By Valerie MacDonald Northumberland Today
Wary of what a wind turbine farm might do to rural parts of Northumberland, a group of citizens has come together to hold a public meeting of its own.
The Alliance for the Protection of the Northumberland Hills was formed shortly after Energy Farm Ontario held an open house in late-July about its ongoing study of rural properties near Grafton as a possible location to construct up to 20 wind turbines.
“We really don’t have any clear understanding of the details of the proposal,” Alliance spokesperson Gwyer Moore told Northumberland Today in an interview yesterday.
The group wrote asking for more information through their lawyer, Kristie Ross of Fogler Rubinoff, but did not receive it, he said.
As a result of this, plus new environment ministry wind turbine guidelines which are still being awaited covering details such as setbacks, the Alliance decided to get organized to provide input when Energy Farm Ontario puts forward an application, Moore said.
Energy Farm Ontario is also awaiting those new provincial guidelines, says company board member Kelly Campbell. Their location study is ongoing and when there is more information it will be distributed to all those on the mailing list the company has compiled, she said. Attempts have also been made to reach the Alliance’s lawyer but she is on vacation.
The project is still in the study and development stages and so turbine type and location are not yet known, she said.
The turbines are anticipated to be 80 to 100 metres, not feet, tall, Campbell stressed. Once location and ministry guidelines are known then Energy Farm Ontario can determine which turbines are best for the site, she added.
The Alliance for the Protection of the Northumberland Hills is holding its public meeting at the Centreton Community Hall on County Road 23 next Thursday evening, Sept. 24. Next week the Canadian Wind Energy Conference is being held in Toronto and Energy Farm Ontario will be busy at that function, Campbell said, but there has been no invitation from the Alliance to participate in the Alliance’s public meeting.
Doors to the meeting will open at 6:30 p. m. with presentations at 7 p. m. and questions following, according to the public announcement.
“Learn about the impact of wind turbines on human health, livestock health, the environment and property values,” it also states.
There are significant issues around wind turbines, Moore said. For example, some, but not all people, suffer due to low frequency noise, he said. Contact has been made with people living near wind turbines on Wolfe Island and in the Shelbourne area, and information has also been amassed from sites round the world, explained Moore. He lives on Grills Road, within the Energy Farm Ontario study area which is generally between Centreton Road in the north, Telephone Road in the south, generally west of County Road 23, Boy and Shelter Valley roads and east of a line in the area of Wilson Line, Scott and Massey roads.
If people are faced with a wind farm proposal from Energy Farm Ontario they need to be prepared, Moore said. And under the proposed provincial legislation, though not yet passed, groups like the Alliance would only have about 30 days to respond, he said.
Next Thursday’s meeting is to make sure people understand the issues and the legislation, Moore added. The group’s working committee has 10 members and about 50 others have pledge support and are providing donations as the Alliance seeks to register itself as a charity, he said.