Monthly Archives: February 2013
Date: Friday, March 1
Time: 8:30 AM
Place: Goderich Square, Goderich MAP
Bring signs to picket and to display on your vehicle, voices, friends, neighbours – you know the drill (-;
Court Proceedings begin at 9:30, but there is limited space inside. Please plan to continue picketing outside the courthouse while proceedings are going on.
We are asking as many people as possible to show up in Goderich. The motion in court was brought by HMQ and K2 to dismiss the Drennan case concerning the injunction stopping the Ministry of the Environment giving K2 a REA (Renewable Energy Approval) for approximately 138 turbines (270MW).
Chris Montanini, Londoner
Two subsidiaries of NextEra Energy Canada have applied to the Ontario Energy Board for leave to construct electricity transmission facilities for their proposed wind farm projects in Middlesex County. The applications were submitted to the OEB Feb. 8 and in anticipation of an upcoming hearing to allow the public and other agencies to express interest, county councillors at their bi-monthly meeting Feb. 19 in London gave Middlesex County staff permission to intervene on their behalf.
Chris Traini, a Middlesex County engineer, said the procedure will be “fairly standard” for electricity infrastructure on county property. “We want to go to the (OEB) to make sure they know (NextEra) has to follow the normal county bylaws and policies,” Traini said. “So they’ll need work permits, entrance permits, moving permits, the same as anyone else who would install infrastructure on a county road.”
Traini said they will also need to craft a Road User Agreement outlining the terms that will allow NextEra to install infrastructure on county roads. The applications include transmission lines within the right of ways of Kerwood Road, Nairn Road and Elginfield Road. “We’re trying to put ourselves in position so we don’t have additional costs to do our normal jobs (like road maintenance and construction) and therefore increase the burden to tax payers because of this infrastructure,” Traini said. “We ask for that because we don’t have detailed engineering drawing until they actually go to construction which will be a few months after approval is given.”
It typically takes the OEB around 30 days from the date an application is submitted to announce a hearing, Traini said. Read article
By Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
The “divisive” wind energy debate is heating up in Enniskillen Township, says Mayor Kevin Marriott. Representatives of several wind companies have been approaching Enniskillen landowners, Marriott said. “I would say there are three (companies) involved” with projects proposed for sites across the rural central Lambton County township that surrounds Petrolia, he said.
Wind farms were proposed for Enniskillen several years ago but the issue had gone quiet until recently, he said. “A year ago we thought we were lucky, and now we’re kind of right into the frying pan here.” Marriott said township council hasn’t taken a position yet on wind turbines, or been formally approached by any wind companies. “I’ve been told they are in the neighbourhood talking to landowners, trying to get a feel for what the consensus would be before they do actually approach council.”
Marriott is attending the Rural Ontario Municipal Association conference in Toronto this week where he said township officials are attempting to learn more about the issue. The recent Ontario throne speech, following the swearing-in of new Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne, promised communities would have a say in the location of new energy projects. “We don’t want to rush into a decision until we find out what the premier has up her sleeve,” Marriott said. Read article
Tom Melady, London Free Press
One of the biggest violations against Ontario agriculture and its rural communities has prompted our farm business to ask for a refund of our membership fees from Ontario Federation of Agriculture. Industrial wind turbines are wreaking havoc on Rural Ontario and OFA fiddles as the countryside burns. The social, financial and agronomical impacts of these 500 ft. monstrosities demand great analysis.
In January 2012, I, along with a group of 3 farmers including a 19 year old female farming enthusiast, presented our detailed concerns and impacts of industrial wind turbines to the OFA Board of Directors in Guelph. When OFA heard of the 6000 wind turbines intended for rural Ontario, the dysfunction of the communities in which they are placed, and the sacrifice of 20,000 acres of prime agricultural land, one would think that OFA would seriously investigate these negative repercussions against agriculture. To not research the topic is irresponsible. However, the Board issued some whimsical doublespeak statement and forgot about the issue, the issue that will have the greatest negative impact on agriculture, ever! Read the rest of this entry
Owen Sound Times
Wind turbines cause distress among people who live near them, but more and better studies are needed if there’s to be a policy shift in Ontario, the Grey Bruce Board of Health was told Friday. The board was presented with a report cultivated from a comprehensive review of the most current and credible studies around the world on the effects from wind turbines. The board requested the review last fall after a plaintive appeal from local residents who said they were suffering ill health from the massive turbines and wanted help.
Medical officer of health Dr. Hazel Lynn and research assistant Dr. Ian Arra, a medical doctor with a master’s degree in clinical epidemiology, spent the last few months conducting the review.
“There is no one (study) that didn’t find an effect of distress,” said Arra of the 18 peer-reviewed studies he focused on. “All of these studies basically found that there is an association. You cannot prove anything in research, you can only disprove the opposite, so there is no research that there is no association. That leaves us with association.” Read article
Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
Suncor is taking Plympton-Wyoming to court over the town’s wind turbine bylaws, including a requirement they be at least 2 km from neighbouring homes. Suncor Energy Products has a contract to sell the province energy from the up to 46-turbine Cedar Point Wind Power project it plans to build in Plympton-Wyoming, Lambton Shores and Warwick Township. The company launched its legal challenge of Plympton-Wyoming’s bylaws in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Sarnia at the same time it’s working through Ontario’s environmental approval process for the wind farm that would stretch from Camlachie north to Ravenswood Line.
“We expected this,” said Plympton-Wyoming Mayor Lonny Napper. “We’re ready to defend our bylaws.” Ontario’s Green Energy Act took planning approvals for wind farms out of the hands of municipal councils but Plympton-Wyoming pressed ahead by passing a series of bylaws to control wind projects, including setting its own 2-km setback. Ontario only requires that wind turbines be at least 550 metres from neighbouring homes.
Suncor spokesperson Jason Vaillant said the company has been working with the municipality on the issue since 2006. “We have talked to them recently about their bylaws and we feel that they are in conflict with the process that has been laid out for us by the province,” he said. Read article
Heather Wright, Sarnia Lambton Independent
The wind war in Plympton-Wyoming is headed to court. And Plympton-Wyoming Mayor Lonny Napper says his municipality will fight to protect its residents against the potential health effects of wind turbines on its residents.
Suncor Energy has a contract with the provincial government for a 100 megawatt, 46 turbine project in Plympton-Wyoming and Lambton Shores. About 28 of those turbines will go in Plympton-Wyoming in the Camlachie area. The municipality has taken an aggressive stand against the project putting in tough local regulations.
Thursday, Suncor Energy Products served the township with notice it’s challenging the municipality’s bylaws which require turbines to be two kilometers from homes, a $200,000 deposit for decommissioning and its building permit fees of $10,000. A court date has not been set yet, but Mayor Lonny Napper the township is hiring a lawyer to defend its bylaws. “We feel we have a strong case here,” says Napper. “It is our mandate under the Municipal Act to protect our people and that’s what we’re going to do.
“We’re not against wind turbines; we’re in this strictly for the health and safety of our people.” Read article
Heather Wright, Sarnia Lambton Independent
[excerpt] But he [Bob Bailey] says details of how much say communities will have in wind energy projects may come sooner. The Rural Ontario Municipal Association meets next week in Mississauga and many Ontario cabinet ministers will be there. “I would expect to see the details there because it those are the people they have to convince,” says Bailey adding the province has made similar statements before the legislature prorogued without giving details. “We’re not convinced they’re going to do anything…We’re not going to take them at their word because they haven’t done it yet.”
Bailey was also disappointed that the Premier – who named herself Agriculture Minister saying she was committed to helping rural Ontario – only used the word agriculture once while writing the speech. “It is such a big and important part of the Ontario economy; it is a lot larger than the auto sector…it contributes $15billion to Ontario’s economy… you’d think there would be more than one mention in the throne speech.” Read article
Peter Epp, Chatham Daily News
Premier Kathleen Wynne wants to see more autonomy in provincial decisions that could impact municipalities, and as an example says the extension of casino gambling into a new community should not happen without the consent of local government. Good for her.
Now if our new premier would only apply that same logic to her government’s Green Energy Policy, communities in Southwestern Ontario might begin to believe that their concerns over wind turbines aren’t being ignored by Queen’s Park.
But as it stands right now, those concerns are being ignored. Despite its outrageous expense and dubious benefit to the public, the most troubling aspect of the Liberals’ green energy legislation has been its ability to circumvent the local will of Ontario’s citizens. Local planners and local government have absolutely no control over the location or approval of wind turbines.
True, municipalities in mid-2012 were extended the privilege of providing a small comment on impending projects… but that’s it. That comment has little or no bearing on whether or not a turbine project is approved. That decision is made in Toronto only. Read article
Sarnia Lambton Independent
Local anti-wind activists are worried Lambton Shores officials are not making tough enough demands nor asking the right questions on the two wind energy projects in the community. Lambton Shores preparing its comments on the Suncor Energy project (62 turbines) and NextEra Energy (92 turbines) which will be within the municipal boundaries.
The municipality planned to hire a consultant to comb through the binders of questions to be answered but found any firm with expertise in the area was already employed by the wind energy companies. Marcelle Brooks, spokesperson for Middlesex Lambton Wind Concern, has looked at the municipal response to both projects and has one major concern. In both documents, the municipality states the turbines are equipped with sensors which automatically shut down if abnormal amounts of noise is found.
The sound waves are one of the major concerns of the people opposed to wind energy who say the sound can cause headaches, sleeplessness and tinnitus. “I question where that information was obtained,” says Brooks. In fact, in an email to anti-wind activist one of NextEra’s consultants debunks the idea. “The turbines can be shut down remotely but not as a result of achieving a certain sound limit,” writes Derek Dudek in an email. “The 40 decibels is not measured at the turbine but rather at the receptor location (nearby homes.)” Read article
Heather Wright, Sarnia-Lambton Independent
Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority is talking to lawyers about a lease it holds with NextEra Energy on a piece of land in the Municipality of Bluewater.
Tom Proutt, general manager of the authority, confirms it was deeded the land from an estate over four years ago, long before wind projects became hugely controversial.
The authority is already under fire from wind groups because its foundation accepted a donation from NextEra Energy for a golf tournament in Exeter. The conservation authority has to approve NextEra’s massive wind projects in Lambton Shores and in Bluewater and South Huron. Officials say they can only turn down the project for limited reasons including if it could cause flood damage, erosion or was in a dynamic beach area.
Proutt confirmed “the (land lease) contract we inherited had funds attached to it.” He wouldn’t say how much money is generated from the lease. But the general manager adds “there will not be a tower on the property.
“We were asked by some individuals for copies of the agreement and that we not accept funding from wind energy companies; our board is sorting through all that,” he added.
Proutt says lawyers are currently looking into the contract and its implications.
Esther Wrightman of Middlesex Lambton Wind Concerns is not surprised the conservation authority would have been given land with a wind lease on it “considering the number of leases out there” – especially four years ago when there was little concern about the projects.
But several sources say the authority not only inherited the lease, but renewed it recently. Proutt would not speak to the allegation, saying lawyers are looking into the lease. Read the rest of this entry
Heather Wright, Sarnia-Lambton Independent
A study which will show whether the value of the property around industrial wind turbines has changed is just about complete. Officials from the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation talked to Lambton County Councilors about how the wind energy projects are assessed for tax purposes and what affect they have on surrounding property owners.
Officials say privately owned turbines and those owned by non-profit organizations aren’t subject to taxes but industrial turbines in commercial projects are. A 1.5 megawatt turbine – typical of the industrial projects – is valued at $60,000.That fact didn’t sit well with county councilors. “How did someone come up with $40,000 on a structure that is worth $6 million,” says Brooke Alvinston Mayor Don McGugan.
St. Clair Township Mayor Steve Arnold says the artificially low assessment means lower tax revenue for the municipality estimating a turbine would generate $500 to $1,000 in taxes. “That’s not a lot of dollars for the local municipalities; that’s what has driven a lot of municipalities to put extra costs onto the projects.” Arnold says municipalities were led to believe it would up to $10,000 per turbine. “There is a lot of miscommunication.” Read article
Jim Merriam, Chatham Daily News
Would it be Premier-Agriculture Minister Kathleen Wynne? Or does Agriculture Minister-Premier Kathleen Wynne sound better? No matter how you slice them, it is difficult to make the two titles work together. But how you say them is but a tiny problem in comparison to how you combine the two jobs and do them both well.
Wynne mentioned after she won the Liberal leadership she would serve a term as agriculture minister. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Under Premier Dalton McGuinty, agriculture was no more than an afterthought. Time and again the policies of the ag ministry worked against, instead of for, farmers.
On one hand, the ministry hit small abattoirs in the province with such burdensome and often ridiculous regulations that many closed. At the same time, the government was promoting local food — you know, eat food produced within 100 kilometres of home to help local farmers. With no abattoir within 300 km, that becomes pretty difficult.
But those are only part of the concerns. The full name of the ministry is the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs or OMAFRA. As much as agriculture and food production are in serious need of attention, there are major issues under the broader “rural” heading.
Main among these is the placement of wind turbines, an issue that has torn communities, rural churches and even families apart. In addition, the government has trampled the democratic rights of rural residents in its attempts to kiss up to overseas corporations that bring us the giant wind turbines. Read article
By Christina Blizzard, London Free Press
Some of Kathleen Wynne’s best friends are farmers. Seriously. Don’t think of her as the premier-designate. Think of her as city slicker turned agriculture minister. In Toronto, she’s the cool downtown gay negotiator. In the country, she’s the Wellington boot-wearing, down-to-earth, carrot-packing agriculture minister.
Heck, she probably calls square-dancing in her spare time. Wynne hauled reporters to Gwillimdale Farms in Bradford to tell us how much she likes farming and how her dad used to go to a farm every summer and how she still knows people who are farmers. She likes them. She really likes them.
City slickers call it bafflegab. Farmers call it horse manure. Or words to that effect. Either way, it’s going to take a lot more than a photo-op with tractors for Wynne to undo the damage the Liberals have done to rural Ontario. “I’m very serious about this,” she told reporters. “I’ve made it my business to get to understand what goes on in rural Ontario and in the agriculture community.”
Oh, please. The Grits have destroyed a way of life. The countryside has been blighted with ugly wind turbines that have not just destroyed the landscape, but are also part of the Green Energy Act that’s pushed up the price of electricity to astronomical levels and thereby pushed up the cost of farming. Read article
My thoughts for the Wainfleet Rally are relatively simple – we will follow the successful plan that played out in Toronto, May of last year with bus loads/car pooling arriving from all over the province and the (informed) media giving us plenty of coverage.
Again, I want to emphasize our numbers will make or break this rally – we need everyone to put forth a little extra effort – we are coming down to the wire (this spring) on numerous wind energy projects:-
- Tell as many people as you are able about this event and encourage them to attend (my previous email will help those understand what these 511 foot monsters are about to do to our once great province).
- This rally will be conducted orderly, safe, within the law and then disperse after our message has been heard.
- Plan to arrive somewhere between 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. on Friday, February 22nd; 10845 Rathfon Rd Wainfleet MAP.
- Bring signs of all shapes and sizes and anything else you feel will draw attention to our plight here in rural Ontario (dress warmly – who knows what the weather may be).
- Fax, email, phone or use any other method necessary to convince your local council members to attend this crucial Wainfleet Symposium.
- Contact any media connections you may have and make sure they are aware of our rally.
Below you will find the links to the agenda – application form (required by the 15th) and contact/phone numbers with any questions you may have.
Thank you for your support and I will be sending more info later this week,
[excerpt] Property owners living with wind turbines on or near their land are watching for new study results expected by the end of February. MPAC (Municipal Property Assessment Corporation), the agency that sets property values for tax purposes, has taken a second look at whether wind turbines impact assessment. A similar study carried out in 2008 concluded there was no impact.
However, the results could be different this time around because there have been more sales, more turbines and a larger area has been studied, said Tim Brown, MPAC’s manager of property values for special and institutional properties. He was a guest speaker at county council Wednesday and said assessed values are directly related to recent sale prices.
If the study concludes property values are impacted by wind turbines, MPAC will need to adjust assessments accordingly, Brown said. There are currently 36 wind farms in Ontario that range in size from one to 110 turbines. Read article
Doc Zone | Season 2013-2013, Episode 18 | Feb 7, 2013 | 45:14 – Wind Rush
A growing anti-wind movement says giant turbines have gone up without sufficient research into health impacts. In the rush to embrace wind power, have the people who live among the wind farms been forgotten?
By Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
Opponents of a 92-turbine wind farm Nextera Energy is proposing for north Lambton say they want the company to know they’re not going away.
Members of the Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group and its supporters protested Wednesday evening at a public meeting Nextera held at Watford’s Centennial Hall.
It was the first of three the company is holding this week.
“We continue to protest, mostly just to show Nextera they aren’t welcome here,” said Esther Wrightman, with the wind action group, joined by about 25 other protesters.
She said there’s “extreme opposition” in the community to the company’s plans.
“If we don’t protest, it’s as if we say, ‘We give up, come on in,’” Wrightman said.
“And that’s not how anybody feels.” Read the rest of this entry
Date: April 3
Time: 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Place: Legacy Recreation Centre, 16 Allen Street, Thedford MAP
Date: April 4
Time: 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Place: Centennial Hall, 101 Centennial Ave., Watford, MAP
Heather Wright, Sarnia-Lambton Independent
A donation to a conservation authority by one of the wind energy companies planning a massive project in the Grand Bend area is “a violation of public trust” according to anti-wind activist. And officials with the conservation authority which accepted it say it may be time to create a sponsorship policy.
For the past six years, the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority has held a golf tournament to raise money to maintain trails in a memorial park in Exeter. Last year, NextEra Energy was one of sponsors of the event. In an interview with QMI Agency, NextEra officials say they have a long history of backing community initiatives and they make the contributions “because it is the right thing to do.”
But the sponsorship drawn the ire of anti-wind activists who say the conservation authority has to approve the projects and should not be accepting money from the companies.
Marcelle Brooks of the Middlesex Lambton Wind Concern isn’t surprised NextEra is passing out cash in the community. “They are specifically aligning themselves with community and environmental organizations in order to appear sensitive,” she says. “Fortunately, residents know all about NextEra and that they are neither environmentally sensitive nor sensitive to the needs of the community.
“It is an absolute conflict of interest to accept any money from a company exploiting its land holdings…NextEra needs to get across the Ausable River (which is under the jurisdiction of the conservation authority). It is a violation of a public trust.” Read article
Heather Wright, Sarnia-Lambton Independant
Lambton wind activists are warning landowners they could be at risk even if they don’t have a wind turbine on their property. Lambton Shores is soon to be home to two major wind projects. Suncor Energy plans to build a solar project with 62 industrial turbines and NextEra Energy’s plan has 92 turbines. Middlesex Lambton Wind Concern spokesperson Marcelle Brooks says a little known part of the regulations for turbines allows for boundary setback reductions. It basically means the giant turbines could be placed very close to the property lines of people who don’t want turbines on their land.
Suncor is applying for 21 boundary setback reductions and NextEra is looking for 39. “It benefits the host property owner,” says Brooks. “The companies are putting the access roads close to the turbines as close to the property line as possible so they don’t chop up the farmer’s field.”
But she says in the case of a massive failure of the turbines, they could land on the neighbour’s property. “If it did fall into the neighbours property, you’re going to have not only the blade length of 50 meters but you’re going to potentially have another 20 meters of hub and turbine tower come crashing into your field. A hub and rotor weighs 144 tonnes…that’s going to make a pretty big hole.” Read article
By John Miner, The London Free Press
Green energy companies, facing hostile and persistent rural Ontario opposition to their plans for massive wind farms, have begun backing everything from community golf tournaments to mental health centres.
Renewable energy giant NextEra Energy Canada says it’s just trying to be a good corporate citizen.
Anti-industrial wind turbine activist Esther Wrightman says it is more like deep pockets trying to buy community support.
K2 Wind Ontario — a limited partnership of Capital Power, Samsung, and Pattern Renewable that’s developing what will be Ontario’s largest wind farm near Goderich — has donated to more than a dozen community groups, including agricultural societies, minor hockey teams, a tractor-pull competition and Goderich and District Chamber of Commerce.
Last week, NextEra, which has wind farms in the approval process in Middlesex, Lambton and Huron counties, announced it is committing $1.1 million to help as many as 400 First Nation, Inuit and Metis youth across Canada to attend colleges and universities.
The money will be awarded annually as bursaries to the students seeking education in engineering, science, commerce, business and renewable energy.
Set up to run for 20 years — the projected lifespan of a wind farm — the bursary program is being managed in partnership with Indspire, the former National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation. Read the rest of this entry
Paul Morden, London Free Press
Plympton-Wyoming will defend its turbine bylaw if it isn’t honoured by Suncor in its plans for the Cedar Point wind farm, says Mayor Lonny Napper.
While the province only requires wind turbines to be at least 550 metres away from neighbouring homes, Plympton-Wyoming council passed a bylaw calling for them to be no closer than 2 km.
Suncor is holding three public meetings in early April for its Cedar Point Wind Power project, proposed for Plympton-Wyoming, Lambton Shores and Warwick Township.
The company already has a contract to sell Ontario electricity from the project that calls for as many as 46 turbines to be built in rural areas, from Camlachie north to Ravenswood Line.
Some of its turbines would intermingle with Nextera Energy’s 92-turbine Jericho wind farm planned for Lambton Shores and Warwick. Read the rest of this entry
Margaret Wente, The Globe and Mail
On the morning of Jan. 5, workers with a fleet of heavy equipment mounted a stealth assault on a bald eagle’s nest near the shore of Lake Erie. Their mission was to remove the nest – one of only a few dozen bald eagle nests in Southern Ontario – to make way for an access road to the site of a new industrial wind turbine. As a pair of eagles looked on from a nearby tree, the workers sawed off the limb with the giant nest and took it away to parts unknown.
Ontario’s environmental regulations would usually make this illegal. But the wind company, NextEra Energy, one of the biggest operators in the province, had obtained special dispensation.
Wind power is supposed to be environmentally friendly. But a lot of environmentalists don’t think so. “People couldn’t believe it happened,” says Scott Petrie, a waterfowl ecologist and executive director of Long Point Waterfowl, a conservation group. “Cutting down bald eagle nests flies in the face of anything you would call green energy.”
Wind turbines have invaded many of Ontario’s most scenic and ecologically rich areas. They’re invading coastal wetlands and spreading along major migratory flyways – up the Bruce Peninsula, west to Lake Huron, south to Lake Erie, and east to Prince Edward County, where environmental groups are fighting a major wind development in Ostrander Point, an important bird area. “We have no idea whatsoever of the cumulative impact of these things,” says Dr. Petrie. Turbines chew up birds and other flying things, and they disrupt wildlife habitats. Read article