Dear Ontario Government, how “serious and irreversible” is a death?

I saw this story early this morning. I hesitate to use the word ‘story’ – it’s not a news story, it’s a life gone way too early, and family that will suffer and hope that their son will recover, while having already lost their daughter. Two weeks ago, before I moved out of province,  I lived my whole life about a kilometre from the crash that killed this young local woman, and critically injured her brother. Extremely tragic, so hard to imagine. Some may think it was another unavoidable death on our roads. That it was not.

The car left Napperton Dr., (North of Kerwood) rolled and hit a hydro pole. That hydro pole… wasn’t there 6 months ago. That hydro pole had no reason being there, except that a wind developer, WPD, struck a deal with Hydro One to relocate the poles, that had been safely in a farmers field for decades, far from the road, on to the County road Right of Way (ROW), where they could colocate their lines on it. You may recall some of the photos earlier this year of this very stretch of road as the lines were going up. The turbines for these poles have not been installed, yet, but have full approval and will probably go in this summer.

[Here are some pictures of WPD’s Napier Wind project poles being installed – you can see the former poles safely out in the farmers field.]

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And they aren’t the only new poles in the area. Anyone who has driven down Kerwood Rd lately knows that this is just the new norm, for dozens of kilometres. Those lines on Kerwood and Elginfield Rd would be NextEra and Suncor’s. I’m infuriated that these companies have been allowed to compromise our community’s safety.

[Pictures from along Kerwood Rd. of NextEra/Suncor poles]

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It’s not that we didn’t try to stop these poles from being installed so close to our roads. A presentation was made to Middlesex County as well as taking our concerns to the OEB. And protests. All of this fell on deaf ears. Those who allowed these poles understood the risks. The county eventually hammered out a road user agreement that was used for all the wind turbine infrastructure on their ROW. Including the poles that killed this woman last night.

It measures 168” (4.27m) from edge of roadway to the face of the pole – this is less than 5m which would be the minimum for a road with a design speed of 80 – 90 km/h and according to the Middlesex County submissions to the OEB last year, it should be at least 5m – but realistically, even that is too close. These poles aren’t in compliance, which leads me to wonder… is the OPP taking this into account in their investigations?

This line for WPD project cuts through Kerwood and south of town the poles are located in the road shoulder  – setback only 3.175m– that’s unacceptable for a road with a design speed of 110km/h – it is supposed to be 7m – quite a difference.  But who’s checking anyways?

My anger then surfaces in these questions, maybe to the ERT, maybe to the MOE, the wind developers, or even to the Premier herself:

How “serious and irreversible” is this woman’s death?

Did the infrastructure in this project cause her death?

If those poles were not there, would she have stood a chance of survival?

And how the hell is one supposed to predict and prove without a doubt that
a) the wind company won’t comply with the setbacks and
b) that this particular accident was going to happen?

Are we supposed to just let these accidents happen FIRST and then act (or not)? This is my worst nightmare, watching this unfold in the community I was born and raised.

This is why I couldn’t stay – and still this hurts too much, even watching from afar. I knew it would be just one casualty after another, and not a damn thing I could do about it when the government has stacked every thing it has against protecting your communities health and safety. Rest in peace Michelle Day.

Esther

23 thoughts on “Dear Ontario Government, how “serious and irreversible” is a death?

  1. This is a devastating reality in so many rural communities across Ontario. Human health is of NO concern to these people. Neither is “saving our environment”. It all boils down to one disgusting thing…..MONEY! Transferring our finances, to those that did not earn it! Those in authority, must be held accountable, for the harm they have caused!

  2. I was already saddened to hear of this tragic death and now I am furious to hear that a relocated pole was involved. With so many poles so close to traffic lanes, more tragedies seem inevitable all over the country roads of Ontario. Praying that Michelle’s brother recovers.

  3. Pingback: An Innocent Life is Gone….Another Victim of the Wind Scam!!! | the Original "Mothers Against Wind Turbines" TM

  4. I look at those polls lining the road and then I think of how many vehicles I see each winter in a ditch because of back ice, poor road conditions, etc. On roads just like those seen in those pictures above, I was one of those just this past winter. Odds are you will simply hit a big pile of snow, get stuck and wait for a tow. Now chances are you will hit one of those polls…not much room for error now is there? How many people swerving to miss a deer end up in a ditch? Drivers loosing control going a bit to fast? I just don’t see how if these are to line all our roads all across the province how we are not going to see more fatalities if they are allowed to put them so close to the edge of the road. This is so sad. My prayers go out to the family.

    • In addition to the extra speed a vehicle picks up as it goes out of control on ice. I think we have all had those close calls, but now there is so much more chance of serious injuries.

  5. There were two deaths that night. Young Michelle’s life and her brother’s spirit. He will never recover from this.

    The bureaucrats and wind company and Ontario government — they’re impervious to this. They are “corporate” entities. “Corporate” from the Latin word meaning “body.” Except, they have no body. Michelle had a body and so does her brother; they are truly corporate/corporeal. These other groups of people (bureaucrats, wind company, Ont. govt.) live in a “corporeal” fiction. It’s all sleight-of-hand. (The word “zombie” comes to mind.)

    The French philosopher Marcel Detienne warned: “As soon as mankind ceases to ‘reverberate’ to the world, the sickness penetrates language.” Language becomes “the victim of illusions produced by words.”

    Esther, my dear, you and your family are human beings — something real, something genuine. (For two years, I lived with Yupik Eskimos, just below the Arctic Circle. They called themselves “the real people of this place.”) These people you’re addressing: they are not the real people of this place — this place where Michelle died. They’re fiction. They are their own fiction. (This is why I urged you not to proceed with the ERT charade: a fiction in front of fictional people.)

    Thank god you and your family, and people like Muriel and Marcelle, never believed that these “fiction characters” were real.

    You are kind to write this, Esther. You are still pointing the way to rural Ontarians, even from New Brunswick. Well done!

    Calvin Luther Martin, PhD
    Editor, WindTurbineSyndrome.com

    • Yes the about fiction and yes we are living spirits Yet we operate in fictions although living.
      Eskimos in time gone by had never became fictions to the corporation of Canada and maybe now hold a status card name to the corporation of Canada similar to the B.C thus registere
      .
      For this reason alone most of our words that utter out of our mouths become dead with no real ears to hear our command to have turbines leave our communities.
      We become collateral damage,as we are dead to them although living because we claim joiner to the name fraud thus fiction to them at the lowest of there pyramid scheme.
      Sorry for this but the truth is somehow hard to swallow and most cannot accept this fraud. Fact is there is a large light at this tunnel if one gets past the shock and aah of this all.
      Until then we will be meat sticks to our rulers that has abandon us and rule under the highest bidder $$ that fund there ideals

  6. This is such a sad event and my heart goes out to the family and friends of these young people. I knew something horrible was wrong as our black night lit up with rescue lights and our local firemen crew headed out in the night.

    Then my road shortly after the hydro went out started to fill up with headlights going in a caravan down our road. I knew this meant there was a detour and people were forwarded down our way. Certainly not the first time this ever happened.

    Not that there was a problem with the road being used as a detour but the fact that these many cars of all shapes and sizes (many small, or expensive town cars the majority) were pointed down our gravel road in the pitch black. Some undoubtedly not used to touching a gravel road on their commute to and from work.

    As you can well imagine being shaken as you are directed from the scene of an accident your now pointed down a side road, the issue I have is that to add insult to injury this particular road has been used as a major access road now for 7 months.

    These people had to use THIS road! Even living on this road I rarely go down it even with full 4 wheel drive. Its been ruined by our lovely wind project next terrors crews. Even the grader that comes 2 times a day cant fix this crap!

    thousands of vehicles have managed to wreck it, I bet these people had a real eye opening experience using it last night! If you managed to stay out of the deep pot holes, the soft parts like quick sand that suck your tires in and avoid the crushed up slabs of SHARP pieces of concrete they have thrown on the road instead of normal gravel, then surely distracted by the 2 cranes erecting the the turbine only a stones throw from the actual road with the blades laying right there you’d be just fine.

    yes what a detour it must have been for these people! some where clearly confused as they neared the end of this road as it turns into a dead end road and with nothing marked which way to go. Like I said clearly NOT gravel road regulars.

    This maddens me as well. Its just another show of disrespect for anyone passing in this hell hole of a township. Just how these companies with NO RESPECT slap you in the face time and time again! Our roads shouldn’t be used as access roads in the first place, when the public needs them at such an event like this, never a thought given to the public at all.

    For anyone set to have these SOB’s come to your neighborhood expect the worse because that’s what you get!

    • k…… Come to Haldimand County and see the same destruction of roads! Bains Road, in Eastern Haldimand, in particular has been literally “torn up” since February and our Council promises to make necessary repairs as soon as Avertex is finished installing the power lines, in the road and the roadway, for Samsung/Pattern. In the meantime, we would be better off taking an ATV across open fields than trying to negotiate our local roads in a car or truck. This gravel road has been virtually impassable for months and our Council has given the Wind Company carte blanche to ignore half load season and run multiple dump trucks, tractor trailers, tracked equipment including bulldozers etc. down this road through all weather conditions. We have yet to see a Haldimand County grader on this road…. at least with the blade down!

  7. These stupid companies have bent the rules yet again to push their project through at the cost of the safety of our residents. This kind of accident will sadly happen again and again, I fear more with the amount of poles and decreased setbacks happening in all townships set to be plastered with projects.

    living in the country all my life I have been witness to cars doing just this. The fact that speeds for county roads are higher aren’t even considered in their plans for where they place their routes.

    Many cars do leave the road and find a tree or pole, this is very common and I’m certain many country residents can dredge up many a memory and then some of encountering this sad fate. This is not an isolated incident it happens and the fact it does, should have never been ignored in the first place.

    Shame on the county for ever letting these rules bend, all for what!?

    • Similar story here. The poles were planned to go through the fields, but too many landowners rejected the proposal, so it was decided to place them on public property instead.

  8. How tragic and only the begin all for supposed “green / clean energy” whatever I believe the ONLY thing green in this is the selfishness and greed of money !!! At the “expense” of a 27 yr old life NOT yet lived ..,, and that is okay !! Does this make our “re-elected” liberal government proud of their “accomplishments” ? Seriously what has our society come to ? Absolutely devastating and down right disgraceful ! :(((

  9. If you know something is wrong – and, you still do it;
    and, it causes harm – are you guilty?

    ‘[excerpt] It’s not that we didn’t try to stop these poles from being installed so close to our roads. A presentation was made to Middlesex County as well as taking our concerns to the OEB. And protests. All of this fell on deaf ears. Those who allowed these poles understood the risks. The county eventually hammered out a road user agreement that was used for all the wind turbine infrastructure on their ROW. Including the poles that killed this woman last night.’

    ‘[excerpt] These poles aren’t in compliance, which leads me to wonder… is the OPP taking this into account in their investigations?’

    Middlesex County – should be put on notice;
    along with their insurance company.

    Note: Who in their right mind –
    – would provide insurance to Middlesex County –
    – without an additional clause – excluding these poles?

    Where is the community outrage –
    and, will criminal charges be @ the local level of government –
    – for knowing the risks?

    Someone has to take responsibility!

    • Middlesex County:
      Poorly managed;
      and this – just blew up in their face!

      …or, is this just another Liberal ‘mistake’ –
      that should be covered up – and, ignored?

      I’m a mother – and, I feel pain too.

      Ontario – it only gets worse!

  10. What about the tree that killed a young lady a few km up the road two years ago. Let’s blame who planted the tree 50 years ago. Let the family there friends and the little minds she inspired each day to be the best they can be mourn. They deserve at least that. Accidents happen. Both young women had beautiful hearts. I knew both young ladies . At a time like this a community comes together not point fingers and put blame on others. I am aware of the poles as well as other obsacles like the deep ditches, gaulies ,trees, poles and cement calverts along this stretch of high way!

  11. Families who go through a tragic death such as this don’t get over it. They get used to it but don’t get over it. My condolences to the family.

    Seems to me that utility poles that are out of compliance lead to lawsuits and I hope there will be a big settlement in this case. That’s the only way that compliance can be enforced.

  12. THERE IS A PROBLEM DOWNLOADING THE JAVA PHOTOS FOR THIS ARTICLE. Can this be fixed

    This is the reason photos were taken and will continue to be taken.

    Speed should be reduced on this road and warning signs posted for dangerous road conditions.

    Winter ice and any vehicle could slide into one of these poles.There are break-a-way poles should have been used.

    USW wants all these steel poles to provide workers with jobs manking them.

  13. Someone at Hydro One had to approve these poles being out of compliance.

    Guard rails should be installed all along this stretch of road.

    These companies are being allowed to install these poles the cheapest way possible.

    • That’s a great idea! If those companies have the money to bend municipal rules and bylaws, they have the money to install guard rails. Guard rails are installed around highway overpasses as safety barriers.

      • Mayors and their – @ the hip CAO’s –
        ‘red flagged’ –
        ‘filthy rich’ – foreign corporations……
        ………..and, cut them a break!

        Reason:
        too expensive –
        to bury the transmission wires;
        and, filthy rich corporations – prove once again –
        they are good corporate citizens –
        working for their shareholders.

        p.s. compromising safety – not an issue

  14. John E: “This gravel road has been virtually impassable for months and our Council has given the Wind Company carte blanche to ignore half load season and run multiple dump trucks, tractor trailers, tracked equipment including bulldozers etc. down this road through all weather conditions. ”

    Municipal councils throughout Ont have made these “agreements” with Wind companies to destroy the roads all for making their construction schedule a little easier. The same company doled out a few dollars for an agreement with Ashfield (ACW) township for the K2 mammoth wind plant. Ordinary ratepayers building a new barn would be prosecuted for violating the half load measures, but Samsung… they are allowed to thumb their nose at such trivialities. The few dollars they are to pay will never begin to repair the damage caused. The roads are built and maintained for regular agricultural, light industry and residential vehicle use, not giant construction equipment involved in wind factory construction.
    Who is left to enforce the road use regulations and laws in Ont?

  15. If possible, get photos of any violations.
    Photo the IWT parts in transport to see if they are properly secured. Also photo the tires on these vehicles if possible.

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