A group of landowners in the Mapleton and Arthur area is getting together to fight the wind farms proposed by Nextera Energy — and any other companies wanting to put up turbines.
A large protest is planned at the Drayton PMD Arena on Tuesday, Nov. 30 at 6 p.m., in conjunction with a public meeting being held by Nextera at the arena that evening. Around 15 people met at the farm of Bill Kabbes, out the Centre Sideroad in Mapleton Township this week, to finalize plans.
Brad Marquardt, one of the local landowners, asked if doing an on-line petition or having a form letter people could download, customize, print off and then mail in would be more effective. He also presented copies of a flyer which the group is planning to mail out and use as an advertisement in local papers to tell people about the proposed protest. The back page of the flyer contains information from a recent meeting held in Picton.
Bill Kabbes said he has already spoken to the OPP about the protest to ensure public safety. He also called the township to see if a permit was needed to hold the demonstration. He called the arena and was told the planned protest was a concern because of figure skating and hockey also being held that evening. The Drayton arena has nowhere near as much room as the Fergus arena where a protest was held recently. Kabbes said lighting would also be a concern because it is already dark by 6 p.m. but there will be police present, some in plain clothes to blend into the crowd.
Kabbes said the signs will not be allowed into the hall and there can be no protests inside. A limited number of people will be allowed into the hall so doors will be closed when it’s full. When people leave, others will be let in.
Marquardt said, “We gotta show a big presence.”
Duncan Lamond suggested the group invite more politicians than what had already been invited. He has contacted several radio and television stations, as well newspapers both local and further a field. He said everyone should call or write MPP John Wilkinson, who is also Minister of the Environment, to ask him to come to the rally. Politicians Ted Arnott, Mike Chong, Gary Schellenberger, and Bill Murdoch have also been invited to attend.
Marquardt said people to help with parking, perhaps shuttle buses to bring people in from other parking lots in the area and people with safety vests to direct traffic will be needed. Tyler Struyk suggested the Kinsmen could help with the parking and the vests. He is a member of the club and will take the request to the membership.
Kabbes said they have to have a presentation of some kind at the rally but it has to be kept short. He said someone should welcome everyone, and then give the politicians in attendance an opportunity for a few short words.
“We don’t want it to get out of hand. Be professional,” Kabbes said.
He said one of the issues with wind farms is that property values drop, “but I’m not going anywhere, it’s my livelihood.”
Everyone will be urged to go inside and ask questions, he said, as this is the last public meeting as required under the Green Energy Act.
“At this point they have their landowners and their plan,” Kabbes said.