Public meeting Wednesday
By Don Crosby Owen Sound Sun Times
Wind turbines could be coming to Meaford.
That is why newly-formed Wind Concerns Meaford is holding a public meeting on Wednesday to raise awareness about wind energy concerns in the municipality and elsewhere. At least one developer has a wind testing tower in the former Sydenham Township near Balaclava.
Organic farmer Nicholos Schaut is one of the evening’s speakers. He, together with his wife and two pre-school age children, moved to Meaford from Melancthon Township about a year ago.
He said his family moved to get away from the effects of wind turbines that were located too close to the family home and a nearby potential aggregate development proposal.
He said the noise of the turbines was disruptive to their lives and kept them awake at night.
“We had three wind turbines at just a kilometre away from our house. We’ve seen the effects of these wind turbines on the community and on ourselves,” he said.
He said the presence of wind turbines causes divisions within the community and among neighbours and even between family members when one neighbour gets a contract for a wind turbine and others feel left out or have to suffer the effects of having wind turbines too close to their homes.
“My message is really about the health of the community in general and what this form of development is doing to the fabric of the community. This is a divisive issue and it hurts a lot of people,” he said.
He says he knows of people who no longer talk to one another. Others have had to sell property or have been bought out because of the personal effects of living too close to the turbines.
Some older farmers nearing retirement are fearful they won’t be able to sell their farms to get the money they counted on for their retirement years.
“I know a couple of people who have turbines on their property who are realizing that the turbine is not what they thought it would be,” said Schaut.
Jim Bruno, a spokesperson for Wind Concerns Meaford is critical of the way the provincial government is going about promoting wind energy development in the province.
“Wind turbines have been in Europe for many years and people think there haven’t been any problems, but when you read the studies you see there are many problems and Ontario is not learning from them,” he said.
“It’s not necessary to destroy the scenic landscape and put people through such hardship. You can accomplish our energy goals without having to do that,” he added.
Schaut says he would like to see some limits placed on the rush to wind energy development in Ontario.
“The politics which are behind this green rush is highly suspicious and no one is really asking those hard questions. The amount of money being granted so far in this windfall subsidy for large corporations could have gone a long way towards conservation,” Schaut said.
“The fact of the matter is we live in a province that has a glut of hydro. We have a surplus of hydro and we sell it elsewhere and according to the last hydro report we will see a surplus for the next couple of years,” he said.
Speakers will present information on the impact wind energy has on the economy, health, environment and property values.
Other speakers include Jeremy Gawen of the Georgian Bay Association, Mike McMurray, a real estate broker with Royal Lepage, Carmen Krogh, past editor of the compendium of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Dave Colling, a farmer.
The public meeting will be held at Woodford Hall starting at 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.