Are birds and turbines on collision course?

By Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
Ontario’s environmental commissioner “is hitting the nail on the head” by recommending wind turbines not be allowed in Important Bird Areas, says Lambton Shores Coun. John Russell. Commissioner Gord Miller’s recent annual report says Ontario needs to be “smarter about where we place wind power facilities,” adding there are shortcomings in the guidelines for evaluating and reducing turbines’ harmful effects on birds, bats and their habitats. “The Ministry of Natural Resources should rectify these shortcomings and prohibit new wind power development within Ontario’s Important Bird Areas,” Miller said.

Lambton Shores is home to two of the officially designed areas, including the Thedford Flats where thousands of migrating tundra swans stop each spring. It’s also one of the communities where Nextera Energy plans to build the 92-turbine Jericho Wind Energy Centre. Russell who chaired a committee in the 1990s to have the Thedford Flats, a former marsh, designated as one of Ontario’s 70 Important Bird Areas said the turbines shouldn’t be built there, or in the birds’ flight path. “It’s a no-brainer,” he said.

Swans, ducks and geese are “pretty good at avoiding turbines,” said Scott Petrie, an assistant professor at the University of Western Ontario and executive director of Long Point Waterfowl. “You’re not going to have enough hitting turbines that it’s actually going to cause a population decline.” But their tendency to avoid turbines – particularly those placed in important waterfowl habitats – is a reason for concern, according to Petrie. “It’s tantamount to habitat loss because they’re avoiding areas that they would normally use.” Denmark’s experience with the impact of turbines on waterfowl led to a recommendation they not be built within one kilometre of important staging habitats, like the Thedford Flats, Petrie said. He added they also shouldn’t be allowed on waterfowl flight corridors. Read article

Green energy woes discussed at Lambton National Farmers Union annual meeting

By John Phair, Today’s Farmer
There’s not a whole lot good about wind turbines, or for that matter, Ontario’s Green Energy Act. At least that seemed to be the general opinion expressed at the annual meeting of Local 328 (Lambton County) National ­Farmers Union, held recently at the Forest Agricultural Society Hall. Read article

Suncor threat: “There are avenues for Toronto to step in”

By Heather Wright, Sarnia This Week
LAMBTON SHORES – When push comes to shove, Suncor Energy officials say they may turn to the province to push through their wind farm project in Lambton Shores. Chris Scott, Suncor’s project developer, was appearing before Lambton Shores Council recently to talk about the company’s Cedar Point Wind Project. Up to 62 wind turbines will be installed in Lambton Shores and Plympton-Wyoming to generate about 100 megawatts of power.   Read article

Lambton Shores wind projects inch forward; rural residents divided

By Cathy Dobson, The Sarnia Observer

News that the Liberal government is giving a FIT, or Feed-In Tariff, to two large wind turbine projects near her family farm, has jolted Dona Stewardson out of “activist retirement.”

“This is an injustice to our community,” said the former Bosanquet politician, whose family has farmed in Lambton County since 1870. “I believe people on both sides of me have signed options (to lease land for turbines),” Stewardson said. “I have to fight this for my children and my grandchildren. There are not enough health studies yet to know if (turbines) are safe.” Read article

Note to province: We want to be heard

By Lynda Hillman-Rapley, Lakeshore Advance

Lambton Shores – Another letter of concern letter came to Lambton Shores council regarding large scale industrial wind projects that are being proposed. The authors of the letter says the health issues throughout Ontario surround the installations. A second concern is rural life being jeopardized and the residents do not feel they are getting the proper information from the companies. They are asking for a show of support from Lambton Shores council. Councilor Lorrie Scott asked if this municipality sending anything to this group stating they against the turbines. “Or are we?” she asked. Mayor Bill Weber said the Green Energy Act has taken any municipal say out of their hands. Councilor Ruth Illman said this council can’t suck and blow at the same time. “We have an Official Plan where we have okayed these.” Continue reading