Monthly Archives: December 2011
by J. Morris, Ingersoll Times
The Ontario government’s December 16 press release relates to a report commissioned by the Ministry of the Environment and written by HGC, an engineering firm. The timing of this press release is curious, as it appears the same report was in draft form in August 2010 then submitted as a Final Draft December 2010 by the MOE as evidence during the Environmental Review Tribunal and finally to the public in August 2011. Why would it suddenly warrant a press release in December 2011? Could it be an attempt to divert attention from the upcoming appeal hearing in the Watford area for the Zephyr wind project?
Statements about ‘no direct health effects’ are a red herring, because it is acknowledged by international experts (including experts called upon by the MOE and wind energy proponents) that wind turbines cause adverse health effects via the ‘indirect’ pathway. Even Mr. Howe (of HGC) acknowledged under oath at the 2011 Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) that indirect effects are still ‘something that can occur’.
The press release raises a number of questions:
– When it comes to health, why is the government commissioning reports and relying on information generated by an engineering firm, who is a member of the Canadian Wind Energy Association?
– Why are desk top literature reviews still the government’s method of choice to address concerns rather than properly designed independent field epidemiology studies performed by qualified epidemiology experts?
– Why was the press release issued now, when the referenced report was compiled in 2010?
The press release and report unfortunately do no justice to the families who have already been impacted and displace from their homes at projects throughout the province due to adverse health effects.
It is important to reiterate that, after weeks of testimony from experts around the world in 2011, the Environmental Review Tribunal for the Kent Breezes project concluded:
“This case has successfully shown that the debate should not be simplified to one about whether wind turbines can cause harm to humans. The evidence presented to the tribunal demonstrated that they can, if facilities are placed too close to residents. The debate has now evolved to one of degree.”
J. Morris, Woodstock
In his letter, “Wind Trumps Nuclear”, Gideon Forman shows that he doesn’t understand the anger that has been directed against wind turbines in this province. None of the protest groups has ever claimed that wind power is worse for your health than coal or nuclear. But because wind is safer, Forman seems to think Ontarians should happily allow industries to put windmills wherever they wish, to let the provincial government continue to trample on individual and municipal rights, to ignore declining property values due to nearby windmills, and to ignore any possible link between windmills and repeated cases of ill health.
I find it apalling that an association of physicians is willing to allow the health risks that seem to follow windmills. Doctors in Ontario, the US and Europe have all recommended that windmills be set back far more than Ontario’s 550 meters. The French Academy of Medicine recommends 1500 meters, and some American doctors recommend 2000 meters or more. Given the correlation between windmills and stories of poor health, even if there is not yet a proven direct link, any group of physicians worthy of the name should at least be pushing for more than 550 meters between windmills and houses. It is unacceptable that the best the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment can do is to advocate that we let people suffer for the common good.
Adam Shirley, London
December 28, 2011
In response to the letter by Gideon Forman, Wind trumps nuclear (Dec. 26): Forman mention’s “the new study,” but gives no indication of what the study is or who conducted it. He goes on to say: “Windmills produce no smog, no acid rain, no toxic ash, no radioactive waste, no cancer.”
I wonder if Forman has ever looked into how these structures are produced and from what they are produced, what their longevity is and what happens to them when they fail. His letter is about as far from accurate as one could get.
Many of Ontario’s residents are reporting health problems they claim are caused by wind-turbine syndrome, but letters such as Forman’s suggest they are all liars or possibly, it’s in their heads. There are way too many persons claiming ill effects by wind turbines, so dismissing them all is not credible.
Green energy? Hogwash.
The only thing green about wind-generated electricity is all the extra green each Ontarian has to pay for this “green energy.” Wind is notoriously unreliable, blowing when not needed and needed when not blowing – which means if the so-called non-green production is cut too much, we’ll not have the capacity needed to heat or cool our homes during severe periods of weather, resulting in the death of vulnerable people when the power fails.
Ian Tuck, Exeter
December 29, 2011
Just wondering how many massive wind and solar developments are proposed for Toronto? How about GAS plants? Hmmmm. Well, apparently Lambton County may have to welcome all three, even if T.O. doesn’t want them. And a massive landfill dump or two too. Wonder why we aren’t too happy out here Dalton???
POWER GENERATION: The coal-fired station may be a candidate for natural gas after construction of a Toronto plant was stopped
By PAUL MORDEN, QMI Agency
SARNIA – The next 12 months could determine if Ontario’s coal-fired power plant near Sarnia has a future.
Ontario Power Generation’s Lambton station in Courtright is scheduled to close in 2014, as Ontario’s Liberal government makes good on its promise – delayed several times – to phase out production of electricity from coal-fired power plants.
But the idea of converting the facility to a cleaner-burning fuel hasn’t been ruled out.
“Ontario Power is investigating the conversion of its coal-fired unit to clean fuels, including natural gas and biomass,” said Paul Gerard, a spokesperson with Ontario’s Ministry of Energy.
“No decision has been made on conversion at the Lambton Generating Station.” Read the rest of this entry
Size doesn’t matter when it comes to wind turbines say environmentalists
By Heather Wright Sarnia & Lambton County This Week — Dec 26, 2011
WATFORD – The health effects of four wind turbines just outside of Watford will be under scrutiny at an Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal hearing in January.
The Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group filed the appeal after provincial government approved Green Breeze Energy’s four turbine 10 megawatt project worth about $22 million.
WAG’s lawyer, Eric Gillespie, says this is only the second time a project has been reviewed since the provincial government changed the Green Energy Act to allow appeals for “serious harm to human health.”
The hearing moved ahead Dec. 22, after the tribunal dismissed a motion from the Ministry of the Environment to call off the hearing. Lawyers suggested WAG didn’t provide enough information. The tribunal decided there was enough information to go ahead.
Gillespie says the main focus of the hearing will be the “numerous indirect health effects associated with wind turbines such as sleep disturbance, vertigo, nausea, headaches.”
There are many industrial wind farm projects about to begin in Lambton County, some with dozens of turbines. Gillespie expects the size of the Zephyr project will be brought up. But he says studies in the US have show the number of turbines in a neighbourhood is not a contributing factor to the problems.
“It doesn’t really seem to matter whether the project is two or three or maybe four turbines or a much large projects,” says Gillespie. “The effects of people living in close proximity seem to be the same no matter what the size of the project.
“A project down in Maine …in a place they were finding people feeling the effects more than 6,000 meters away from just three turbines.”
Gillespie says the tribunal has already recognized the problems associated with wind turbines but he says it may take many more rulings to convince the government to change distance restrictions on the projects.
“Whether it’s four turbines or forty turbines you are going to continue to see people raise concerns,” says Gillespie.
An Ontario Environment Ministry lawyer says an appeal of a four-turbine wind-farm project near Watford, is laughable and a mockery. At an Environmental Review Tribunal preliminary hearing in Wyoming today (Thurs), Frederika Rotter asked for the appeal to be dismissed saying it’s based on concerns, not fact. Esther Wrightman of the Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group calls the Ministry’s posture “insulting”.
The Tribunal will consider the motion to “dismiss” January 6th. If a hearing does proceed, it’s set to begin February 21st in Brooke Alvinston.
By DANIEL PUNCH, The Observer Dec 22 2011
WYOMING — The appeal of a new wind farm project in Brooke-Alvinston township is “abusive” and “laughable,”says counsel for the Ontario Ministry of Environment.
“All they have done is raised concerns,” said lawyer Frederika Rotter during a preliminary hearing on Thursday.
“People can be concerned until the cows come home.”
Representatives for the ministry, the Zephyr wind project and the Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group (WAG) met in Lambton County council chambers in Wyoming to discuss the $22 million, four-turbine wind farm under construction near Watford.
WAG is appealing the project because of concerns for its effects on the health of nearby residents.
It was the preliminary hearing for the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) to review WAG’s appeal. The provincial government has already approved the project, which should be operational in early 2012.
The ministry is seeking to have the appeal thrown out, arguing that it does not provide evidence on how this specific project will be harmful. Rotter says this appeal only rehashes issues covered in an ERT tribunal earlier this year for a wind project near Thamesville.
But WAG member Harvey Wrightman says his group is not the one presenting stale arguments.
“If anybody’s rehashing it, I think it’s the other side,” Wrightman said. “We’ll see when the evidence is presented (and) what new evidence they have.”
The preliminary meeting was held to address scheduling and administrative issues. ERT vice-chair Paul Muldoon was the only member of the panel at the proceedings. He directed counsel that a preliminary hearing was not the place for judication.
“I cannot, without my panel, unilaterally make a determination,” Muldoon told Rotter. “That is just the way it is.”
Both the Ministry and Green Breeze Energy Inc. filed motions before the hearing. The ministry was looking to have the appeal thrown out while Green Breeze, the company building the wind farm, was seeking to limit the scope of evidence to just new information ever since the Thamesville tribunal.
The ERT didn’t approve the ministry’s motion but asked the appellants to give specifics about the potential harm of the project. WAG revised its appeal, but the ministry isn’t satisfied it met the request.
“If there aren’t any further particulars, there’s nothing to have a hearing about,” Rotter said. “Honestly, we have no idea what this appeal is about.”
Wrightman says the appeal is different than the one put forward in Thamesville. Residents living near the Kent Breeze wind power project have since filed a $1.5 million lawsuit against Suncor, the project’s owner, and many have complained of health issues.
“It’s pretty powerful when people are that determined,” Wrightman said.
The ERT is set to meet Jan. 6 in Toronto to discuss the motions. The hearing will begin Feb. 21 and will be held in Alvinston. The ERT has until May 15 — six months from the date of the appeal — to make a decision.
GREEN ENERGY: Adelaide Metcalfe is considering charging thousands of dollars a unit instead of the current $500
A plan to escalate fees for companies wanting to erect wind turbines in Adelaide Metcalfe has been deferred until politicians can determine if charging $10,000 per turbine would cover the potential costs.
The current fee is $500, which local politicians have said is far too low to justify the engineering costs and other expenses which the Strathroy-area municipality could incur as the massive wind machines are put into service.
A council meeting this week to determine how much more to charge — the proposal was $10,000 per turbine — drew scores of residents.
Many called for even higher fees, along the lines of the $40,000 some Ontario communities are charging.
One resident said $10,000 would be too low even to inspect one of the structures.
Council heard submissions for about two hours before sending the matter back to staff to look at whether Adelaide Metcalfe should be a leader or a follower in the fee battle.
“What really pleased me was the response from the community,” said Esther Wrightman, who recalled that she and her family felt alone in their opposition when they first started talking with council a year ago.
Two wind energy giants, NextEra and Suncor, are looking to build as many as 68 turbines in the rural community.
Although the province has been promoting its green energy strategy — and this week promoted a report that says wind turbines don’t have any direct health effects — opponents say turbines can produce low frequency noise, harm bird migration and reduce property values.
Green energy giants NextEra and Suncor plan to build as many as 68 wind turbines in the Adelaide Metcalfe area in two separate projects.
No date was set for Adelaide Metcalfe council to debate the issue again.
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*NOTE: TIME change*
Feb. 21, 22, 23, 24, 28, 29 2012
Council Chambers, County of Lambton, 789 Broadway Street, Wyoming Map
On Friday Dec 16 the Environmental Review Tribunal dismissed a motion put forth bu the Ministry of the Environment to have our appeal of the Zephyr wind project ‘dismissed’. See here: Zephyr ERT – Order – Dismiss – 11-12-16
Now on to the Preliminary Hearing on December 22nd in Wyoming at the county chambers.
A new NextEra ad for the Bornish project in the London Free Press today- just like the Adelaide one a month or so ago.
You know what really bites about these ads? This sentence:
“The legal effect of this Notice is should another party, not affiliated with this project, pursue future development in the area, they are soley responsible to ensure noise levels meet all regulatory requirements….”
Yep, what they are saying is they are moving hundreds of turbines into our townships, and from now on all the residents and other devlopers must ensure that THEY are 550m away from the turbines NextEra has proposed. They have basically stole 550m of land around each proposed turbine – even if it is not on the signed property. People should be screaming about this type of invasion, plain and simple.
By DANIEL PUNCH, The Observer Dec 17 2011
Opponents of the government-approved Zephyr wind farm project near Watford will get the chance to state their case to Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal.
A preliminary hearing to appeal the project will be held Dec. 22 at Lambton County’s Wyoming council chambers. The next hearing is scheduled for Jan. 11.
The Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group (WAG) filed the appeal in the wake of government approval for the $22-million, four-turbine, 10-MW wind farm. Green Breeze Energy Inc. is currently building the farm’s infrastructure near Churchill Line between Ebenezer and Walnut roads.
WAG member Esther Wrightman says the group is demanding a proper health study before the government goes through with wind energy projects.
“It needs to be addressed, it needs to be looked at, we need to have a study,” Wrightman said. “Without the information, I don’t know how they can feel comfortable installing these machines near people.” Read the rest of this entry
Dec. 16th 2011 Sarnia Blackburn Radio News
Those interested in a four-turbine wind farm near Watford were met by locked doors at a planned Environmental Review Tribunal hearing in Wyoming Thursday. The preliminary hearing was rescheduled by the province, with little-to-no public notification. Brooke-Alvinston Mayor Don McGugan sent representation to the meeting, only to be notified by mail that the hearing had been called off.
Observers and those with standing found the Lambton County Council Chambers dark and were sent home with rescheduled dates and locations yet to be confirmed. The Environmental Review Tribunal’s website says a preliminary hearing will be held December 22nd with county staff noting the council chambers have been booked for the day.
This is my big plea of the year. Please do what you can to help- every bit that you can give is very much appreciated.
As you may have heard, the Zephyr Wind development south of Watfordis being appealed by us (Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group Inc.). Although this may seem small in our local eyes, it is actually a huge appeal in the province’s eyes – this is where the spotlight is shining on inOntario in the big picture, little ‘ol Watford andWyoming.
What we must all understand is that fighting against the Zephyr project (wherever you live in this province), is fighting for the project in your area as well. I don’t live in the Zephyr project, but I am as concerned about this appeal as I would if it was in my back field.
Many of you may remember the Thamesville Environmental Review Tribunal appeal this spring. The wind industry and government touted it as a victory. What they didn’t realize is that they actually lost. Yes, they did. The decision on July 18, after weeks of testimony from experts from around the world in Chatham states:
“This case has successfully shown that the debate should not be simplified to one about whether wind turbines can cause harm to humans. The evidence presented to the tribunal demonstrated that they can, if facilities are placed too close to residents. The debate has now evolved to one of degree.”
Below is a donation form with more information on the appeal. Please- print it off, read it and send a contribution to the appeal. Every donation is much appreciated- we cannot do this without your support. To double the effort, please print off a couple extra copies for friends and neighbours who are interested in fighting wind turbine development in rural Ontario.
Thank you all very much for all your help this year – we are in a better place than we were a year ago – I can count all the good things that have happened, but I need more than one hand to do it- that is a wonderful sign! Let’s keep the momentum going, and help with this huge step forward in our fight.
Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group Inc.
Lambton shores residents may see hundreds of wind turbines in their township. But many are saying “NO”.
A wind turbine near Dalry and Ardrossan in North Ayrshire caught fire during Scotland’s extreme weather on Dec 8th 2011.
OK- so how far are those huge burning chunks of fiberglass flying? Further than 550m. We have turbines placed less than topple distance from roads– proposed to line the 402 highway— our setbacks do not take these types of disatsers into consideration.
By CATHY DOBSON, The Observer Dec 6 2011
Local renewable energy opponents jumped on the auditor general’s report Tuesday, saying it adds steam to their argument Ontario should back away from its Green Energy Act.
“The main problem with wind turbines is health concerns but there hasn’t been a lot of consideration given to the costs,” said Ann Towell, a member of the Dawn-Euphemia chapter of Wind Concerns Ontario.
“I think our group is thrilled the auditor general is pointing out the costs to taxpayers. It may mean people on the periphery take a look at the Green Energy Act again.”
Ontario Auditor General Jim McCarter’s annual report estimated the Liberal’s green energy plan could drive up hydro bills 8% a year for the next five years.
He said wind and solar projects were fast-tracked without the usual oversight.
“There has been a lack of analysis that you’d normally find when you’re investing billions of dollars,” McCarter said.
Generous financial incentives such as the FIT (Feed-in-Tariff) system of subsidized power contracts may impact the energy bills of homeowners and businesses more than anticipated.
FIT has helped kickstart a number of renewable energy projects, but will cost $4.4 billion more than the previous renewable energy program, said McCarter.
As well, the intermittent nature of renewables means guaranteed FIT contracts will pay generators up to $225 million a year when they’re not producing power.
Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey called the auditor general’s report scathing.
“The McGuinty government’s expensive approach to energy, especially its rich FIT subsidies, permanent debt retirement charge and energy exports, is actively killing jobs in Ontario’s broader economy.”
Rather than create 50,000 green energy jobs, as the Liberal’s claimed, the Green Energy Act will fall short, according to McCarter. An estimated 30,000 of those jobs will be temporary construction work only.
“The auditor general has once again given this government a failing grade on his annual report card,” Bailey said. “What’s more, this report confirms what we in Sarnia-Lambton already know: the McGuinty government’s approach to energy is too expensive and is killing good jobs.”
Brooke-Alvinston Mayor Don McGugan has been an outspoken critic of the legislation because it took decision-making authority away from municipalities. Read the rest of this entry
A fee hike for turbines in Adelaide-Metcalfe is long overdue – right now a spinning, electrical machine that stands 500′ tall pays the same fee as a wood shed to our township – $500. The Twp is willing to raise it to $10 000 but that is still much too low, especially when looking at having over 120 of these machines operating here. To the residents in Adelaide-Metcalfe – please attend the meeting :
Adelaide-Metcalfe IWT Building Permit Fee Meeting
Date: Mon. Dec. 19
Time: 7:00-8:30 PM
Location: Adelaide-Metcalfe Council Chambers
2340 Egremont Dr., Adelaide MAP
Turbine fees could soar
WIND ENERGY: Adelaide Metcalfe considers upping building permit charge to $10,000 from $500 per unit
By DEBORA VAN BRENK, The London Free Press Dec. 6, 2011
Wind energy companies may have to pay sky-higher fees if they want to set up shop in Adelaide Metcalfe.
And the Strathroy-area municipality’s plan is only one of several ways turbine opponents and politicians are showing frustration with what they see as a lack of local decision-making power about green energy.
Charging a building-permit fee of $10,000 per turbine — the current fee is $500 — isn’t a cash grab and is intended to be a break-even plan, Adelaide Metcalfe Mayor David Bolton said Monday.
“Our fees are enough to cover our costs.”
An engineering review of a single turbine can cost $4,500, Bolton said, and that doesn’t include re-reviews or inspection costs. Adelaide Metcalfe has planned a public meeting on Dec. 19 about the proposed fee hike.
Bolton hopes the higher levy will be in place by January — well before any turbines are in the ground.
Green electricity giant NextEra Energy has applied to build 38 turbines in Adelaide Metcalfe; in addition, Suncor has prepared a draft plan to erect as many as 30 more turbines in roughly the same area, to a maximum of 154 metres (500 feet) high. Read the rest of this entry
Highlights from Queen’s Park Dec 1st 2011
Mr. Tim Hudak: Speaker, the incredible arrogance of the McGuinty government: He says, “We will not waver,” “We will not listen,” “We will not care,” “We will not listen to local people from across the province of Ontario,” because Dalton McGuinty believes he knows best.
John Wilkinson is no longer here. Leona Dombrowsky is no longer here. Carol Mitchell, Maria Van Bommel, Rick Johnson, Lou Rinaldi and Pat Hoy did not stand up for their constituents; they didn’t do the right thing. I’m proud to say that now Conservative members represent each and every one of those constituents, standing up for local residents, saying no, saying, “Restore local decision-making.”
That same song and dance cost you all these members, Premier. Have you heard the message? Do you get the music?
The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bas Balkissoon): Further debate? The member from Lambton–Kent–Middlesex.
Mr. Monte McNaughton: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I’m pleased to rise in support of Bill 10, the Local Municipality Democracy Act, 2011, put forward by my colleague Mr. Smith from the fantastic riding of Prince Edward–Hastings. This is an important bill and one that I proudly support on behalf of my constituents in Lambton–Kent–Middlesex, some of whom are here today.
The Local Municipality Democracy Act will amend the Green Energy Act and the Planning Act so that local municipalities can return to their traditional planning processes. You see, Mr. Speaker, as a former three-term municipal councillor, I understand and respect our municipal partners and I support the rights and responsibilities of municipalities to pass bylaws and make these important decisions locally.
I’ve said this before, and I’m certainly not alone in saying that the greatest injustice of the Dalton McGuinty government is that his bureaucrats are here in downtown Toronto, making decisions about where to locate industrial wind turbines in my riding of Lambton–Kent–Middlesex and throughout the province of Ontario.
The meat of our debate today is that since the implementation of the Ontario Green Energy Act, municipalities no longer have the ability to incorporate specific requirements within their official plans and zoning bylaws as to appropriate locations and setbacks for these types of facilities. It’s an absolute disgrace that the government continues to ignore the will of local residents in the 80 elected municipal councils who have demanded that their local decision-making powers be restored.
For Dalton McGuinty and the government of the day sitting here in Toronto to think that they know what is best for a municipality and its elected council is at best arrogant, but more likely is outright wrong.
In my riding, we’ve already had resolutions passed by many municipalities and we’ve heard from residents, families and small businesses. All of them are concerned with the lack of input from town councils in regard to these types of facilities.
This bill addresses these concerns and will make sure that our municipalities, our partners in democracy in government, have a voice and a say in how land within the municipality is developed and utilized.
I have been pleased to work with MPP Smith to help with this important piece of legislation. I look forward to supporting this bill here today and encourage all of my colleagues in this House to support the bill today as well. Thank you.
The appeal of the Zephyr wind farm project was filed by the Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group and the province’s Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) has scheduled a preliminary hearing for Dec. 15, 10 a.m., in the council chambers at the Lambton County buildings in Wyoming.
A hearing is scheduled for Jan. 11 at the same location.
Esther Wrightman, a member of the action group that is opposed to industrial wind farms, said it will be represented at the hearings by Toronto lawyer Eric Gillespie who represented wind opponents earlier this year at an appeal of a Thamesville wind farm project.
The tribunal dismissed that appeal saying opponents failed to show that project would cause serious harm to human health.
“However,” the tribunal added, “the evidence shows that there are some risks and uncertainties associated with wind turbines that merit further research.”
If the tribunal rules a renewable energy project will cause serious harm to human health, or the environment, it can revoke or alter the provincial approval.
Brent Hall, vice-president of strategic planning for the wind farm’s owner, Mississauga-based Green Breeze Energy Inc., said in November that work on the project would continue if an appeal was filed.
Wrightman said group members feel good about having Gillespie helping them with the Zephyr Wind Farm appeal.
“We’re lucky that he keeps his nose to the grindstone on this and keeps chipping away at it,” Wrightman said.
Zephyr Wind Farm is a $22-million, 10-MW project being built near Churchill Line, between Ebenezer and Old Walnut roads in Brooke-Alvinston Township.
The wind group’s appeal will be a continuation of arguments made in the Thamesville case, Wrightman said.
“The ERT there did say people are harmed by wind turbines, but they said they didn’t know by what extent.”
Wrightman said the wind action group’s arguments against the Zephyr project “will be based mostly on the health issues. On whether people there will be harmed, and just holding the government’s feet to the fire.”
Ideally, Wrightman said, they would like to stop the Zephyr project and have the provincial government “come to the conclusion that these projects are harming people and that they do need to stop and think, and have the studies done.”
The group, and other industrial wind farm opponents, have been pushing the provincial government to place a moratorium on wind farms and commission an independent study of their impacts on human health.
Presentation to be given on behalf of the Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group to Lambton County council on Dec 8th at 7 p.m. This is an opportunity for Lambton County residents to provide input into the County’s five year review of its Official Plan.
Lambton County Public Meeting (Offical Plan):
Date: Thurs. Dec 8
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Council Chambers, Cty of Lambton, 789 Broadway Street, Wyoming Map
Lambton County consists of the following 11 municipalities:
- Dawn Euphemia
- Lambton Shores
- Oil Springs
- Pt. Edward
- St. Clair
The meeting is to gauge what issues our residents feel are important – so PLEASE PLEASE plan on attending.