Category Archives: London Free Press
Debora Van Brenk, London Free Press
Canada’s wind energy giant has slapped a Strathroy-area rock gardener with a lawsuit alleging she’s harming its reputation. In a Goliath-vs-David dispute, NextEra Energy Canada says Esther Wrightman is discrediting it, depreciating its goodwill in the community and mutilating its copyrighted logo. NextEra Energy’s operating revenue in 2012 was $14 billion.
On the other side is Wrightman, who says she can’t even afford the $144 fee to file her statement of defence. “It’s totally parody,” Wrightman said, defending her manipulation of the NextEra logo. “It’s parody and it’s fair comment on what they’ve done.”
A mother of two, whose income comes from disability supports and selling plants for rock gardens, Wrightman has been a thorn in NextEra’s side for opposing wind turbines planned for the Strathroy area. She’s also drawn the company’s ire for posting a video of the dismantling of a bald eagle’s nest in the path of a Haldimand turbine project. The lawsuit, filed with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, contends Wrightman mutilated the firm’s logo by making it read “NextTerror” and “NextError.” It also says she infringed on copyright, made misleading statements meant to discredit the business, made false representations and showed bad faith. Read article
By Paul Morden, London Free Press
Middlesex County anti-wind turbine activist Esther Wrightman says she’s not giving in to a cease and desist warning from lawyers working for NextEra Energy Canada. A letter, dated March 20, was sent to Wrightman calling on her to remove YouTube videos and wind resistance website postings because of company logos altered to read “NEXTerror” and “Nextterror Bullies Canada Inc.”
“Our request is simply to not use the corporation’s registered, trademarked logo in a manner that is defamatory,” NextEra spokesperson Josie Hernandez said in an email. Hernandez said company officials attempted to contact Wrightman personally to resolve the issue before the letter from the lawyers was sent. Wrightman said phone calls where made to her home but she never spoke directly to those company representatives. “We aren’t trying to limit debate, which is clear from our letter, but we have rights in our logo that are entitled to protection under the law,” Hernandez said.
The letter from the lawyers to Wrightman mention in particular use of “NEXTerror” in a video shot in January as crews destroyed a bald eagle nest on the site of NextEra’s Summerhaven wind project in Haldimand. The tree holding the nest came down with the permission of Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources. The letter from the lawyers asks Wrightman to remove that video – as well as a second one interviewing company officials about the nest – from YouTube by March 22. Read article
By Greg Van Moorsel, The London Free Press
Buying a hockey jersey with No. 99 on the back doesn’t make you Wayne Gretzky. Any couch potato will tell you. Wearing a Spider-Man mask and red-and-blue tights doesn’t confer Spidey’s powers on you. Even kids know better.
How, then, does slipping on a pair of bright red Wellington boots and walking around in barnyard muck make one an agriculture minister? The truth is, it doesn’t. It’s about time someone told Ontario’s rookie premier just that.
Two months ago, when she was sworn in as premier, Kathleen Wynne decided she’d do double duty — but only for a year — as the minister in charge of the province’s largest industry. Other premiers before have moonlighted, usually as intergovernmental affairs minister.
Wynne, however, would be different in the farm beat. While clinging to office by her fingernails, learning to be a premier and trying to hold a fragile minority government together, Dalton McGuinty’s successor would — what, on her lunch breaks? — also tend to a complicated industry that employs more than 700,000. Read article
By Chip Martin, The London Free Press
She faced a hostile crowd of about 80 wind-turbine opponents later in Clinton, when she arrived to address a roundtable on agricultural issues sponsored by the Huron Chamber of Commerce. Huron-Bruce riding, which takes in Clinton, is considered hostile territory for Wynne and the Liberals because of opposition to turbines.
In the 2011 election, the riding opted against returning agriculture minister Carol Mitchell as MPP, a reflection of the fight against her party’s energy policies that have left 1,100 industrial wind turbines dotting rural Ontario with thousands more planned. “I am aware there are people outside who are angry,” Wynne said after running a gauntlet of signs, chants and catcalls, some amplified by loud hailers. Security was tight.
“I met a lot of people who are concerned about placement of wind turbines and how we could have a better process,” Wynne told the crowd of 100. Earlier, she told her Lucan audience Energy Minister Brad Duguid is modifying the approvals process for wind farms. The Liberals took away local control over where the massive wind turbines can be built, angering many in rural areas. Wynne said in Clinton she was in farm country to listen and she spent time over lunch hearing concerns of the chamber guests. Read article
By Debora Van Brenk, The London Free Press
Get ready for the next tilt in Southwestern Ontario’s transformation into the province’s wind-energy hotbed: 10-storey-high poles to help collect all that power. Debora Van Brenk looks at the early static one wind energy giant’s plans are creating in Middlesex County.
A wind energy giant’s plan to put up 10-storey poles and high-voltage wires along Middlesex County roads is sparking energetic attention. The Ontario Energy Board will consider the application by NextEra Energy Canada to put up poles from its proposed three wind farms along about 30 km of Middlesex roads north and northwest of Strathroy. The county and two residents want permission to speak at a hearing — no date set yet — and more than 24 others have asked to be observers.
The county wants to make sure any poles on municipal rights-of-way don’t interfere with existing or planned infrastructure such as bridges, utilities or drainage ditches, Middlesex engineer Chris Traini. “Anything that would be of public use to the residents should take precedence over transmission poles,” he said.
The county is obligated to share its rights-of-way with utilities, and Traini said he wants to make sure residents’ interests are protected. Council has also expressed concerns about the possible effect on drivers of roadway sign and pole clutter. Traini said the county also wants the energy board to help draw lines of clear responsibility for maintenance and safety of the lines and poles. Read article
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
Tiffany Smale, London Free Press
Enniskillen Township is my home. My family is from Enniskillen Township. It’s where my husband and I grew up and where we had planned on building our home and raising our family. When my father in law was approached about the wind leases, we became concerned about what this would mean for our future home. We approached neighbours and were soon told that there was interest in our area and that some neighbours were considering signing leases for the potential revenue. We began researching and the more we read, the more we worried about possible impacts on our health, our pets and our property value.
Our family decided that we needed to make sure that our friends and neighbours had all the information before they signed. We began planning an Awareness Meeting with the hopes that our neighbours could hear first hand from those who already have wind projects in their communities. Our awareness meeting was held in Oil Springs on March 7th and it was a full house. There were four speakers who addressed various concerns and issues. It was a woman named Monica Elmes who resonated with me. Her community has been dealing with wind turbines for several years and it has effected their homes and health. Hearing her stories of how neighbours’ homes are no longer a safe place and of people being forced to spend time away from home in order to have peace shook me. As I looked around the room at so many familiar faces, I began to imagine what this would do to our community. Read article
Paul Cluff, London Free Press
GODERICH – Shawn and Trish Drennan got some vocal support before heading into the Huron County Courthouse for another round of a legal battle against a proposed wind farm in their home community. About 75 protestors gathered outside the Huron County Courthouse early Friday to voice their opposition to wind turbines. The Drennans are fighting the proposed K2 Wind project, which could see upwards of 140 turbines erected in Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh Township. It’s a provincewide issue.
“It is really important that were are here today, said Lorrie Gillis, of Flesherton, in Grey County. “There are 91 communities now who are saying no to turbines. But the new Wynne government seems determined to carry on with this. We use every means possible to fight this.”
Stan Franjkovic said the Bornish project near his home in Parkhill has raised big concerns for community members, including health issues and declining property values. Franjkovic, a realtor for 25 years, is angry with the Liberal government. Franjkovic said he left communism behind in the former Yugoslavia only to “find it again” in Canada. 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
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
London 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
London Free Press
“Pay attention. We vote.” That’s the overriding message The Free Press heard during a 600-km road trip through Southwestern Ontario’s heartland as Ontario Liberals get set to choose a new leader and premier this weekend.
The 10-riding region is largely an ocean of Tory blue, with a two-seat Liberal island. Little wonder some residents feel they’re afterthoughts to Queen’s Park policies on wind turbines, education, job creation and other issues.
We hit the road with the question: If you had one message for Ontario’s new leader, what would it be? Here are some of their answers.
PARTY LEANINGS: Strong Liberal loyalties, even against a Tory tide, but voted Conservative last time.
ISSUES: Turbine towers, farming are rural hot buttons, with boom-and-bust manufacturing sector underpinning the urban economy.
Wayne Glassford, Muirkirk- A power struggle — its source, availability and cost — is frustrating Glassford in his plans to add a dryer and storage facility to his corn-growing operation. A line of turbines starts just south of the Agris co-op where he’s parked himself to check out grain trends, but somehow it’s still too expensive to get sufficient, reliable power to his farm a few kilometres north. “Energy is what this all revolves around. How to generate it, how to distribute it and how to make sure we make best use of it. We need equitable distribution of energy within the province so that all people have access to it, and access to it within a reasonable price level.”
PARTY LEANINGS: Has a Conservative MPP now but the riding has been known to vote against the provincial tide.
ISSUES: Announced closings of Sarnia jail, Hiawatha Horse Park, coal-fired generation plant. Natural gas power plant to be built; ethanol, solar, wind economies growing.
Jean-Guy LePage, Wyoming – Wind turbines are the big issue, with hundreds either planned or built within half-hour drive of his home. “I don’t think it’s working, the windmills. I think it’s bad for the health. It devalues your property.”
PARTY LEANINGS: Conservative now, but historical voting preferences all over the map.
ISSUES: With no community populations larger than 14,000, this is one of the largest ridings in region. Wind turbines, farm policy and education dominate political landscape.
Christopher Thorne, Kerwood – He’s baking tea biscuits for his two children as they return early from school. His daughter, having had to forgo her favourite school sports, is worried about the fate of her Grade 8 graduation party and school trip. Meanwhile, Thorne’s anxiety grows about a wind turbine that will soon sprout in the cornfield behind their country kitchen. To the soft-spoken Thorne, both issues have a common theme: his children. “This is my backyard and we bought this house to bring our kids up in a safe area.” McGuinty forced turbines on rural residents and will leave before he sees their impact; he imposed a teacher contract and then left parents, kids and teachers to sort it all out. “I think he came in and made a mess and then walked away with his tail between his legs.”
Phil Patterson, Strathroy – Gardenia Restaurant is the unofficial gathering spot for town pundits and local and visiting politicians. Patterson, the cook here, rarely gets to speak his mind but he wonders why none of the politicians seem to bring spending under control. “The onus is on the people to bail out (politicians’) bad decisions.” He’s annoyed that wind turbines have been forced upon surrounding communities despite neighbours’ objections.
PARTY LEANINGS: There have only been two elections since the riding was founded in 2003. It’s Conservative now, but the first election went Liberal.
ISSUES: St. Marys, Stratford, Minto and Mapleton all fall within Perth–Wellington’s boundaries. The towns are full of independent businesses, and soaring hydro expenses have put an extra strain on small business owners.
Ron Cottrell, St. Marys – Cottrell has chocolate on his apron, which is just one of the perils of owning The Chocolate Factory. But making the sweets requires more than getting your hands dirty — it also means using a fair bit of electricity. “We’ve noticed a sizable increase in our hydro bills,” Cottrell says. He says small-town businesses already fight to keep customers from heading into nearby cities and rising expenses are an added strain. He hopes a new premier could bring relief from the rising costs. “Take another look at how much the whole green energy thing is going to be costing consumers and business people.”
PARTY LEANINGS: A Conservative win in 2011 turned the tide after two Liberal victories, but Huron-Bruce was blue in the late 90s, too.
ISSUES: Wind farms have been sprouting up across Southwestern Ontario, and Huron–Bruce is no different. The turbines are championed for their clean energy but have caused debate as many worry about their effects on property values, health and scenery.
Steve Olley, Zurich – Huron–Bruce envelops kilometres of Lake Huron’s scenic shores, but the beautiful horizon might soon be dotted with energy-producing turbines. “Many of the local people think that it’s going to completely destroy the beauty of our area,” says Olley. “I would say the population is pretty split as to if this is a good thing or not.” While he worries the wind farms could wreck the area’s natural beauty, he recognizes the importance of green energy. He says he hopes a new premier will still put up new turbines — just somewhere else. “Find areas that maybe not so many people live in, you know? Not so many people would be affected by what you’re going to do.” Read article
Jonathan Sher, London Free Press
Six days after Ontario officials allowed an energy company to remove a bald eagle’s nest to make way for industrial wind turbines, one of those turbines has been vandalized.
OPP in Haldimand County believe the vandals struck the Summerhaven Wind farm project overnight Friday, painting a disassembled tower, setting a fire and causing about $60,000 damage.
Wind farm opponents were angered when Ontario’s Natural Resources Ministry OK’d the removal of the nest over the objection of its own consultant.
Deb Van Brenk, London Free Press
North America’s largest wind energy company generated local static Tuesday as it asked Middlesex County to smooth the process in allowing transmission lines along county roads.
The transmission poles would connect NextEra’s three proposed wind farms near Thedford, Parkhill and Strathroy along county-owned roads.
County councillors expressed concerns about the poles’ height — each would be about 35 metres tall — possible conflicts with other services, such as drainage and hydro, and clearance at intersections.
Southwest Middlesex Mayor Vance Blackmore wondered if they would exacerbate worries that Middlesex roads already have too many signs and poles.
County engineer Chris Traini said, “In a perfect world, we would limit the amount of above-ground utilities if possible.”
But he conceded the county is required to share its rights-of-way and needs to make sure policies are in place to protect county interests.
That means NextEra should not consider this a negotiation but a matter of following county policies, said Adelaide Metcalfe Mayor David Bolton. Read the rest of this entry
Randy Richmond, London Free Press
As dozens of anti-wind turbine protesters marched outside, Premier Dalton McGuinty reiterated in London his government’s commitment to the controversial plan to dot Ontario’s landscape with the turbines.
“I want to convey I respect the right of these individuals to express their concerns,” McGuinty said Friday. “We are always careful to listen to what they have to say.”
But health studies and property assessment studies show ill effects to neither people or property because of turbines, he said.
“One of the most common refrains that I received from the medical community during my 22 years in politics . . . (is) when are you going to shut down coal, it’s making our kids sick,” he said. Read the rest of this entry
By Jonathan Sher, The London Free Press
They live in the shadow of wind farms and their stories of turbine-induced illness have been brushed aside by the wind industry, Ontario regulators and the province’s Liberal government.
But now, researchers have published the first-ever, peer-reviewed study linking wind turbines and ill health — giving opponents of wind turbines their heaviest arsenal in a fight that could shape the landscape of rural Ontario and perhaps political fortunes in the next election.
“I view it as a huge step forward. It definitely gives credibility to our case,” said Esther Wrightman, who’s led a crusade against 70 wind turbines west of Strathroy.
The study, published in the periodical Noise & Health, found that a random sample of residents living within 1.4 km of wind turbines in two Maine communities suffered more from impaired mental health and sleep deprivation than those who lived at least 3.3 km away.
That was their finding, even though most of the closer residents had welcomed the turbines because they came with a financial benefit.
While the study looked at Americans, the epidemiologist who created it is a Guelph resident who worked eight years for Health Canada.
Jeffery Aramini says he’s not eager to cross swords with public health officials — Aramini’s company does business with the provincial and federal governments, helping them, for example, to monitor certain diseases based on pharmacy records. Read the rest of this entry
By Jonathan Sher, John Miner, The London Free Press
Lawsuits are the new front in the fight to stop wind turbines
The war over Ontario wind turbines is shifting to the courts, with property values brandished as the main weapon by opponents of the multi-billion-dollar provincial push to develop wind farms.
Toronto lawyer Eric Gillespie said he has lawsuits in the works from 10 different parts of Ontario and is in talks with at least three other groups in its southwest.
“That number is growing quite rapidly,” Gillespie said Thursday.
“Currently, we have either filed claims or are about to file claims that go all the way from Windsor to Ottawa.”
Lawsuits have already been launched in Chatham-Kent, LaSalle, Prince Edward County, Clearview/Creemore and the Stayner area.
Another lawsuit is in the works involving wind turbines in the Port Dover area.
“Property devaluation is clearly becoming a major concern right across Ontario,” said Gillespie.
The shift to fighting in the courts follows a failed campaign by anti-wind forces in last year’s Ontario’s election — the McGuinty Liberals eked out a minority government, despite losing rural seats where opposition is strongest — to stop wind-turbine development.
Southwestern Ontario, home to Ontario’s largest wind projects, is one of the key battlegrounds. Read the rest of this entry
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
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?
London Free Press
The article Backlash stalls hundreds of jobs (Sept. 8) fails to explain how we rural Ontarians apparently have stopped Samsung from building a wind turbine manufacturing plant in London.
If by following the public process that the Ontario government has set up for us to use, we happen to be causing a slowdown in approvals, that shouldn’t be a problem for the Minister of Energy, should it?
The public is always chastised for not participating, but it doesn’t seem to be appreciated when we do attend meetings, fill in forms, ask questions, demand answers and, yes, appeal government decisions. If this causes Energy Minister Chris Bentley anxiety, he only has himself and his Liberal government to blame.
By Debora Van Brenk, The London Free Press
The province should halt wind-turbine approvals until a federal health study is complete in 2014, Middlesex County councillors say.
They have joined scores of other municipalities that have in various forms called for more control over the timing and location of turbines, one of the key elements in Ontario’s Green Energy Act.
Admitting to some reservations about supporting a moratorium, Southwest Middlesex Mayor Doug Reycraft also said he has “a bit of doubt” about turbine safety.
He said the Health Canada study announced six weeks ago should have been commissioned long before wind contracts were signed and investments made in the technology in Ontario.
“It really is an initiative that is late into the game and I regret that it didn’t happen earlier.” Read the rest of this entry
NEXTRA: Company has plans for development
By Jonanthan Sher, The London Free Press
PARKHILL – The fight against industrial wind farms added a new ally Tuesday when a small municipality outside London lent a big hand.
North Middlesex council unanimously demanded the Ontario government halt all planned wind farms until Health Canada completes a study in 2014 examining the link between industrial wind turbines and human health.
It did so without a word of debate — there was little talk needed after Mayor Don Shipway and councilors went door-to-door with concerned residents in the weeks leading up to the vote.
The support was welcomed by Maureen Malone, whose farm south of Parkhill would be just 603 metres away from a turbine planned by NextEra Energy Canada, which wants to put up 48 turbines in North Middlesex and another 38 in neighbouring Adelaide-Metcalfe Township.
“(They) came to my house. They are listeners,” she said of her council. Read the rest of this entry
Debora Van Brenk, London Free Press
A wind-turbine meeting for the Strathroy area is once again homeless — for the fourth time — after the Thames Valley District school board balked at being host to the politically charged gathering.
NextEra Energy Canada had booked Adelaide-W.G. MacDonald school for an open house for Aug. 13, to discuss its plans for a 38-turbine installation nearby.
But the Thames Valley board this week nixed the contract, saying “(it) was not our intention” to be drawn into the political debate. “We’re frustrated, I think disappointed more than anything else, because we know that there are people out there that want to have dialogue with us, that want to give us feedback,” NextEra spokesperson Steven Stengel said. “There have been a number of roadblocks in front of us in trying to get this meeting scheduled.”
Another session will be scheduled somewhere else, he said.
That means the planned open house is not only homeless, but also dateless.
It’s the latest in what’s becoming a saga of company attempts to have a public open house as required by the provincial Environment Ministry. Read the rest of this entry
London Free Press letters
Regarding the article Wind storm (July 17).
Dr. David Colby’s cottage is not “in the shadows of wind turbines” — his summer residence is 4.2 kilometres away from the nearest proposed turbine. This is eight times the provincial standard of 550 metres, in which we, the full-time residents of rural Ontario, have to live and work.
I also note that this massive Samsung project near Rondeau is not yet operational. Colby’s comments are harmful insults to those who are truly suffering in neighbouring areas, such as Ridgetown, Thamesville, Morpeth, Harrow, Watford and Clear Creek.
To say that their tinnitus, vertigo, nausea and heart palpitations are fake is not professional.
If Colby could get over his pro- turbine bias, perhaps he could then look at the residents who are suffering as evidence.
Esther Wrightman, Kerwood
London Free Press
by R.B. Philp, Professor Emeritus (Western), Environmental toxicologist, London
“Authorities” such as various provincial officials and most recently the medical officer for Chatham-Kent (London Free Press, July17) are either unaware of, or simply trivializing, one adverse health effect of wind turbines that no-one denies; that is sleep deprivation. Two, fairly recent studies, one in Sweden in 2007 and the other in The Netherlands in 2009, examined this annoyance factor in a thorough, scientific manner. In each study over 700 individuals were surveyed by standard questionnaire and sound pressure measurements were taken outside their dwellings. The authors of both studies found that the frequency of annoyance and sleep deprivation increased with the proximity to wind turbines and higher sound levels. All of the other symptoms can flow from the single effect of sleep deprivation. We should remember that, far from being trivial, sleep deprivation was a standard “enhanced interrogation” technique at Guantanamo Bay prison. Read the rest of this entry
Opponents fighting plans to add dozens of wind turbines in rural communities near London say the turbines shouldn’t go up until a recently announced study by Health Canada is finished.
By DEBORA VAN BRENK, The London Free Press
PARKHILL – It was quiet enough to hear crickets in the cornfield and to make any occasional truck traffic a head-turning event.
Into this, wind companies want to situate a dizzying number of noisy wind turbines even though the health effects on nearby residents is unknown, critics charged Monday.
A provincial and federal Tory politician each called for a halt to building more machines until a Health Canada study is complete in 2014.
“It is, in my mind . . . just the right thing to do,” said MP Bev Shipley at an intersection near the intended axis of a cluster of 45 NextEra turbines south of Parkhill.
In the Lambton-Kent-Middlesex riding alone 400 turbines are planned, MPP Monte McNaughton said.
Calling the Green Energy Act a “disaster,” McNaughton said he would “absolutely” ditch turbine planning even if health studies show they’re benign. The Green Energy Act, McNaughton said, is “a waste of taxpayer dollars and a trampling of Ontarians’ rights.” Read the rest of this entry
By KATE DUBINSKI, The London Free Press
AILSA CRAIG – The videographer’s camera clicks off, the reporter lowers her microphone and thanks the company spokesperson for the interview.
But someone else has also been taking video of the encounter — a boy, no more than 14-years-old, one of a half-dozen protesters who make sure the company line is recorded for future reference.
In this small community, the big fight against wind turbine projects is on — and everyone, down to the kids taking pictures and whistling at company experts, is involved.
“Sure, everyone is stomping their feet right now but we’re at this 24-7,” said Patti Keller, whose home overlooks the planned NextEra Bornish wind farm that is being opposed here.
“We’re fighting the good fight.”
In London, city council and other public meetings bring out the same smattering of devoted local activists and protesters.
Here, people say their rural and small-town way of life is being challenged by a company that refuses to listen.
And they’re determined to be heard.
They might look like regular farmers and townspeople, but they’ve done their homework ahead of this open house, one in a series NextEra is holding about its proposed 50-turbine Bornish wind farm near Parkhill.
One man has printed out a lease agreement landowners sign with NextEra and has specific questions about several clauses.
Another woman is quizzing a company environmental expert about bird and bat migration patterns.
Someone else is taking an official to task about land measurements that don’t add up in several reports. Read the rest of this entry
By Debora Van Brenk, The London Free Press
The emotionally and politically charged wind turbine debate in Ontario has just ramped up several notches as Health Canada launches a study of the human health impact of turbine noise.
The federal department will examine how low-frequency turbine sound affects nearby residents.
It aims to paint “a more complete picture of the potential health impacts of wind turbine noise,” federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq said.
The announcement comes as turbine giant NextEra plans a series of meetings this week and next about three proposed wind farms that will total 178 turbines in Lambton and northwest Middlesex counties.
Samsung plans another meeting this week regarding 142 turbines north of Goderich.
All told, more than 6,000 turbines are proposed or planned for Ontario.
Word of the study immediately prompted the Ontario Tories and the province’s anti-turbine coalition to demand the provincial Liberals place a moratorium on wind projects.
Turbines are a key element of the province’s green energy policy. Read the rest of this entry