush in front of her home.
Tamara Stomp, Deputy Mayor of Kingsville came forth indicating that we have been defrauded by the green energy initiatives despite how CAW may feel that this is an avenue for new jobs. She sympathized with all that has happened to the CAW workers and the severe loss of jobs in the Windsor area. She emphasized that wind energy would not exist if we did not subsidize the way we do and because of this, offshore corporations are the ones benefitting. Ontario is presently in contrast is suffering the loss of companies leaving due to exorbitant energy costs.
Other info. included concerns over stray voltage, the thoroughness of the environmental review process, the long term health effects that is not being examined, the lack of research on mortality rates for birds, and Taras’ lack of support for bills that would return control to municipalities when he vowed during the election that he would push for this, if elected.
Taras did announce at the beginning that a Q&A would be allowed, yet this was not to happen. I approached him at the end asking why did he not ask those, who were for wind energy, for their referenced info. as required by him. His answer only reiterated that he did ask for backup information from everyone, yet when I supplied him with two summary documents I had compiled with references and searchable citations throughout, he had the nerve to ask me if what I was providing was “fact”. I was close to a breakdown at that point and only uttered a strained yes and a half-hearted invitation to call me if he didn’t understand the information provided.