Posted By LISA GERVAIS/QMI Agency Peterborough Examiner
PONTYPOOL — It took just 25 minutes for the fire marshal to shut down a public information open house on two proposed wind parks Thursday night.
When more than 140 people had crowded into the Pontypool Community Centre, the meeting was brought to an abrupt halt — a move that serves opponents of the Settlers Landing Wind Park and Snowy Ridge Wind Park since it means the first open house has technically not taken place and sets proponents’ Energy Farming Ontario Inc. and project managers M.K. Ince Associates Ltd. back in their process.
Others simply could not believe that the proponents chose such a small venue considering the history of a project that has attracted hundreds of people to public meetings in the past.
There was a carnival-like atmosphere outside the venue about 5 p.m. with the lyrics If I Had a Hammer playing loudly, a mobile sign announcing the meeting being pulled behind a vehicle, the words of Winston Churchill emanating from another car stereo, people wearing buttons saying “Rick (Johnson), just say no” and others wearing T-shirts reading “proud Manvers NIMBYs.” There was even a back-hoe filled with signs outside the community centre.
It was obvious that not everyone outside was going to fit inside the building. A line formed and two OPP officers kept an eye on it from just inside the front door.
It didn’t take long for the atmosphere to turn hostile as pockets of residents surrounded Energy Farming Ontario and M.K. Ince and Associates representatives.
Marsh loudly confronted an Ince representative wanting to know why the company had not pin-pointed exactly where the two wind parks would go. As a result, he said the information sessions were not open, fair and transparent.
He said Energy Farming Ontario’s director, Kelly Campbell, had not even attended the meeting “and they wonder why people get upset.”
Manvers Gone with the Wind’s Heather Stauble circled another representative saying they should have gone to the front of the room and answered group questions rather than meeting with people in small groups.
“The people here are not happy about this,” she said. “We need some answers and we need everybody to hear them.”