by Reuben Sokol, The Toronto Observer, www.torontoobserver.ca
Opponents of a proposed wind farm off the Scarborough Bluffs have adopted the old Bob Dylan folk classic, with their own spin, as a rallying cry: ‘the answer is not blowing in the wind.’
About 150 residents from the Guildwood area gathered Thursday evening to map out a strategy against the province’s plan to install wind turbines about two kilometres south of the bluffs, in Lake Ontario.
Under the banner of Toronto Wind Action, the group held a forum called ‘Finally the Truth About Turbines’ at Sir Wilfred Laurier Collegiate.
Lawrence Solomon, executive director at the Energy Probe Research Foundation, told the forum that contrary to the position of the United Nations, there is no threat of global warming from fossil fuels and therefore no need for wind energy.
“There is now no shortage of energy … There is limitless natural gas … and there will be no shortage of oil in our lifetime – most of the world is unexplored,” Solomon said. “Carbon dioxide is a natural part of our biosphere.”
Dr. Robert McMurtry, a professor or surgery at the University of Western Ontario, warned that new rules for locating wind projects should be drawn up and that large windmills should be kept a minimum of two kilometres from residential areas.
He pointed to anecdotal evidence of wind projects disrupting peoples’ health and sleeping patterns.
David Grey Eagle Sanford, a member of the Mohawk tribe who speaks for TWA, said that while evidence of wind power’s effects on human health was unclear, its effect on the health of animals was well known.
“I am a carrier of sacred eagle feathers,” Sanford said. “Hundreds of eagles are killed or disturbed by windmills.”
Sanford conceded that the eagle population has increased over the past 20 years in Ontario due to its protection as an endangered species, but to him every eagle is sacred.
“As one of my elders told me, ‘the eagle is the wind’,” Sanford said.
He then spoke of a dream told to him many years ago by his grandmother: “In the future, they are going to sell you the wind.”
Judy Lipp, the executive director of the Toronto Renewable Energy Co-operative (TREC), which developed a 299 foot windmill in Toronto by Exhibition Place, spoke to the Toronto Observer before the TWA event.
TREC supports wind energy in Toronto. She said that concern over global climate change justified the need for sustainable energy sources such as wind power; there are no easy choices, she said.
“The impact of a large power plant is much bigger in terms of its footprint on the landscape and we can’t quickly return the land to its original state,” Lipp added.
She added that the large windmill in downtown Toronto, has not led to any complaints from local residents since it was built eight years ago.
“If you stand under it, you cannot hear anything except the Gardiner Expressway … In an urban environment, ambient noise far overshadows the noise that wind turbines make,” Lipp said.