by Steve Henschel Niagara This Week
Their hands may be tied but their mouths aren’t gagged.
This was the message delivered to town council last Monday night by a group of concerned citizens joined together into the West Lincoln Wind Action Group (WLWAG) — a grassroots community organization representing concerns with a proposed wind turbine development by IPC.
“We are here tonight to convey the concerns of residents,” said Cam Pritchard, a representative for the group. “The installation of these turbines will divide and ruin our township,” he added.
The WLWAG presented numerous articles and studies linking wind turbines with a host of negative effects including health issues, decreased property values and health effects on both wild and domesticated animals.
Representatives from the group requested council’s help in producing an information package to be on hand at the three libraries in the township. Specifically the group requested some help in photocopying the package which will contain information from both IPC and the WLWAG’s own research.
“Many people don’t know this is coming down the pipe,” said Neil Switzer, a representative for the WLWAG, adding, “it’s all being done behind the scenes.”
The group also called council to press the region to have the regional health officer compile a report on wind energy with specific focus on a May 2010 report from the chief medical officer of health for Ontario that found negligible health affects associated with wind turbines at appropriate setbacks. The WLWAG asked council for the review since they claim new information on the subject has come to light.
“There’s some major impacts people are recording,” said Switzer, who added, “we want an updated report.”
The group also proposed to council that they join a growing list of 67 Ontario municipalities requesting a moratorium on industrial wind turbine development in the province until further research is done.
“Every week there are more municipalities signing on,” said Switzer, adding, “you’re not muzzled.”
He pointed out that although the Green Energy Act has removed any power in regards to green energy development from municipal government, the town council can still voice its concerns along with a growing number of like minded municipalities.
Switzer also explained that West Lincoln is unique in that unlike many municipalities who discovered problems after the establishment of wind turbines it still isn’t to late to “get ahead of this thing.”
Members of council applauded what they said was a considerable amount of work done by the WLWAG since its inception two weeks ago.
“I was very impressed with the amount of work you gentlemen have done,” said mayor Katie Trombetta.
Council also voiced support for the group’s resolutions pending an examination by staff and agreed to assist in the dissemination of the information package.
Alderman Mike Rehner pointed out that while he supports green energy the solution should not also adversely affect people as well.
“We don’t want to burn coal but we don’t want to affect people with something else,” he said, pointing out that the turbines should be placed somewhere in the township where they will not affect homes and families.