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Township hopes to slow wind project

The likelihood of Ontario agreeing to a moratorium on new wind generation projects until the potential health impacts are studied appeared to dim this week. Bill Bilton, the mayor of Dawn-Euphemia, said council members still hope to meet with Energy Minister George Smitherman to talk about the township’s call for the moratorium and study, even after hearing the strong comments Premier Dalton McGuinty made this week in favour of green energy projects.

The likelihood of Ontario agreeing to a moratorium on new wind generation projects until the potential health impacts are studied appeared to dim this week.

Bill Bilton, the mayor of Dawn-Euphemia, said council members still hope to meet with Energy Minister George Smitherman to talk about the township’s call for the moratorium and study, even after hearing the strong comments Premier Dalton McGuinty made this week in favour of green energy projects.

“I would expect it does reduce the chance a moratorium and a health study will happen,” Bilton conceded.

McGuinty told a London Chamber of Commerce luncheon Tuesday that if all safety and environmental standards are met communities won’t be allowed to reject wind turbines and other green energy projects,

Bilton said council has asked to meet with Smitherman during the annual Good Roads conference set for later this month in Toronto.

“We’ll proceed with it, if they can accommodate us,” Bilton said.

IPC Energy of Mississauga wants to build a 35-turbine wind farm in Dawn-Euphemia and it’s still waiting for council to act on an official plan amendment and zoning changes sought by the company.

“We can only sit on it until the end of February,”... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

The likelihood of Ontario agreeing to a moratorium on new wind generation projects until the potential health impacts are studied appeared to dim this week.

Bill Bilton, the mayor of Dawn-Euphemia, said council members still hope to meet with Energy Minister George Smitherman to talk about the township’s call for the moratorium and study, even after hearing the strong comments Premier Dalton McGuinty made this week in favour of green energy projects.

“I would expect it does reduce the chance a moratorium and a health study will happen,” Bilton conceded.

McGuinty told a London Chamber of Commerce luncheon Tuesday that if all safety and environmental standards are met communities won’t be allowed to reject wind turbines and other green energy projects,

Bilton said council has asked to meet with Smitherman during the annual Good Roads conference set for later this month in Toronto.

“We’ll proceed with it, if they can accommodate us,” Bilton said.

IPC Energy of Mississauga wants to build a 35-turbine wind farm in Dawn-Euphemia and it’s still waiting for council to act on an official plan amendment and zoning changes sought by the company.

“We can only sit on it until the end of February,” Bilton said.

At that point, the company could take its case for planning and zoning directly to the Ontario Municipal Board, he said.

“Usually, if the proponent decided to take it to the Ontario Municipal Board, they get approved,” Bilton said. “That’s the way it has been in the past.”

Tom Lewis, manager of planning and environment with IPC Energy, said the project also needs to go through the provincial environmental approvals process.

McGuinty said the new Green Energy Act his government will introduce is intended to prevent barriers to green energy projects.

“We’re looking forward to the playing field being established and the rules being clear,” Lewis said.

Bilton said township council isn’t opposed to green energy or wind turbines. “We just want to see it done right.”

He added, “If they don’t pose a health hazard to the residents, we have no problem with them.”

Ann Towell is among many residents of the township worried about the wind farm.

“The main concerns for me were health issues,” she said.

Towell said she has heard about people living next to wind turbines suffering from severe headaches and even nose bleeds.

“They’re huge industrial things and they’re putting them too close to homes.”

Towell said she was a supporter when she first heard wind turbines were coming to the township.

But, she changed her mind after investigating the issue.

“I thought, ‘I can live with these things,’” Towell said. “Then, when I heard people were getting sick, I thought, ‘Maybe I can’t, maybe I would have to move.’”

Recently, Robert McMurtry, the former dean of medicine at the University of Western Ontario, joined the list of those calling for health studies into wind turbines.

Lewis pointed to the fact that 60,000 wind turbines have already been installed around the world.

“They’ve been doing it Denmark and German for years, with very little negative health impacts on humans,” he said.

The only wind farm in Lambton County so far was official opened last year near Kettle Point in Lambton Shores.

Mark Simpson, the Lambton Shores councillor for the ward in which the turbines are located, said he has heard only one noise complaint about the turbines. That was from a family renting a nearby farm house, but he believes they’ve since moved out.

“Other than that,” Simpson said, “there really hasn’t been any complaints.”

Simpson said he was “a bit of a nay-sayer” about the wind farm but added, “I can’t say it has been a controversial issue for our municipality, at all.”

When the Lambton Shores wind farm opened, it was expected more turbines would be added in the future.

Simpson said that hasn’t happened because of a lack of capacity in the electricity grid in that part of Ontario.

He blames poor planning by the province. “They want to put these turbines in here and there’s no capacity in the grid,” Simpson said. “It makes no sense to me.”


Source: http://www.theobserver.ca/A...

FEB 11 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/19028-township-hopes-to-slow-wind-project
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