Police directed traffic past over 50 anti-wind power sign-carrying protesters to the tented celebration next to one of the 115 1.65MW Vestas V82 turbines near the sub-station off of Bruce Township’s Con. 6 in the Municipality of Kincardine.
With signs reading ‘Windfarms Make People Sick’, ‘Welcome to Hell’, ‘Save Our Skyline’ and ‘Health before Politics’, protesters greeted politicians like Deputy Premier George Smitherman and MPP Carol Mitchell, along with Enbridge staff, local politicians and property owners, with boos and jeers as they entered the site.
Police directed traffic by the protesters at the entrance to the site, while rain poured down and cold winds blew across the farm fields.
“I consider myself a green person, but there’s controversy on how green (wind turbines) actually are,” said Norma Schmidt of Bruce Twp. who lives west of Underwood and came to protest because of the perceived health impacts it has had on her and her family.
With wind turbines erected around her property, she and her husband Ron have experienced sleeping problems and headaches since the commissioning of the project.
“Health concerns are important. These projects should not be put up at the expense of people,” said Schmidt.
The protesters converged on the area from other communities with wind farms from as far away as Renfrew, near Ottawa, along with Shelburne, Grey Highlands, Essex, Chatham Kent, Port Burwell and Kingsbridge, to Ripley and Bruce Twp.
Noise and vibrations, have caused some projects like Suncor’s Ripley Wind Power Project to slow or stop wind turbines near homes due to audible noise caused by the turbines in high winds.
Aside from the health issues, protesters questioned the impact wind generation is having on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as well as the visual impacts on the landscape and the loss of local control over the projects if the Green Energy Act is made law.
“We’ve been telling the government about the problems, but nobody is listening,” Palmer said. “Everyone shares very similar concerns around health issues and how their quality of life has been impacted.”
Palmer said inadequate setbacks from turbines have led to these issues and said wind power is expensive and does little to alleviate climate change concerns.
He said even if 25,000MW of wind turbines were installed, it would only reduce Canada’s carbon output by two per cent.
By Troy Patterson
Kincardine News Staff