By Tom Wilkinson, West Niagara News
A total of 11 members of the West Lincoln Wind Action Group joined other wind opponents at a rally in Toronto last Tuesday, April 3. They were trying to bring awareness about concerns for the wind industry to the greater Toronto area. Organizers say more than 800 opponents of wind energy were in attendance. The money that the province of Ontario will be wasting on subsidies to West Lincoln wind producers could build a new hospital every two years, critics say.
An anti-wind protest in Toronto on April 3 drew 11 members of the West Lincoln Wind Action Group (WLWAG).
According to co-chair Neil Switzer, the West Lincoln participants joined more than 800 other people there to protest wind energy at the Toronto Convention Centre.
Inside the centre, the Feed In Tarrif (F.I.T.) forum was taking place with wind energy industry representatives.
“These are all the people who are feeding at the trough,” said Switzer on Tuesday.
Wind Concerns Ontario, the provincial lobby group opposed to Ontario’s wind energy policies urged local organizations to come to the rally.
Switzer said the movement wanted to hold a rally in Toronto to help bring awareness to concerns about the wind energy industry to the GTA area.
“I think we were quite elated that as many people came out as did,” Switzer told the West Niagara News.
He said it’s important for people across Ontario to understand how much wind subsidies cost Ontario taxpayers.
If the two wind projects are given final approval in West Lincoln, he says the money used to subsidize the electricity, which is the difference between the rate the province pays traditional producers and the rate it’s paying to wind energy producers, could be better used on health care. He used the recently cancelled $125 million West Lincoln Memorial Hospital project as an example.
“Every two years we could be building a brand new hospital with what we’re paying in subsidies,” he said.
He said that at the rally, which lasted from 11:30 until 2:30 p.m., PC energy critic Vic Fedeli spoke to the group.
“He said it was a shame we were paying these exorbitant rates, said Switzer.
He said that groups like WLWAG and other wind opponents want the public to know that last year, Ontario paid $400 million to Quebec and New York state to take excess power from Ontario.
The group tries to enlighten the public whenever it can, he said. That is the only way they envision success, is to enlighten the public and have an informed public vote for a party that won’t squander Ontario’s money.
WLWAG and other opponents want a moratorium on wind energy alternatives until proper health studies can be done of people living close to wind turbines
“We will support any party that is supporting our interests,” he said.
Right now, that appears to be the Conservative party.
“The NDP still believes that wind technology is green, which it is not,” he said.
If the wind industry is allowed to bypass local planning regulations, it’s only a matter of time before the province allows other industries to do the same, says West Lincoln resident Catherine Mitchell, another member of WLWAG who attended the rally.
“That’s going to be the sadness of the whole situation,” she said on Tuesday.
She said the issue was a “sleeping dog” issue that people would not understand the cost of until long after it’s too late.
“The money is not staying in Canada – the jobs won’t be here,” she said. “We’ll have the highest energy costs in Canada.”
Mitchell said it was unconscionable that property rights could be subjugated in Canada.
“Our democratic rights were fought for with blood,” she said.
Mitchell has been a regular speaker against the wind industry at West Lincoln Council.
“I make the racket that I make so people can’t say, ‘I didn’t know,’” she said.
“Fifty families are going to benefit (with contracts to have wind turbines installed). The rest of us are going to be disenfranchised.”
Killing wind projects could make hospital affordable 0
By Tom Wilkinson, West Niagara News
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 11:02:40 EDT AM
Are you angry about the cancellation of the new West Lincoln Memorial Hospital project? You should be.
When Dalton McGuinty tells you the province can’t afford the $125 million cost of the new hospital, what he’s saying is that he’d rather give that money to the wind industry.
Neil Switzer, co-chair of the West Lincoln Wind Action Group, told the West Niagara News today that the subsidies paid to wind energy producers in West Lincoln for two years could pay for another Grimsby hospital project.
Every two years through the 20 year contract.
Switzer and other opponents of wind are hoping that members of the public will wake up to the price being paid for wind energy.
In our office today, Green Party leader Mike Schreiner said if Ontario could become as energy efficient as New York State is, we wouldn’t need any new power infrastructure for some time.
But we are paying an economic price, a health price and a moral price, perhaps for something we don’t need.