Here’s the question: Is it proper for a landowner, in a pristine agricultural setting, to put up a huge industrial project that dramatically devalues his neighbour’s land?
There are many problems associated with industrial wind power in Ontario, with more seemingly arising all the time. These include health concerns, which haven’t been properly examined; the unreliability of turbines as a source of energy; the false economy of the Green Energy Act, paid for with our tax dollars; and the anti-democratic, arbitrary nature of the Act itself, which strips municipalities of planning authority.
But the heart of this issue is this very simple question: Why should your neighbour have the right to build a 300-foot concrete tower within hailing distance of your home, thereby causing your property to lose up to 40% of its value?
A British-owned company, International Power Corporation of Canada, has been planning for three years to build an industrial wind project, with 26 large towers, in the former Sydenham Township between Leith and Annan. The company chose not to advertise that fact, other than to the landowners from whom it purchased wind rights, until a few weeks ago.
This is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful, untouched stretches of agricultural land anywhere in Ontario. It is also a place that many people call home. Earth to Premier Dalton McGuinty: People live here.
Some of the folks now raising their voices, hoping to delay or derail the Silcote Corners project, plan to attend a public meeting tonight, hosted by the company, at the Meaford St. Vincent Community Centre. The meeting runs from 5 to 8 p.m.
Is this to be another gathering where the company tells people how it is and educates them, in perfect legalese, about what’s good for them? Opponents of Silcote Corners are determined that won’t happen this time. But the deck is stacked against them. And the province holds the cards.
McGuinty got himself elected, twice, as a Liberal. In speeches he rarely misses an opportunity to play up his homespun, big-family, average-guy roots. He tells an engaging tale about his grandmother.
When it comes to industrial wind though, McGuinty is no average guy. Indeed he appears to be footsoldier for large, foreign-controlled corporations — whose job is to serve their shareholders, not the people of Ontario.
Do the people of Ontario require that our beautiful countryside be festooned with massive turbines, as has happened in Shelburne and along stretches of the Lake Huron coastline? Is this the only way to meet our energy needs?
Well, no. We have nuclear technology, which already produces two thirds of this province’s electricity. We have gas-fired technology, which isn’t being employed at anything near capacity. And we have small-scale non-conventional sources of power — solar, geo-thermal and yes, wind.