PORT ELGIN, ON, April 11, 2012 /CNW/ – The CAW has ignored the sustained protests of hundreds of local residents of Port Elgin, Ontario, and erected a 100m tall industrial wind turbine as close as 200m to dozens of homes. Ontario law now requires such turbines to be at least 550m away from residences due to concerns about noise and health, but this turbine was approved several months before this law came into effect. A further protest is scheduled to take place this Saturday April 14 between 1 and 3pm in Port Elgin.
The Town, Chamber of Commerce, and residents have all repeatedly expressed opposition to the turbine, which can cause harmful health effects, ice throws, and devaluation of property if placed too close to residents.
Local residents formed a group called S.T.O.P., and are engaged in picketing and a boycott of CAW products. But according to spokesperson Greg Schmalz, “the CAW is responding like a corporation. It insists that it can no longer change course at this time because its has already invested significant sums of money in its project to date.” The CAW has refused to come to the bargaining table to discuss any settlement regarding the removal of the turbine.
Although the CAW has attempted to frame its project as a green initiative, the turbine is not part of a wind-farm and will not significantly contribute to Ontario’s power grid. “Effectively, the CAW’s turbine is a vanity project,” said Nicolas Rouleau, lawyer for several concerned residents. “While the turbine won’t generate much electricity, the CAW is building it to boost its green image. But in doing so, the CAW is trampling on its neighbours.” By receiving heavy public subsidies for its wind power generation, the turbine will also recover the turbine’s expenses on the taxpayer’s dime.
The turbine is expected to begin operation as early as this weekend.