Wind turbines in Collingwood will create perfect storm

downloadBy Christina Blizzard, Toronto Sun

Talk about a wing and a prayer.  As if the soaring cost of wind energy weren’t enough, a plan to put 152-metre (500-feet) tall wind turbines next to Collingwood Regional Airport is just plain dumb.

Pilots and community members are up in arms, fearing the turbines will not only pose a safety hazard to planes, they’ll limit the growth of the airport and hurt the region’s economy — just as tourism is growing.

Their MPP says the massive towers — as high as the TD Centre — will intrude on airspace.  Worse, they’ll be painted white.

Hello? Is anyone thinking? Collingwood is in the snowbelt.  Pilots landing in poor visibility will have difficulty seeing the turbines.

“Local people don’t want these eyesores so close to the Escarpment and in God’s country,” said Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson.

“It could eventually shut down the airport.”

Pilot Kevin Elwood is the largest hangar owner and aircraft operator at the airport.

The turbines will put planes at risk, he says, and require the airport to modify procedures.

The airport currently has standard arrival and departure procedures. The turbines will force them to make modifications.

“We will become non-standard, which always increases the risk to safety,” he said.

“Four of the turbines penetrate outer limit airspace which is airspace protected for the arrival and departure of aircraft,” he said.

Charlie Tatham is chair of the Collingwood Airport Services Board.

He says the airport is well-established and well-equipped — and vital to the area’s economy.

The turbines will protrude into the airport’s “obstacle limitation surface” — an imaginary disc that extends on a 3.2-km (two-mile) radius from the airport, 46 metres (150 feet) off the ground.

“The whole idea of that surface is to give a pilot the confidence if he were approaching the airport under distress, he would have the knowledge that once he was within two miles of the airport, he could drop down to as low as 200 feet (61 metres) and be clear of any obstructions,” Tatham explained.

Collingwood gets huge amounts of lake effect snow.

Streamers come in suddenly from Georgian Bay, rapidly reducing visibility.

“You can get yourself in a real jam here with the weather very quickly,” Tatham explained.

It’s not just pilots who are upset. Farmers in the area are already absorbing the high cost of wind energy.

A recent report from the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) said surplus wind energy is costing users an extra $200 million a year.

Dairy farmers and chicken farmers need a lot of electricity to run their farms, says Wilson.

“Not only are we not a willing host community, but our hydro rates have gone through the roof over the past few years under the McGuinty-Wynne government.

“Clearly if you’re paying up to 15 times more for wind energy than you are for what we’re producing at our hydro electric and nuclear plants then that’s going to continue to make our hydro rates skyrocket,” Wilson said.

It all sounds like a perfect Collingwood storm.

High-priced wind energy is forcing up the cost of doing business for farmers.

Meanwhile, the airport can’t expand because someone had the bright idea of putting massive turbines at the end of the runway.

That means the area’s other industry — tourism — takes a hit.

Is it any wonder people in rural ridings tossed out all the Liberals in the last election?

It’ll take more than lip service and the premier calling herself the agriculture minister for rural voters to trust the Liberals.

Their government is destroying a way of life.

You can’t rebuild that with empty gestures.

14 thoughts on “Wind turbines in Collingwood will create perfect storm

  1. Airports and aviation, especially safety, is a federal jurisdiction. It should take precedence over any provincial legislation. Is there more to it than to simply point out to the Fed’s that safety is being compromised if tall turbines are erected within the restricted zone around an airport? Has anyone simply asked the MP for the area to look into the hazard, and take the issue to the ministry?

    Play the devil’s advocate here. Suppose the turbines were erected, and some future flight collides with a turbine. An investigation would be necessary. Would an investigation absolve any/all wind turbine companies, and the provincial government, from all liability and responsibility because of the Green Energy Act? I wouldn’t think so. I’m not a pilot, but I think I can see the possibility of a small private plane being buffeted by high winds unexpectedly, and I can also see a small plane being driven into the turbines. Potential loss of human life should take precedence over the profits of wind companies, and the ideology of our current Liberal government.

    I’m shaking my head over the possibility that the provincial ministries involved could even think to allow wind turbines close to an airport. Could I see a wind turbine company suing a pilot or airline for damages to their turbine? Under the Wynne-McGuinty regime, maybe I could!

    • Turbines close to an airport have already happened in Chatham-Kent… then out come the warnings from the manager of the airport to the pilots… use the search (try airport or pilots)on this website to find the article

    • Dave B: ya, the federal government should care, but…. they don’t! What’s up with those Conservatives, anyway? Their supporters will tell us they’re too busy being fantastic to give a hoot about provincial wind turbines.

      If an accident happens, what will the investigation conclude?
      A: that it was the pilot’s fault, d’uh.

      • After making a stupid decision @ the local level of government –
        now we’ve heard from the CAO.
        Someone is ‘stuck on stupid’ –
        and, all fingers point to the local level of government.

        The voice of the people –
        @ the local level of government [left intentionally empty]
        You can draw your own conclusions.

  2. ‘[excerpt} High-priced wind energy is forcing up the cost of doing business for farmers.’

    OFA – is up to speed –
    but, not yet.
    How will the OFA approach this problem?

    • ‘[excerpt] Pilots and community members are up in arms, fearing the turbines will not only pose a safety hazard to planes,……’

      My son is a fine young man – enjoys flying.
      I love it when he fly’s over our home!

      He was taught –
      a pilot – always looks out for a spot to land – in case –
      …………of an emergency with his plane.
      You may have seconds – to execute your emergency plan.

      I don’t want my son – spending his life is recovery.

    • Same as always……………shove its head in the sand
      could go cap in hand to Momma McWinnity the Agriculture and ah….oh ya Food Minister and ask for a hand out. What day a think the chances of that are…………more lip service she’s real good at that.

  3. I think dalton, wynne and bentley should
    Volunteer to be the first on a flight there dont

    Seems to me like these wind companys
    Think of the worst place to shove thier monsters and bet they can do it. And look
    Our gov lets them!!

    • When is everyone going to wake up, it has nothing to do with global warming that is a farce it has to do with follow the green, the money that is. Research what the liberals are making on wind contracts and how many of them sit on the boards of the wind companies.

      • Hey loulee,
        Ya – we know,
        and, then they changed it to:
        Climate Change: An opportunity

        We’re now down to the ‘Conversation’ – a new ministry –
        in the infant stage.

    • ‘dalton, wynne and bentley should Volunteer to be the first on a flight there’ during bad windy weather.

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