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New windmill law

I am writing to express grave concern about the new Windmill law that will stop municipalities from controlling their own futures. This is particularly important to Prince Edward County. ...Lower property values and dropping tourism are things that we cannot afford and should not have to put up with. Why should the people of Prince Edward County have to sacrifice our new economy, our jobs, our lifestyle, for a provincial initiative that could place these turbines anywhere else in this huge province? The suggestion that this is "NIMBYism" is offensive.

I am writing to express grave concern about the new Windmill law that will stop municipalities from controlling their own futures. This is particularly important to Prince Edward County.

There are currently three windmill farms slated for development in the County. One on federal land on the south shore and two on various private parcels thoughout the heart of the County. There are many other proposed wind farms as well.

I would like to state up front that I am very much in favour of green technology and the promotion of it across the province. However, I am also a democrat and believe that it is the right of each municipality to determine what happens architecturally within its boundaries.

The problem for the County arises from the fact that our recent economic growth (substantial relative to past decades of economic stagnation, even localized depression) has come from tourism based on peoples love of our natural beauty and our built heritage landscape. We have finally found new economic activity here, extending our summer tourism into shoulder months for wine tours etc. We have also had an influx of people moving to the County improving our tax base and infusing the community with year round... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

I am writing to express grave concern about the new Windmill law that will stop municipalities from controlling their own futures. This is particularly important to Prince Edward County.

There are currently three windmill farms slated for development in the County. One on federal land on the south shore and two on various private parcels thoughout the heart of the County. There are many other proposed wind farms as well.

I would like to state up front that I am very much in favour of green technology and the promotion of it across the province. However, I am also a democrat and believe that it is the right of each municipality to determine what happens architecturally within its boundaries.

The problem for the County arises from the fact that our recent economic growth (substantial relative to past decades of economic stagnation, even localized depression) has come from tourism based on peoples love of our natural beauty and our built heritage landscape. We have finally found new economic activity here, extending our summer tourism into shoulder months for wine tours etc. We have also had an influx of people moving to the County improving our tax base and infusing the community with year round spending. The introduction of industrial wind turbines throughout the County jeapardizes this growth.

These turbines are going to be 400'-450' tall. They will dwarf the country side. One might ask "Would anyone ever consider allowing 40 story buildings to be erected here?" By their very nature these turbines will change the landscape of our County. While reactions will range from "pleasure at seeing the graceful arc of the blades" to "outright horror at these industrial monstrosities", there will inevitably be an impact. We need to have a better understanding as to what this impact will be. We risk everything we have begun to enjoy, based on a lack of knowledge about potential impact. Windmills could be a tourist draw in some context, they could also put the last nail in our economic coffin.

At a recent windmill information session I was relieved to hear that they will not negatively effect bird migration (although there might be an unknown effect on nesting habits). I was also interested to hear the speaker who was promoting wind power, say that he would never live near a wind turbine. In the same session we heard how the leaders in windmill development, the nordic European countries, have effectively stopped any land based wind farms and that the wind farms do not actually replace any conventional, "dirty", power sources.

Lower property values and dropping tourism are things that we cannot afford and should not have to put up with. Why should the people of Prince Edward County have to sacrifice our new economy, our jobs, our lifestyle, for a provincial initiative that could place these turbines anywhere else in this huge province? The suggestion that this is "NIMBYism" is offensive.

While wind technology would seem to me to be far more applicable to site specific applications. Things like residential turbines where the energy can be stored and/or fed back to the grid in manageable increments, indutrial applications (like the cement plant) where large scale energy use could be offset, would seem to be more appropriate. The fact that the technology is questionable in the wind farm context makes one wonder why the government would force this on local communities to our potential detrement?

In fact the wind farm concept seems to be a paper tiger. No tangible energy advantage (3%-5% of capacity that can only be sold if someone somewhere needs it), no reduction in dirty energy production, a subsequent "cap & trade" system that really allows polluters to buy pollution credits that in fact do not reduce polution anywhere. This cap & trade of fictional carbon credits would actually allow for increased pollution, as they come from an industry (windfarms) that do not provide the offsetting pollution reduction that they are creditted for.

Despite these questions, I for one would be happy to see the wind farm at Ostrander Point (south shore of the county, away from tourism) proceed. However this should be the only one allowed for at least two years. We could use this to study the site lines and popular reaction. After which we could allow other windfarms to be located in appropriate locations designed to limit potential impact on our property values and economic growth. We could also use this time to study the economic impact that the wind turbines will have.

This is the only responsible course of action. I trust that the new law will allow us to implement this cautious apporach, or that it will be ammended to do so. If not it is an affront to the democratic process and does not befit the Liberal party.


Source: http://www.intelligencer.ca...

FEB 11 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/19038-new-windmill-law
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