Monthly Archives: October 2012

MPP Monte McNaughton letter to the Ontario Ombudsman

 

So you think you can read (the right documents)?

Did you know….
….when a wind project report is posted on the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) for the 30 day public review and comments, you are supposed to review these documents at the Ministry of Environment office listed on the announcement? It doesn’t actually say that anywhere (feel a little mislead?), so don’t feel bad if you have always done as the ads in the newspaper said – reviewed documents posted on the wind company’s website. You see, the wind company can post whatever inaccurate information they want on their website — nobody controls that nor cares. But the MOE must have the honest-to-God-real-document that they reviewed and approved available in their offices.

What? You can’t drive several hours to the local MOE office? Don’t tell me you have a job and can’t make it into London, Windsor or Toronto between 8:30am and 5:00pm?! Well, yeah, I guess they aren’t open on the weekends either. So really the 30 days the MOE kindly offers you to review thousands of pages,  isn’t truly “30 days”.  This sounds like one of those limited time offer coupons with a lot nasty small print.

But hey – look at all the exciting reading awaiting you in the big city! Yep, all those huge binders and coiled books are for just one project (this one pictured is Bornish – Nextera). It might take the MOE a while to dig the banker boxes out of the basement, but it’s soooo worth the wait! Happy reading (and driving, time juggling & head banging).

Heather Brooke: My battle to expose government corruption

Turbulence for Liberals in rural areas

by Greg Van Moorsel, London Free Press
It was one year ago that Chris Bentley won the cabinet booby prize after helping the McGuinty Liberals eke out a minority government.

His reward?

Make peace with rural Ontario.

The London MPP was one of only four Grits left standing between Windsor and the Toronto area after last fall’s election cut the Liberals’ 70-seat majority to 53 seats.

Bentley went from attorney general to energy minister. From the government’s chief legal counsel, a dream job for any lawyer, he got stuck on point for the issue that cost the Liberals the farm — their slavish drive to force industrial wind turbines onto countrysides that don’t want them.

It didn’t help that the Liberals held no serious debate before embarking on their strategy, nor that they seized local control over where the often-unwanted turbines can be built.

With Premier Dalton McGuinty now on his long goodbye and the legislature shut down until Liberals choose a replacement in three months, it’s fair to say the government still hasn’t bridged that post-election, rural-urban divide aggravated by its green energy policies. It will have to do better if it wants to cling to power after McGuinty leaves. Read the rest of this entry

Lansink’s 2nd Property Diminution in Price Study: Clear Creek, ON

Case Studies Clear Creek Melancthon Wind Turbines Oct-12
CONCLUSIONS – Current Values, Property Purchases and Re-Sales Market evidence suggests that ‘dwelling properties’ will be harmed or injured by the construction, use, and maintenance of wind turbines situated in the vicinity. Real or perceived nuisances resulting from wind turbines produces buyer resistance that results in price diminution.
Conclusion: Clear Creek, known as Frogmore-Cultus-Clear Creek, about 18 Wind Turbines

  1. 1480 Lakeshore Road, Norfolk           -44.17%
  2. 71 Norfolk County Road 23, Norfolk  -55.18%
  3. 47 Concession Road A, Norfolk         -22.47%
  4. 43 Old Mill Road, Norfolk                  -32.96%
  5. 1575 Lakeshore Road, Norfolk          -27.67%
  6. 1527 Lakeshore Road, Norfolk          -28.88%
  7. 1921 Lakeshore Road, Norfolk          -38.48%

Median -32.96%
Average -35.69%
Low -22.47%
High -55.18%

None of the above properties had a Wind Turbine situated on its land.

The Wind Turbines were located in the neighbourhood. However, it is reasonable to assume that a property that has a wind turbine erected on it will suffer a similar price diminution and will also be injuriously affected. The Future: Given that wind turbines are a relatively new phenomenon in Ontario (since 2005), it may be that in the future a buyer will simply refuse to purchase a property within the
vicinity of a wind turbine. If there is no buyer, there may be no value.

ABCA Hears How Turbines Affect Wildlife

CKNX News
Opponents of wind energy packed the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority board room Thursday.
They were there to ask that the board approve their request for a moratorium on any further development of wind energy until a study could be conducted that would show that development had no negative impact on the surrounding natural environment.

Muriel Allingham is a member of the Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group. She says current regulations would allow a wind turbine to be placed within 120 metres of a forested area. She says animals hear the same sounds people do and that could drive wildlife out of the area.

Allingham also feels the Green Energy Act has removed all local authority for permitting or locating wind turbines so she’s grateful that community groups and organizations like the Conservation Authority are recognizing the threats of wind energy to the environment.

Members of the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority did approve the group’s request for support.

McGuinty resignation stalls wind turbine debate in Ontario

Kelly Pedro, Sun Media
LONDON, ON — With the Ontario legislature prorogued and Energy Minister Bentley mulling a run for the Liberal leadership, rural communities worried about wind farms are left in limbo.

Bentley was supposed to mend fences between the provincial Liberals and rural Ontario amid opposition to the growing number of wind farms.

If someone takes over Bentley’s portfolio, it will take time for that person to get up to speed, said Jane Wilson, president of Wind Concerns Ontario.

“It’s just adding to the uncertainty,” she said.

With 6,000 wind turbines planned or proposed for Ontario, opposition politicians have long called for a moratorium on wind farms. Health Canada is completing a study in 2014 of the effects of industrial wind turbines on human health.

The issue cost the Liberals a majority in the last election as rural residents voiced their growing anger over a lack of local control over where the turbines go and how many are allowed in their communities. Read the rest of this entry

Comment on Nextera Bornish Wind Project- Due Dec 8

Comment Period extended to DECEMBER 8, 2012
Comment Here

Proponent:   Bornish Wind LP (Nextera) — 45 wind turbines
Description of Instrument:
This posting is for a proposed Renewable Energy Approval (REA) by Bornish Wind LP (a wholly owned subsidiary of NextEra Energy Canada, ULC) for the Bornish Wind Energy Centre, proposed to be located in the Municipality of North Middlesex in the County of Middlesex, Ontario. This is a Class 4 Wind Facility with a total expected generation capacity of 72.9 megawatts (MW).

The proposed facility is considered to be a Class 4 Wind Facility under Ontario Regulation 359/09 (O. Reg. 359/09) Renewable Energy Approvals under Part V.0.1 of the Environmental Protection Act. Applications for Renewable Energy Approvals are required to be submitted in accordance with O. Reg. 359/09 for consideration for approval.

Other Information:
This comment period is for the public to review and provide comments and input directly to the ministry.

Public Consultation:
This proposal has been posted for a 30 day public review and comment period starting October 09, 2012. If you have any questions, or would like to submit your comments, please do so by November 08, 2012 to the individual listed under “Contact”. Additionally, you may submit your comments on-line.

All comments received prior to November 08, 2012 will be considered as part of the decision-making process by the Ministry of the Environment if they are submitted in writing or electronically using the form provided in this notice and reference EBR Registry number 011-7317.

Please Note: All comments and submissions received will become part of the public record. You will not receive a formal response to your comment, however, relevant comments received as part of the public participation process for this proposal will be considered by the decision maker for this proposal.

The Rest of My Life

by Harvey Wrightman
“Streamlining” – it is repeated over and over that the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) appeal of Renewable Energy Approvals (REA) is “streamlined” to efficiently render solutions. The characters driving in from Toronto who dispense practical justice for the residents affected, all want to quicken the tempo of hymn we are all to sing – you know, “Whose Bread I Eat, His Song I Sing” – shouldn’t be too hard to find it in their song book – it’s the only one in it.

So, after a full Friday that went on and on to 5PM, one witness, Dr. Jim Salmon gave expert opinion evidence on the topic(s) of the models for the Noise Impact Assessment (NIA) – don’t you just love these acronyms(?!) – and the shadow flicker pattern (noted to NOT be required by the MOE). We learned the witness is both a founding and charter member of CanWEA (Canadian Wind Energy Association) with a background in physics and meteorology – NOT an acoustician, therefore please reserve those questions for the next “expert(s)”. So the man can basically tell us he understands the models used, but as to whether he cares about the practical application of his work – like any other apparatchik, he never questions the effects of the noise/flicker he is modelling for – not his problem.

Dave Hyslop, one of the appellants, developed a lengthy set of questions for this witness; and, though the details of both noise and shadow flicker are technically challenging, he got across several points that were to catch the attention of the panel members who followed with some rather good questions of their own. To whit, some of the questions:

Q – My office is in the cab of my tractor or combine. When I am in the field I will experience shadow flicker. Will it affect my ability to operate?
A – I can’t answer that.

Q – The cab is like a cubicle that has glass all around. Will the effects be similar to what happens in a house?
A – I don’t have a definition for that kind of receptor. I wouldn’t consider that space to be problematic for shadow flicker. The light will pass through and not be perceived in the same way.

OK, now to clean up the BS. There is a video shot inside a greenhouse in Holland. The flicker effect can only be described as “bewildering.” A nephew of mine operates a custom service to spread liquid manure. I remember him saying that the flicker effect is quite distracting and disorienting. There is a dearth of scientific investigation on the subject. It was obvious from the shadow flicker analysis that Samsung was seeking to present as low a numerical estimate (for hours affected) as possible. In addition, they were using a model that basically was geared for the dwelling only. The effect outside is expanded immensely and the shadow does not have to actually pass though the subject. Seeing it in near distance is also distracting. It is a huge property “disamenity” and it drives people wild. Read the rest of this entry

Sleep expert warns of effect of wind turbines

WIND TURBINE NOISE, SLEEP AND HEALTH (full report)
by Dr Christopher Hanning BSc, MB, BS, MRCS, LRCP, FRCA, MD

The Berwickshire News
An honorary consultant in sleep medicine, Dr C D Hanning, is warning of the “unacceptable levels of sleep disturbance” for people living within 1.5km of wind turbines.

Dr Hanning, a consultant at the University Hospitals of Leicester has over 25 years experience in sleep medicine and is accepted as an expert in these areas by the UK and Canadian courts.

In his latest report Dr Hanning said: “Industrial wind turbines emit a unique impulsive noise pattern, described as thumping, swooshing and rumbling. It contains a large element of low frequency noise which travels further and penetrates buildings more easily than high frequency sound.

“Noise disrupts sleep by preventing the onset of sleep or the return to sleep after a spontaneous awakening. The character of wind turbine noise makes it particularly annoying. The sufferer has no means of controlling the noise and many seek to leave their homes.

“In the short term, loss of sleep leads to sleepiness, fatigue, poor memory and concentration, increased accident risk and low mood. In the longer term, it increases the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, obesity, diabetes and cancer. Neither the short term nor the long term effects are trivial.

“The health effects demonstrated by these studies, and many others, are real and serious. My analysis of all the research leads me to conclude that external turbine noise levels should not exceed 35dBA in any circumstances and not exceed 32dBA in quiet rural areas. Setback distance should be at least 1.5km.

“Public health impact must be considered when assessing renewable and low carbon energy schemes and council’s should have a recommended separation distance for turbines from houses on health grounds of a distance of at least 1.5km.” Read article

MP: Wind turbines creating rift

By Bob Boughner, Chatham Daily News
All wind turbine projects in Ontario should be put on hold until results of a federal health study are known, says Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MP Bev Shipley. Shipley told The Chatham Daily News Friday he has received complaints from residents in the Mitchell’s Bay area in Chatham-Kent concerning the large number of turbines being erected in what appears to be record time.

The MP said he isn’t surprised by the lack of support both he and MPP Monte McNaughton have received from the McGuinty government. But he is surprised by the relative silence of major environmental organizations for their failure to speak up in calling for a moratorium.

“Environmental groups that are not usually shy about making their views known, seem to have lost their voice on this one for reasons I do not understand,” he said. “You would think that when it comes to protecting human health they would want to be as diligent as they are when their concerns are far less compelling.”

Shipley said he appreciates wind turbine development in Ontario is a provincial matter, but is convinced construction should halt until the results of the federal health study are tabled. He said there is currently not a scientific consensus to conclude whether there is a relationship between exposure to wind turbine noise and harm to human health. But he said that is what the federal health study may be able to determine. He said if there is a link between human health and noise from wind turbines, there is a need to protect citizens before the province compounds the problem by moving ahead with additional projects. Read the rest of this entry

MOE: “…health related matters be addressed to the Local Medical Officer of Health”

Wind turbine action plan update

In early July, it was proposed that if you are now affected by industrial wind turbines, to please write your local Public Health Unit/Board of Health and demand an investigation.

And if you are at risk of being affected by industrial wind turbines, to also write your local Public Health Unit/Board of Health and demand protection from harm.

See the attached sample letter (Open Letter to Ontario Public Health Units) which describes the duty to investigate under the HPPA (Health Protection and Promotion Act).

Recent correspondence (Sept.10.2012) received on behalf of the Ontario Minister of Environment suggests “…that health related matters be addressed to the Local Medical Officer of Health.”. However, a follow-up meeting (Oct.9.2012) with a local health unit indicates that they have no authority to resolve the issues being reported.

Additional clarification is being requested about the authority of the local units to resolve the issues and to restore the health and well being of affected families.

In the meantime, it is important that the local Medical Officers of Health be advised of pre- and post-wind turbine health related issues to support the need for conducting an inquiry-investigation.

“I See”

by Harvey Wrightman
Perhaps the biggest problem with these Environmental Review Tribunal appeal hearings is we get only the “appearance” of a fair hearing. Tuesday’s session was at the Kohler Community Centre, a WW2 Air Force barracks, well maintained by the onsite caretaker who obviously must do wonders with a limited budget – I hope that point is appreciated by the team of lawyers (some @ $500/hour) who descend on our rural communities. Wishful thinking – all we get from these people are averted looks, fake smiles and condescending remarks. Like a crew of evangelists sweeping into a new land, there is no regard let alone respect for local opinion and knowledge. Our thoughts are to be replaced with the new “green” beliefs.

The room is small and we sat directly behind the Samsung counsel, Sarah Powell and Matthew Milne-Smith (hired gun prepped and loaded for the day), sitting side-by-each to the Ministry of Environment’s Frederika Rotter and Sarah Kromkamp. A tangle of cords going to the court recorder and from there to the panel members connected them all to netbook computers so that they could scroll through all the documents, and read the transcript easily. But the lines ended there. None of the appellants had the electronic hook-ups. Why? – well it was all paid for by Samsung. They aren’t going to feed the locals/plebs. Yes, that means OUR MOE has documents that as a government ministry should freely make available to us. Another example of “loading the dice”, but no surprise as this government is deep into money addiction and casinos.

The opposing counsel were nervous – Freddy back to nail biting, repeatedly turning to the audience and faintly expressing a wolfish grin. Milne-Smith (umbrella man), sat stiffly with his shoes turned up and I couldn’t help but notice that his shoes had been resoled more than once, the last time a partial heel was applied at a very odd angular cut. I guess Matthew hangs onto his nickles!

The main witness was Scott Petrie, executive director of long point waterfowl and adjunct professor at Western – a formidable, confident expert witness, and like all such people one could see that he enjoyed the advantage of his position. Try as they might, there are so few lawyers who invariably have little in the way of a science or math background, they have a hard time questioning those who do. Someone like Scott, who has 50+ publications in scientific journals can easily sit and wait for them to come to him and then pummel them back into the corner. It really is “unfair”, but given the heavy bias that is applied to appellants, an occasional battle champion is welcome. By contrast, as Dr. Petrie noted, of the 8 consultants who worked on the “natural heritage” reports there were only 5 published works from all of them – no peer-reviewed articles. With no senior manager having a research oriented cv, the pre-construction assessments and post–construction monitoring regimes are not robust. There are many holes in the reports that simply lead one to question the assumptions. Worse, there was no request from the company for data or reports that Long Point waterfowl has on hand, and no use of locals who could also provide useful information on habitats and wildlife. Instead we learn from the survey notes of Sean Male that he was able to identify only about a dozen birds. 350 of his sitings were categorized as “unknown”. Dr. Petrie remarked, “He didn’t know birds.” One cannot expect rigour where there is no basic knowledge. Read the rest of this entry

Nexterror starts construction on 56 turbines in Haldimand County

By Jennifer Vo, The Sachem and Glanbrook Gazette
Haldimand County residents can expect to see between six to eight full time jobs coming out of the $270 million NextEra Energy Canada’s Summerhaven Wind Energy Centre. “We are excited to have broken ground. It’s a big milestone for our company,” said Josie Hernandez, senior communications specialist with NextEra Energy Resources.

“We will soon be starting the hiring process for wind technicians who will work at our wind farm once it’s operational so we look forward to hearing from the local folks who are interested in working for our company.” According to Hernandez, the six to eight jobs include positions for an associate wind site manager, associate business services technician, a high voltage wind technician and several wind energy technicians.

“We expect many of these jobs will go to local Haldimand County residents, which means their income will generally stay in Haldimand County,” she said. The class 4 wind facility consisting of 56 wind turbines will produce about 124 megawatts of energy – enough electricity to power over 31,000 average Ontario homes. She said the project would generate about $10 million in property taxes over a 20-year period to the county. Preliminary construction to the Summerhaven wind centre will take place in October and November.

“We expect turbine delivery to happen in December, January and February. In January, our specialized crane will begin stalling the turbines,” said Hernandez. Read the rest of this entry

“Providing benefit to a species”, the NEW kill, harass & maim

Harvey Wrightman
I have attended 3 separate wind project hearings in Haldimand Cty. It’s a bit like escaping to Montana. Driving Indian Line is liberating. On the rez side are all the “smokes” shops operating out of houses or small, utility buildings. Hours of operation are generally 7AM – 10PM. I don’t smoke, but I have no particular aversion to tobacco. I remember my grandfather’s “room” and the blue haze that he created with White Owl cigars – mostly to keep my grandmother and her sister at bay. We stopped at a diner that had a faded sign advertising “Yellow Perch Dinner – $12.95” and another for “Pickerel Dinner – $10.95” – my personal favourite and indeed , once the batter was peeled away, the fish was very and cooked perfectly. The fries were not so special, but who cares?

It’s a real cultural jolt to enter the ERT hearing. The panel and legal teams all dressed in stiff court apparel – men with ties snugly wound around their necks and women with hair so tightly gathered, you’d wonder how they could blink their eyes. I suppose “our” appearance seems just as strange to them – mainly denim, though I did once wear my overalls into a hearing – many of us do still work. What we lack is the evangelism of the MOE and company lawyers. The puritanical desire to expunge and cleanse the land of the nasty effects that the local people have. We are told that change is the constant. That it is acceptable to harm/harass/maim a certain percentage of the population; well actually that rather description was found to be too blunt, too rude for MNR and MOE sensibilities. Now such as actions are described as: “providing benefit to a species”, or “preparing a recovery strategy for a species.” Read the rest of this entry

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 the rest of this entry

Important Birding Areas vs. Wind Turbine Developments

IBAs overlapped with IWTs

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Save the Queen’s Park dingbat population

Gone with the wind

By John Miner, The London Free Press
Homeowners close to wind turbines can expect to see much of their property values blown away, a provocative study by a London property appraiser has found. Sellers in the future could even find their properties are worth nothing, says the study by Ben Lansink of Lansink Appraisals and Consulting.

“If there is no buyer, there may be no value,” Lansink concluded. Industrial wind turbines have become a huge sore point for many in Ontario, with about 1,200 of the often-unwanted behemoths now in operation now and with the province having signed deals that will more than double that number in the next couple of years.

Lansink, who’s been qualified as a real estate expert in court proceedings, analyzed properties in the Shelburne area, north of Orangeville, home to Ontario’s first major industrial wind farm — the 133-turbine Melancthon Wind Facility.

He found five homes that had been bought by the wind farm developer, Canadian Hydro Developments, a subsidiary of Calgary-based TransAlta, at fair market value. Canadian Hydro later put those houses back on the market and they sold for an average loss of 38%. One brought 58.5% less.

“The erection of a wind turbine creates apprehension in the general public, which makes property less desirable and thus diminishes the prices of neighbouring property,” Lansink said. Read the rest of this entry

Napier/Kerwood wpd Final Public Meeting: Dec 6

This project is an example of how small can be sometimes just as bad as large.  

The Napier project (that isn’t near Napier at all) is ‘only’ 2 turbines. But if these 2 turbines were part of Nextera or Suncor’s projects, they would be the most ILL PLACED turbines of the 50 or so proposed

Below is the noise map – yes the same hideous maps that Suncor use. I put road names on it for you, because they were missing, again. Check out the line for the 40 dBA — check out how many homes are along that line along Napperton Dr. From their chart it says there will be 9 homes that will be under 700m from these turbines (closest is 573m away from a home). Notice also that there isn’t single ‘participating’ receptor.

wpd Canada Corporation (wpd Canada) – Napier Wind Project

Final Public Meeting
Date::  December 6th
Time:   5:30 P.M. to 8:00 P.M.
Place: Adelaide Metcalfe Township Office – Lower Hall, 2340 Egremont Drive-
RR#5, Strathroy, ON MAP

Lambton County Council endorses wind turbine moratorium

Cathy Dobson, Sarnia Observer
WYOMING – Lambton County politicians unanimously agreed Wednesday to demand a provincial moratorium on industrial wind turbines, after hearing that local residents are getting ill. People living near wind turbines in Lambton Shores and Brooke-Alvinston are complaining of nausea, headaches, and dizziness, said Marcelle Brooks of the Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group.

She was among 40 Lambton County residents who packed county council chambers and asked council to join 90 other Ontario municipalities in favour of a moratorium. Until the province conducts a study on the health effects related to the 500-foot turbines, no more should be approved, Brooks said.

Health Canada has agreed to do a study and publish the results in 2014. But Brooks said the federal government has already provided money to some wind turbine projects and she doesn’t trust that its study will be unbiased. Members of WAIT (We’re Against Industrial Turbines) from Plympton-Wyoming and the Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group applauded county councillors when they voted 33-0 in favour of a moratorium. Read article

Gone with the wind

By John Miner, The London Free Press
Homeowners close to wind turbines can expect to see much of their property values blown away, a provocative study by a London property appraiser has found. Sellers in the future could even find their properties are worth nothing, says the study by Ben Lansink of Lansink Appraisals and Consulting.

“If there is no buyer, there may be no value,” Lansink concluded. Industrial wind turbines have become a huge sore point for many in Ontario, with about 1,200 of the often-unwanted behemoths now in operation now and with the province having signed deals that will more than double that number in the next couple of years.

Lansink, who’s been qualified as a real estate expert in court proceedings, analyzed properties in the Shelburne area, north of Orangeville, home to Ontario’s first major industrial wind farm — the 133-turbine Melancthon Wind Facility.

He found five homes that had been bought by the wind farm developer, Canadian Hydro Developments, a subsidiary of Calgary-based TransAlta, at fair market value. Canadian Hydro later put those houses back on the market and they sold for an average loss of 38%. One brought 58.5% less.

“The erection of a wind turbine creates apprehension in the general public, which makes property less desirable and thus diminishes the prices of neighbouring property,” Lansink said. Read article

Energy Minister Chris Bentley must answer to a contempt of parliament charge

Jonathan Sher, London Free Press
Ontario MPPs voted 53-50 Tuesday to send Energy Minister Chris Bentley of London to answer a charge of contempt of parliament — a charge that hasn’t stuck in more than a century. At issue is how the Liberal government secretly agreed to pay $230 million to kill deals to build power plants in two Toronto area ridings on the eve of the last election. It means an all-party committee of MPPs — with the power of a court — will decide the issue later this fall.

The Free Press quizzed Bentley on the fallout.

Q: Have Liberal colleagues left you to take a bullet for Dalton McGuinty over a decision that wasn’t yours?

The premier and my colleagues have been enormously supportive . . . We took the decision not to proceed with these two power plants, a decision supported by both of the other parties and that decision meant there was going to be a cost.

Q: They’re not under a contempt investigation. You are . . . Do you feel you’ve been left to face an ordeal that wasn’t of your own making?

As I said, the premier and my colleagues have been very supportive. Today is a difficult day. We have the committee coming up and I’ll be able to hear some of the facts.

Q:  Do you feel you’ve been left to face an ordeal that wasn’t of your own making?

Today is a difficult day. We have the committee coming up and I’ll be able to hear some of the facts. Read the rest of this entry

New Ontario Wind Turbine Property Value Analysis – Ben Lansink AACI, P. App, MRCS

CASE STUDY Diminution in Value Wind Turbine Analysis
Case Study Wind Turbines Diminution Injurious Affection Oct-12

Lansink Appraisals and Consulting–
by Ben Lansink AACI, P. App, MRCS

Conclusion – Property Purchases and Re-Sales
Market evidence suggests that ‘dwelling properties’ will be harmed or injured by the construction, use, and maintenance of wind turbines situated on properties located in the vicinity. Real or perceived nuisances resulting from wind turbines produces buyer resistance that results in price diminution.

Conclusion: Price diminution due to the Melancthon Wind Facility: 133 wind turbines

1 ID 15797 – 375557 6th Line, Amaranth -48.27%
2 ID 15798 – 97121 4th Line, Melancthon -58.56%
3 ID 15799 – 504059 Highway 89, Melancthon -23.24%
4 ID 15800 – 582340 County Road 17, Melancthon -26.66%
5 ID 16339 – 582328 County Road 17, Melancthon -37.30%

Median Loss in Market Price -37.30%
Average Loss in Market Price -38.81%

The erection of a wind turbine creates apprehension in the general public, which makes the property less desirable and thus diminishes the prices of neighbouring property. Continuing scientific uncertainty over the adverse health consequences of wind turbines only serves to perpetuate the debilitating effect of wind turbines on property prices.

By including the Transfer of Easement in Gross in the deed/transfer of the properties sold by Canadian Hydro Developments, Inc., it is reasonable to conclude that Canadian Hydro Developers, Inc. was fully aware of problems associated with…heat, sound, vibration, shadow, flickering of light, noise (including grey noise) or any other adverse effect or combination thereof resulting directly or indirectly from the operation of the Transferee’s wind turbine facilities situated…within the Townships of Melancthon and Amaranth, in the County of Dufferin…’ and that the turbines …’may affect the living environment’…”.

The covenants imposed by Canadian Hydro Developments, Inc. and accepted by the five buyers suggest an official admission by Canadian Hydro Developments, Inc. that there are living environment issues with the result that there is a diminution in price as a result of wind turbines.

It is also reasonable to assume that a property that has a wind turbine erected on it will suffer a similar price diminution and will be injuriously affected.

The Future: Given that wind turbines are a relatively new phenomenon in Ontario (2005), it may be that in the future a buyer will simply refuse to purchase a property within the vicinity of a wind turbine. If there is no buyer, there may be no value. Read Full Report

Bentley shows contempt for Ontario’s rural citizens

London Free Press
On Sept. 24 Minister of Energy, Chris Bentley rose in the legislature to defend the cancellation of the Oakville power plant and to defend allegations regarding contempt of parliament, proudly announcing, “The decision was made after hearing overwhelming concerns from local residents and local elected officials. We heard concerns from families and we responded.”

Given the thousands of requests from rural Ontario to stop wind turbines from being rammed into our communities and his refusal to listen to us, Bentley’s statement shows contempt for rural Ontario and an absolute lack of respect for our citizens.

More than 90 municipalities have asked his government for a moratorium on industrial wind turbines, as have the Ontario Federation of Agricultural and the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario. On any given day in the legislature petitions are brought before parliament asking for the same. Yet he refuses to listen.

Instead he has the audacity to claim he is listening, when it is apparent this listening skill pertains only to urban residents when Liberal seats are in jeopardy.

Bentley’s callous disregard for the citizens of rural Ontario is shameful and a sad indicator of the differential treatment afforded to those in urban ridings. When will he stop treating Ontario’s rural residents like second class citizens?

J.C. Morris
Woodstock

Fisherville ERT: In the Land of All Day Breakfast

by Harvey Wrightman
Make no mistake about it, from the beginning, this has been a rural/urban issue – and I don’t say that with pleasure, nor do I believe that once the issue is properly explained, most people, no matter where they live, are reasonable and sympathetic to the plight of those condemned to live in wind projects. Sitting at the Environmental Review Tribunal hearing in the Fisherville Community Centre, I look at the lawyers for the MOE/Capital Power, all seated in an orderly row, and in my boredom dream that they are there to try and comfort us – rural residents, both those in projects and the rest of us sitting on death row waiting to step into the torture chamber; or rather, the chamber comes to us – like one of those mobile x-ray trailers sent out to the hinterland. Well clearly, there is no milk of human kindness to be had here today.

The bulk of the day is taken up with arguments about the medical evidence:

  1. how much is enough
  2. who has been the foot-dragger in this hearing
  3. what to do with these “post turbine” witnesses who refuse to withdraw and indeed keep showing up at the hearings – irritating reminders of the human aspect of the “wind projects.”

This last one is clearly taking its toll on the MOE and the wind companies. Though they sit side by each at the table, they have no supporters in the audience (I have yet to see even one “lessor” attend.) They don’t even lunch together anymore. They do still confer openly with each other, but think of the “stress” they are enduring .

So, in their presentations I note that no more do they extoll the virtues of free, carbon-less wind energy. No, instead the cry is, The REA process is a STATUTORY process , “streamlined” so that the appeal decision is announced within the 6 month expiration date. Read the rest of this entry

A Lot of Loose Info

by Harvey Wrightman
You can see the “effects” of the never-ending days of  the Environmental Review Tribunal appeals taking its toll on the Ministry of Environment and the Samsung lawyers. Yesterday in Cayuga, the MOE’s Frederika “Freddy” Rotter periodically lurches her whole body in a comic swing to gaze at the audience. At other times she fiddles with her Blackberry. She furtively chews her nails. It’s like watching a kid with stimulation overload.

(left) MOE Freddy & (right) Samsung Sarah

Sarah Powell, Samsung counsel, will flip her glasses on and off, or her foot will almost enter orbit in a clonic spasm somewhere in the range of  200 Hz. On another occasion she was lifting one foot, then the other repeatedly in a trance-like movement.

Why all the worry? There’s a lot riding on this project. No one has control of it. The traditional Onkwehonwe are highlighting some serious deficiencies in the consultation process – to the point that both the MOE and Samsung state clearly that this hearing can NOT make any decisions on the consultation process. So, was that bit of admonishment for the ERT panel’s benefit? Certainly the Onkwehonwe’s Bill Monture and Lester Green were having no part of that scolding as they blew holes in the project documents submitted by the company. A modicum of real consultation with locals, especially the Onkwehonwe who know the “natural features” of the area so well, would have produced more accurate reports. Of course, like the elite mutts that seem to run all these “so-called, green energy” enterprises, they assume that local people know nothing and are merely a “nuisance” to the greater plans of the government/wind company coalition.

Mr. Samsung in the gallery

Some of the salient points made:

1)      The 800 acre solar project is centred within the wind project development area, and the substation for the wind development is to be located within the fenced in solar parcel. But, the Onkwehonwe were told by ERT chairman Robert Wright, that the wind appeal could not include anything about the solar project. It was a separate case.
Both the wind and solar were presented to 6 Nations as one project, not 2 separate projects which is why the Onkwehonwe did not appeal the solar approval. The reality for ordinary citizens is: how many appeals can one afford the time, energy and money for, especially if they occur during the same period of time?

2)       Lester Green found many discrepancies in the bird studies reports. The field survey notes for these often showed that very little field time was allotted to important species, sometimes only an hour or two of actual observation was involved. Worse were field reports with no specific logs of dates or time spent for observations. As Lester said, “loose work…as long as you word it in a correct manner, it’s OK the project can go ahead.”

  • In addition, studies were conducted at inappropriate times of the day or in the wrong season. Thus the catch-phrase, “…nothing found in the study area” is used repeatedly even in known special habitats. As Lester simply said, “…look to the hunters and plant gatherers…there are certain times to find specific life forms.”  One of the more “eye-brow-raising” examples was a survey for an amphibian, Jefferson’s salamander, which though it is terrestrial, breeds in vernal pools (so that no tadpole eating fish are present.) The survey was done in September – no sightings, no mitigation plan needed.
  • The 2009 Hatch reports do mention eagle sightings, yet strangely, Stantec surveyors didn’t see any and wrote that eagles are absent from the study area.
  • Which brings up the whole question of “the study area.” By some odd twist, it magically ends at the Grand River and somehow, and I’m not quite sure how you can ignore the River, but it is NOT considered to be a water body within 120m of the project., and neither are its numerous tributaries.
  • Both Lester and Bill pointed out the absurdity of the “migration corridors” approach provided for migrating birds. “Air space” should be considered a natural heritage feature – part of bird habitat. Instead the Samsung treatment is more like a “turbine rodeo” or “shooting gallery” of hazards for the birds to navigate.

Lester and Bill, traditional Onkwehonwe

In summing up Lester made these points:

Re: so-called expert witness testimony, “In your way, if it (testimony) doesn’t have a doctor’s certificate attached with a bunch of letters, it’s not valid…(but) all the loose information in those thick volumes (of project documents) means absolutely nothing without the consent of the people.”

On the ultimate responsibility for the care of the land: “…these turbines are your idea, but are being put on our land…” in which the Onkwehonwe have a very great and personal interest.

…And…

Without any fanfare, Lester presented copies of the petition that 165 traditional  Onkwehonwe signed. The same petition received by 6 Nations elected council in April. When asked for comment, neither Rotter nor Powell objected to the petition being submitted as “evidence”, but both of them questioned the “relevance” of the petition.

In a voice that communicated sincerity and a quiet confidence, Lester stated, “There are men and women waiting to see what is decided…There’s going to be men and women standing against this. We’re just following our laws, our ways, and our practices. You didn’t have our consent. It’s an insult. There’s no way to go back and revisit this.”

I was naive — I submitted a comment

There may be people who still believe in filing comments with the Ministry of the Environment about the wind project proposed in their area – the government might actually listen to you and take your concerns into consideration- at least that’s what they say they will do.

Do you ever wonder why the government and wind company push for you to fill out those forms at Wind Company public meetings? Why they insist you follow public process? “Submit Comments!!!”,  they seem to scream everywhere. Well, when you’ve been to the end, the Environmental Review Tribunal as an appellant, you might be witness to where all those oh-so-harmless looking ‘comments’ that you provided to your government, in good faith, go: Directly to the MOE’s evidence to use against you in any way they can. See my name below for the Zephyr appeal…. Esther.

 

At the Forest Fair!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Environmental Review Tribunal hearing process is dysfunctional

It is easy to offer advice after the fact. I was in that position myself and find it difficult to criticize actions taken for which no precedent existed – more than once we heard from the Environmental Review Tribunal that process would define itself as “experience” was gained.

The awarding of costs to NextEra and the MOE in Mapleton is an abuse of citizens who acted in good faith, following the “process” that was laid out. Awarding costs is nothing but bully tactics. The Ministry of Environment in particular should be ashamed at raiding its own citizens.

Community groups have put forth a serious challenge to the whole wind energy program, turning public opinion on its head outside the urban areas, and creating a great deal of  “anxiety” as Chris Bentley admitted to. The government now uses its “last recourse”-  call in the bureaucrats and direct them to ram it through. It looks like that is the strategy. Read the rest of this entry