Mr. Rick Nicholls: My question is to the Premier. A Chatham-Kent constituent of mine found an 18-inch section of a wind turbine blade on his farm while farming this spring. He found a blade on his property some 400 feet from the base of the turbine in question. I have documented proof, and I will be sending these pictures over to you for review.
Fortunately, there was no damage to his property or personal injury to anyone, but this raises a very serious safety issue. Picture a 2.3-megawatt turbine with a blade length of 135 feet, standing some 400 feet tall. It should also be noted that the blade tip speed rate rotates at 164 miles per hour.
I, along with many of my riding, am rightly concerned for the safety of my residents. Premier, my question to you is simply this: Will your government do the right thing and put a moratorium on turbine developments until there is a thorough review of safety standards pertaining to industrial wind turbines?
Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Minister of Energy.
Hon. Bob Chiarelli: First of all, I want to thank the member for bringing that particular issue to our attention. It’s not something that I had been advised of previously, but certainly we will take that under advisement. We’ll look at the circumstances around this particular issue.
We do have a very robust environmental assessment process moving forward, but I think we have to under-stand that, when something like this happens, we need to look at it very carefully in terms of public safety. It’s the same as a piece of metal falling off an airplane, which occasionally occurs; you try to avoid those things hap-pening as much as possible.
I take your question seriously. We’ll look into the circumstances. I will consult with my colleague the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change with respect to environmental assessments—
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you.
Hon. Bob Chiarelli:—and we will check with our—
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you. I shouldn’t have to say “thank you” twice.
Mr. Rick Nicholls: Well, the message from the government could very well be that public safety isn’t a problem, but Premier, recently Transport Canada ordered GDF SUEZ in my riding to take down eight industrial wind turbines that have violated airport zoning regulations at the Chatham municipal airport.
Premier, I’ve spoken with many pilots, and they all say that it’s too dangerous to fly in and out of that airport, especially when there are adverse weather conditions. These turbines pose a huge safety issue around any airport, whether it be in Chatham or even Collingwood. Literally translated, Premier, an encounter with one of these imposing turbines or pieces of shrapnel will result in body bags. None of us want that.
Premier, safety trumps all, and I know you know that. I’m not an aerospace engineer, but I do know that shrapnel travelling at close to 200 miles per hour poses a significant safety risk for aircraft and humans.
My question, Premier, is this: Will your government take the initiative, since you are paying huge subsidies, and review turbine placement and provincial safety standards for turbine erection in all of Ontario?
Hon. Bob Chiarelli: Minister of the Environment.
Hon. Glen R. Murray: First, I want to say that we take these things very seriously, and safety standards have to be second to none, so I want to assure the member that both myself and my colleagues on this side will take it seriously.
I do want to make sure that we have perspective on this, because I know you live about two blocks from here, and I know that the building next door to you had several large pieces fall off of it, and glass fell to the street. That was one of about seven buildings in central Toronto at which that happened. That is also an equally serious problem. No one opposite suggested that we put a moratorium on condominium construction in Toronto, because you know what the reaction would be.
We have to make sure that we’re taking all of these problems seriously. We take this very seriously when we see glass falling out of a condo tower or when we see a piece coming off a wind turbine. But wind turbines cannot be held to a higher standard of safety than any other similar situation. I hope that we’ll get as many questions on condo towers as we’ll get on wind turbines.