Category Archives: Ministry of Environment

How you can participate in Adelaide ERT appeal

Adelaide school distance to turbines smAlthough the location is still being ‘fought over’, the date for the Adelaide ERT Preliminary Hearing and the first day of the full Hearing have been set.

The dates so far are:

Preliminary Hearing: September 16 10:00am

First Day of Hearing: October 15 10:00am

(but please note – these dates can change – I will keep you informed if they do)

Please consider being a Party, Participant or Presenter at this appeal.

If you have a particular concern that relates to the appeal, a home that could be affected by flicker, a farm by stray voltage, a child who is sensitive to noise, a natural area that is threatened by the development, you have an expertise in an issue that relates to the appeal…please consider being one of the above. If you aren’t sure, talk to contact us or call the ERT and ask their opinion. The more faces the ERT panel sees, with real issues at hand, the more alive and REAL the appeal is — add your voice. It can be a very short presentation, or lengthy.

If you are at all considering this, read the notice below. If you know of anyone who may be interested- please send them the info.

Interest must be expressed by September 11 @ 4pm to the case coordinator.

Presenters and Participants are not subject to the possibility of costs being assessed, so don’t worry about that.

This appeal will tackle everything from health, to stray voltage, road safety, habitat loss etc.…the whole kit and caboodle.

There are 2 appellants: MLWAG Inc. (with Harvey named, and Eric Gillespie listed as legal counsel), and me (with well….me).

We plan to call witnesses from different parts of the world – some may come in person and others we hope to have broadcast in by videoconferencing. Attendance of the public in numbers would be very appreciated at these hearings.

Donations. We do need to raise some cash to pay for the basics though. If you can help financially, it would be greatly appreciated, and put to very good use.

Cheques can be made out to “Middlesex Lambton Wind Action Group Inc.”

Mailed to:

Middlesex Lambton Wind Action Group Inc.
c/oHarvey Wrightman
1503 Napperton Dr.,
Kerwood, ON N0M 2B0

Many thanks for all your support,

Esther

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Appeal to ERT of Adelaide Wind Project approval

Appealwe will not be silent of NextEra project by Esther Wrightman.
Middlesex Lambton Wind Action Group Inc. is also and appellant.

NexTerror Adelaide Project Approved by MOE

NextEra Adelaide SchoolNextEra Adelaide Project approved yesterday. 37 more turbines for Middlesex County, if we let them. Fight like hell anyone???

Environmental Registry
A Renewable Energy Approval (REA) has been issued to Kerwood Wind Inc. (NextEra Energy) to engage in a renewable energy project in respect of a Class 4 wind facility consisting of the construction, installation, operation, use and retiring of up to 37 turbines, rated at 1.6 MW generating output capacity, with a total name plate capacity of 59.9 MW. The wind facility will be connected to Hydro One’s distribution system.

next.JPGThis Class 4 wind facility, known as the Adelaide Wind Energy Centre, consists of areas required for the wind facility components, as well as for the interconnection route. The wind facility will be is located in the Municipality of North Middlesex and Township of Adelaide-Metcalfe in Middlesex County. The REA requires the proponent to construct, install, operate, use and retire the facility in accordance with specific terms and conditions. Read more

wpd Napier Wind up for 45 day public comment period

Napier WPD noise mapEnvironmental Registry – SUBMIT COMMENT Due July 6th
Description of Instrument:
This posting is for a proposed Renewable Energy Approval by wpd Napier Wind Incorporated, for the Napier Wind project, proposed to be located at 27904 Brown Road, Township of Adelaide Metcalfe, County of Middlesex, Ontario. This is a Class 4 wind facility with a total expected generation capacity of 4.1 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.

Public Consultation:
This proposal has been posted for a 45 day public review and comment period starting May 22, 2013. If you have any questions, or would like to submit your comments, please do so by July 06, 2013 to the individual listed under “Contact”. Additionally, you may submit your comments on-line. Read the rest of this entry

MLWAG appeals Bluewater NextEra Project

ertBluewater Preliminary ERT Hearing
Date: June 4
Time: 10:00am
Place: The Bluewater Stanley Complex, Community Centre, 38594B Mill Road, Varna MAP

Clinton News Record
A neighbouring anti turbine group has launched an appeal on Next Era’s Bluewater wind energy approval. The Middlesex Lambton Wind Action group filed the appeal on May 7, with the Environment Review Tribunal, stating the approved project would cause severe harm to human health and the natural environment.

Member of the group, Esther Wrightman, said they have launched similar appeals in areas around Ontario, because then, it opens the door. “In a way, it was done because of a lack of anybody else appealing it. We hate to see any wind project not challenged by someone,” she said. With several of Next Era’s projects proposed or in construction in Lambton Middlesex, including the Adelaide, Bornish and Jericho projects, the group also takes note of the proponent’s other projects. “We look at this basically as one huge project, which includes the Goshen and Bluewater projects,” she added. Read article

Wind turbines blow and they suck!

Nextera sucksBrian Keelan, First Monday
“You got to know when to hold’em, know when to fold’em, know when to walk away, know when to run.” That’s not just a cool line from an old Kenny Rogers song. It’s good advice and it has served me well over the years… in poker and in business. I see a lot of similarities between life and poker: you can win a lot and you can lose a lot but most of the time you just keep watching the ante go up while you wait for a good hand. If you’re smart, you learn how the game is played and you never, ever draw to an inside straight.

A few years ago, I was going for a walk along the old (original) Lakeshore road in Bright’s grove – a beautiful stretch from Brigden Road to Perch Creek. It was a sunny day and there was a north wind blowing so the sky was quite clear and visibility was good. That’s when I saw them; the colossal wind turbine machines up by Ipperwash. As the crow flies that’s eight and half miles or 13.6 kilometers from where I stood. They are highly visible in those conditions and now the Ontario Government want to add forty two more and they have plans for up to 500 more in this area.

Last year I drove up to Tobermory and drove past over a hundred of them. They are huge and they are everywhere, and I began to wonder how the people felt when they had one that close to their property. I wouldn’t want one in my back yard and I sure as heck wouldn’t want one in my neighbour’s backyard. I am quite sure that there is only one reason the neighbour would even tolerate one in his backyard and that (I am afraid) is money. Nobody that I have ever met wants one in their yard, not even if they think it is good for the environment… and I know that on paper you can prove it’s good for the environment… as long as the wind is blowing when you need the energy. You can’t store the stuff in giant batteries, you have to send it somewhere and use it as soon as you create it and therein lies a major problem; the ability to produce on demand. Read article

Next Era’s 37-turbine Bluewater project planned for Varna area gets Ministry approval

Grand BendLakeshore Advance
The Bluewater Wind Energy Centre, one of two projects Next Era has proposed for the municipality of Bluewater, received Ministry of Environment approval last Monday, April 22.

The project that was approved plans for 37 turbines for a generating capacity of 60 megawatts. Although the turbines will be located in Bluewater, bounded by Blackbush/Bronson Line to the west, Mill Road to the North, Concession 5 Road to the east and Danceland Road/Staffa Road to the south, a transmission line is to be constructed through Huron East to connect to the Seaforth Transformer Station by way of Centennial and Hensall Roads.

“This is a major milestone for the project,” said Project Director Nicole Geneau. “Everyone will see a lot more of us in the future, and me in particular, over the next several months,” said Geneau who added, “Sometimes when you are working through everything and working through the steps, the excitement doesn’t come through, but we are very happy to receive the approval. We have been working with some of our landowners since 2008 and this is a very long-term experience for them as well. We are all thrilled.” Read article

Activists say MOE approval of wind project near Arkona not the end of the fight

Say NO and ProtestBy Heather Wright, Sarnia this Week
LAMBTON COUNTY – Wind activists say a transmission line hearing may be best way to stop a wind energy center north of Arkona. NextEra received approval for the Bornish Wind Energy center, a 45-turbine project just northeast of Arkona from the Ministry of the Environment recently. Esther Wrightman of Middlesex Lambton Wind Concerns has been among the people fighting the project. She’s frustrated. Wrightman saying looking at the Environmental Registry confirms her suspicion that the Ministry of the Environment simply rubber stamps wind projects. Wrightman says the registry on the Bornish project uses the name of another wind project in Eastern Ontario telling her the responses are not original.

“These are projects that are going to affect people’s lives and it seems that it’s just a matter of copy and pasting approval lines in it from one to another,” says Wrightman. “The MOE has never denied a project” she adds. “The system is broken…you don’t have a government agency that can help…you feel quite deserted at the end of the day.” Read article

Suncor finally delivers a shadow flicker map for Adelaide Wind Project – 6 months late

shadow flicker

Adelaide Suncor Shadow Flicker Report

At the October 3, 2012 final public meeting for the Suncor Adelaide Wind Project, it became apparent that there was no Shadow Flicker information available for the public,  most importantly for those who would be affected by it. Questioning the Suncor dude about this he said he could get me the information for a specific area if I requested it. I said, “Oh good, I’d like it for the entire project”.

Clearly they didn’t take me seriously. We wrote the company and requested it again. The response from Chris Scott was, “In regards to your request for a “shadow-flicker” map, as requested at the October 3 Open House, we are currently preparing our shadow-flicker study. We will be sure to contact you when the study is completed.”

Months go on, and we attend the Cedar Point Suncor meeting in early April and ask where the Shadow Flicker report is. The response from C. Scott is “OK”. OK WHAT??? We stick the voice recorders on until he says we’ll get the report by the end of the month.

And here it is, 6 months after I first requested it. Note, the Adelaide project documents have since been deemed ‘complete’ by the Ministry of Environment, and put of for 45 days of public comment. Yes, it’s complete even without the shadow flicker reports because the Green Energy Act removed the requirement for the wind company to provide a shadow flicker report to the public.

So if you are one of the persons who will receive 40 minutes of shadow flicker a day ( like some will in this project), you would never have known about this flicker until it happened. How incredibly considerate of this wind company, Suncor, eh?

Nextera Bornish wind project approved by MOE – 45 wind turbines

“If the Company determines that it must deviate from either the Environmental Effects Monitoring Plan, the Natural Heritage Assessment and Environmental Impact Study, the Natural Heritage Assessment – Addendum Report or the Natural Heritage Assessment – Addendum II Report, described in Condition K1, the Company shall contact the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Director, prior to making any changes to either of these documents, and follow any directions provided.

Full Bornish Wind Approval

Copy of IMG_0380

Active Eagle Nest 187m from Bornish substation, 634m & 741m from turbines.

Environmental Registry
Proponent:
Bornish Wind G.P Inc, as general partner for and on behalf of Bornish Wind L.P.
390 Bay Street, Suite 1720, Toronto Ontario Canada M5H 2Y2
Instrument Type:   Approval for a renewable energy project – EPA s.47.3(1)

A Renewable Energy Approval (REA) has been issued to Bornish Wind LP (NextEra Energy) to engage in a renewable energy project in respect of a Class 4 wind facility consisting of the construction, installation, operation, use and retiring of up to 45 turbines, rated at 1.6 MW generating output capacity, with a total name plate capacity of 72.9 MW. The wind facility will be connected to Hydro One’s distribution system.

This Class 4 wind facility, known as the Bornish Wind Energy Centre, consists of areas required for the wind facility components, as well as for the interconnection route. The wind facility will be is located in the Municipality of North Middlesex in Middlesex County.

The REA requires the proponent to construct, install, operate, use and retire the facility in accordance with specific terms and conditions.

The terms and conditions, as summarised below, require the proponent to:

  • construct and install the facility within 3 years of the date of the approval,
  • construct and install the facility in accordance with the documentation considered for the issuance of this approval,
  • receive all required permits under the Endangered Species Act, 2007 prior to construction or installation, Read the rest of this entry

Ontario government traded an active eagle nest for these 3 wind turbines

And here is why the active bald eagle nest was destroyed by Nextera, NexTerror, NextError, NestError…. What a @#$%ing disgrace!!
Nextera Eagle Nesterror

NextEra Varna (Bluewater) Wind Project approved by MOE – 40 more turbines

approved-transEnvironmental Registry
A Renewable Energy Approval (REA) has been issued to Varna Wind Inc. to engage in a renewable energy project in respect of a Class 4 wind facility consisting of the construction, installation, operation, use and retiring of up to 40 turbines, rated at 1.6 MW generating output capacity, with a total name plate capacity of 60 MW. The wind facility will be connected to Hydro One’s distribution system.

This Class 4 wind facility, known as the Bluewater Wind Energy Centre, consists of areas required for the wind facility components, as well as for the interconnection route. The wind facility is generally bounded Blackbush/Bronson Line to the west, Mill Road to the north, Concession 5 Road to the east, and Danceland Road/Staffa Road to the south. The interconnection route is generally bounded by Concession 5 Road to the west, Mill Road to the north, Huron Road and Perth 183 Road to the east, and Staffa Road to the south. Read the rest of this entry

Enniskillen mayor skeptical of openness on Green Energy Act

Kevin MarriottManitoulin Expositor
During the Ontario Liberal leadership campaign, Kathleen Wynne promised to give municipalities across Ontario more say when it comes to wind farms, after the Green Energy Act of 2009 took that power completely away. To date my correspondence with the new premier leads me to believe that she is not planning to live up to that promise. It would seem that the common trend of making promises during campaigns and then reneging on those promises once in power is happening yet again.

On March 26 Lisa Thompson MPP (Huron-Bruce) introduced a private member’s bill called “Ensuring Affordable Energy Act” which would give municipalities like ours, and many others, democracy back where it belongs. The residents of many communities have been torn apart by whether or not to build wind turbines in their neighbourhoods. Whether or not you believe that wind turbines are the right answer to Ontario’s future energy needs, there are communities that are willing hosts and there are communities who are not.

There is much anticipation that on April 18, 2013, both Liberal and NDP members will support a return to democracy in Ontario’s rural areas by supporting this bill. With the political climate at Queen’s Park if these two parties do not support this bill, then a spring election would be more than welcome. This is not a bill that concerns whether or not Ontario should support green energy; it’s about having something very important and fundamental to Canadians restored and maintained, namely democracy.

I strongly suggest everyone to contact their MPP and ask them to support this very important piece of legislation.

Kevin Marriott
Mayor Township of Enniskillen

Suncor Adelaide project up for 45 day comment period

CommentEnvironmental Registry DUE MAY 30, 2013
Description of Instrument:
This posting is for a proposed Renewable Energy Approval by Suncor Energy Products Inc., for the Suncor Energy Adelaide Wind Power Project, proposed to be located in the Township of Adelaide Metcalfe, County of Middlesex, Ontario. This is a Class 4 wind facility with a total expected generation capacity of 40 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 the proposal and provide comments and input directly to the ministry.

Public Consultation:
This proposal has been posted for a 45 day public review and comment period starting April 15, 2013. If you have any questions, or would like to submit your comments, please do so by May 30, 2013 to the individual listed under “Contact”. Additionally, you may submit your comments on-line.

All comments received prior to May 30, 2013 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 011-8848.

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.

Bill 39: Ensuring Affordable Energy Act on April 18th

lisa-thompsonDate: April 18
Time: 3:30pm-3:45pm
Place: Queen’s Park, Toronto

Hello:
I am writing to you today to inform you that I will be debating Bill 39, the Ensuring Affordable Energy Act on April 18th.

This bill contains six key pillars:

  • Wind turbines will only be placed in willing host communities, and municipalities will be given full veto over wind turbine projects in their communities;
  • Wind power must be affordable—meaning the cost per kilowatt hour must line up with other sources of generation;
  • The costly feed-in tariff (FIT) program will be eliminated;
  • Municipalities will have the ability to decide whether or not they want to promote wind energy;
  • The Niagara Escarpment and the Oak Ridges Moraine will be protected from wind turbines; and
  • Municipalities will receive their planning powers for renewable energy back

I know that issues with wind turbines are important to you. This is why I am inviting you to join myself, and the PC’s for second reading debate on this important piece of legislation. It is estimated that debate would begin on this bill at approximately 3:30-3:45.

If you would like to attend second reading debate, please RSVP directly to Ashley Hammill in my office at ashley.hammill@pc.ola.org. RSVP’s are necessary as security needs to have the names forwarded to them prior to your arrival.

The Ontario PC Party and I appreciate your ongoing support, and we will work hard to ensure this bill is passed.

Regards,
Lisa Thompson, MPP

MOE Field Officer: “We were told no.”

Ontario Ministry of Environment Officer Martin McConnochie November 29, 2012 at the home of a person affected by wind turbines. He explains why he could not measure the noise of the wind turbines on a particularly windy/noisy night. More evidence of corruption in this wind energy scandal.

Protesters say turbines will disrupt migratory patterns of swans near Grand Bend

London Free Press
GRAND BEND – With thousands of tundra swans honking in the background, dozens of anti-wind protesters rallied Sunday against plans for giant turbines in the area. “These companies have no concerns for nature. It is just sad,” said Dave Griffiths of Bluewater Against Turbines citizens group. The protesters harvested signatures from more than 50 carloads on a petition calling for a stop to plans to establish the wind farms in the area. The protesters maintain the turbines will disrupt the migratory patterns of the swans and other wildlife. NextEra Energy Canada, which is seeking government approval for the Goshen and Jericho wind farms, has said it will abide by any setbacks required to protect the swans. Read article

MOE: no map of proposed wind projects in Ontario

“The ministry does not map this information.”
Doris Dumais, Director Environmental Approvals Access and Service Integration Branch.

Doris Dumais Map of Ontario Wind Projects

Suncor going to court over wind farm setbacks

suncorPaul 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

Suncor taking Plympton Wyoming to court over turbine setbacks

suncor CedarPoint_WebMap3_ProjectLocation_20130127Heather 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

MPP waiting for proof of Liberals intention to change

PW- WAIT BaileyHeather 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

MPAC looking at effects of wind turbines on assessment

Aaron Van Ooteghen

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

MPAC waiting on turbine study

mpacSarnia Observer
[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

Wind Turbine Protest Toronto Jan 2013

Wind turbine neighbours could find their land at risk

CHTAHAM KENT ONTARIO ENBRIDGE WIND FROM HILL RD6Heather 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

Former Liberal (Pro-turbine) MPP Maria Van Bommel to provide “rural insight”…ahem…

VanBommelBothSidesBy Tara Jeffrey, Sarnia Observer
Maria Van Bommel is hoping to be a voice for rural Ontario now that she’s part of an advisory team to incoming premier Kathleen Wynne. “It’s not every day the premier calls you directly and asks for your participation,” said the former Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP. “I take it as a real opportunity to present rural Ontario to the premier and hope it will have some impact in bettering communications.”

Van Bommel was one of several key players named to a transition team that Wynne says will help shape her government. Others include Arnold Chan, vice president, Aboriginal Affairs and General Counsel, former Toronto mayor David Crombie, and Lyn McLeod, Ontario Liberal Party leader from 1992 to 1996.

“I’m in very impressive company here,” said Van Bommel, pointing to a series of upcoming meetings for the group, as Wynne prepares to open the Ontario legislature on Feb. 19. For years, the Middlesex County resident has operated the family farm with her husband. Van Bommel says her contacts within the farm community will help strengthen the relationship between the premier’s office and rural Ontario. Read article

Rural Ontario tormented by wind developers

NoMore WT RefugeesLondon Free Press
You just missed it; you’re five minutes late”.

I had just got out of the car and hurried over to the nearest person standing along the gravel roadside, anxiously asking what had happened.

Looking a mile across the snow drifted field we could see the dismembered cottonwood tree, and vaguely, a branch hanging in the air with what appeared to be the bald eagle nest embedded in it. Dammit, we had driven two hours to get to the site, hoping we had a chance of arriving before they went too far with the chainsaw, but pessimistically prepared our thoughts for being too late.

“It could be ugly by the time we get there…”, I had surmised over my shoulder to Muriel, who was riding in the back as my dad made tracks down to Haldimand County that early January morning.

The police had blocked the road leading to the tree and the nest, informing locals they would be charged with trespassing if they drove in, so onlookers had watched the limb come loose from the road.

It was at this time, I had to stop and think – the eagle nest was gone, there was nothing we could do to put it back in place, yes, much like death. The home that they had chosen to raise their young had been destroyed, “for their own safety”, the wind company NextEra and Ministry of Natural Resources said.

I think of people who have suffered the same fate in rural Ontario: Barb, Stephana, Glen, Sandy, Tracy, Aaron, Kay, Lisa, Ernie, Ted, Roger, Larry, Bert, Helen, Ross, Darlene, Paul, Nikki – more than I can list, and their families. They have been forced out of their homes, their habitat, by wind turbines being pushed up too close. Many are still trying to escape, but unable to do so, due to finances and unsellability of their homes. Read the rest of this entry

Somewhere west of Brampton . . .

rural ontarioPeter Epp, Chatham Daily News
[excerpt] The fact that Wynne would use the “rural card” shows how desperate she must be. The agriculture ministry was fiscally gutted by former Premier Mike Harris in 1999, and that status was upheld by successor Ernie Eves and then by Premier Dalton McGuinty. It remains a mystery why Wynne would measure her possible success in Southwestern Ontario by promising to head up a ministry whose influence at Cabinet has been greatly diminished. It further suggests that she knows very little about the province as it exists west of Brampton.

It’s this kind of political paternalism that remains so offensive to Ontarians who don’t live in Toronto. Agriculture is a large part of the economy in this region, but so is the automotive, manufacturing and petro-chemical industries. And we also have more wind turbines than any other part of Ontario, a direct product of the Liberal government’s Green Energy Policy.

Wynne said she wants to address the issue of wind turbines, but in typical Toronto-Speak said her role as premier would be to better convince the people of Southwestern Ontario that wind turbines are good for us. She obviously doesn’t question her government’s judgment in introducing legislation that has changed our landscape forever, created divisions in some communities, and raised questions about health and safety.

And Wynne wonders why the Liberals failed in the last election to retain some seats in Southwestern Ontario? Read article

Documentary airing Feb. 7 on CBC: Wind Rush

By Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer

Making the television documentary, Wind Rush, changed filmmaker Andrew Gregg’s point of view about Ontario’s leap into wind energy.

The film, narrated by Doc Zone host Ann-Marie MacDonald, airs Feb. 7 on CBC.

Gregg, a veteran documentary writer, director and producer, spent two years working on Wind Rush after the CBC brought the subject to the production company he works with.

“There was so much in the media a few years ago about opposition to what looked like such a benign and green form of energy,” Gregg said.

Gregg said he started out skeptical of health claims being made by wind turbine opponents.

Plus, he said he grew up on a farm and could see how lease income from turbines could help farmers out.

“There seemed to be a lot of pluses and not a lot of negatives.”

And then, the filmmakers began looking more closely at the issue and found the complaints they were hearing “were surprisingly consistent,” Gregg said.

They also talked to specialists and scientists, including Hazel Lynn, the Grey Bruce medical officer of health.

“She didn’t have a dog in this fight, one way or another,” he said.

But, Lynn saw how consistent symptoms some residents living near turbines were reporting “and then started to think, ‘OK, we’ve got a problem here,’” Gregg said.

“It was a very rational way of looking at things.” Read the rest of this entry

Bureaucrats ignored advice from biologist to leave eagle’s nest and move wind turbine in Haldimand County

dsc03328By Jonathan Sher, The London Free Press
He’s the leading expert on bald eagles in southern Ontario, someone Ontario bureaucrats call on for guidance — most recently, when a relatively rare eagle nest was found near the site of a planned wind turbine.

But when biologist Jody Allair told bureaucrats to protect the nest and move the turbine, they did the opposite, defending their stance on what Allmair says are shaky grounds.

“I was surprised and disappointed,” said Allair, who heads the Southern Ontario Bald Eagle Monitoring Program for Bird Studies Canada.

The nest in Fisherville, in Haldimand County, was suspected as far back as the summer but it was early November, after leaves fell, that residents began phoning and the Natural Resources Ministry asked Allair to confirm it was an active nest — and it was.

The nest, just 20 metres from the planned turbine, was likely hundreds of pounds — a bald eagle’s nest can be as big as 3 tonnes.

“Any time there’s a new nest, that’s a cause for celebration,” Allair said. “I recommended strongly that the nest needed be left alone, the turbine needed to be moved and a buffer had to be created.”

But while Allair thought the nest would be saved and the planned turbine moved from plans that placed it 20 m away, the ministry decided otherwise, issuing behind closed doors a permit Dec. 31 to allow NextEra Canada to remove it to build a 56-turbine wind farm that will produce enough electricity to power 32,000 homes.

Four days later — and just one day before the nest was removed — the ministry reported the permits and the reasons for issuing it on Ontario’s environmental registry.

The ministry wrote it was important to expand clean and renewable sources of energy — subsidized by taxpayers — and that the eagles could relocate in time to nest and law eggs — something Allair says is far from certain.

“It’s possible the nesting season is lost,” he said. Read article