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Local wind projects to have limited impact on Brockton

An information meeting on proposed wind farms in Formosa and Paisley has eased the concerns of some local councillors about their impact on Brockton. But officials are still unsure about the future of the industry and its impact on the social and economic aspects of rural life, as well as the health of nearby residents.

An information meeting on proposed wind farms in Formosa and Paisley has eased the concerns of some local councillors about their impact on Brockton.
But officials are still unsure about the future of the industry and its impact on the social and economic aspects of rural life, as well as the health of nearby residents.

"In the province's rush to meet a campaign promise of no more coal-fired turbines, they have listened to large corporations and ruled out the opportunity for individuals and communities to explore the social and economic impact of wind turbines," Coun. Dan Gieruszak told The WHT after a rare Thursday morning council meeting with representatives of NEXTera Energy.

Nicole Geneau, project manager with NEXTera, along with two consultants, visited Brockton council to provide information on two six-turbine sites planned for lands near Formosa and Paisley.

Consultants Derek Dudek of IBI-Group and Pat Becker of Genivar Ont. Inc., told council that the impact of the projects on Brockton was minimal.
While new regulations are still being studied by the province, they noted the minimum setback for each turbine will most likely remain at 550 metres and the setbacks for larger projects could be set... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

An information meeting on proposed wind farms in Formosa and Paisley has eased the concerns of some local councillors about their impact on Brockton.
But officials are still unsure about the future of the industry and its impact on the social and economic aspects of rural life, as well as the health of nearby residents.

"In the province's rush to meet a campaign promise of no more coal-fired turbines, they have listened to large corporations and ruled out the opportunity for individuals and communities to explore the social and economic impact of wind turbines," Coun. Dan Gieruszak told The WHT after a rare Thursday morning council meeting with representatives of NEXTera Energy.

Nicole Geneau, project manager with NEXTera, along with two consultants, visited Brockton council to provide information on two six-turbine sites planned for lands near Formosa and Paisley.

Consultants Derek Dudek of IBI-Group and Pat Becker of Genivar Ont. Inc., told council that the impact of the projects on Brockton was minimal.
While new regulations are still being studied by the province, they noted the minimum setback for each turbine will most likely remain at 550 metres and the setbacks for larger projects could be set up to 1,000 metres without noise barriers.

Bruce County planner David Smith, who was also present for the Thursday session, did point out that some developers are pressuring the province to go with site specific noise studies that could reduce the setback to 400 metres.

Coun. Dave Inglis argued the setbacks should be bigger for any project.
"As far as I'm concerned," he said, "if you have more than one (turbine) it should be more than the 550."

However he was told having two turbines doesn't equate to twice the noise level. For larger projects with 27 turbines, the setback is 700 metres.
Local officials were more interested in the project near Formosa as part of Brockton is within the study area.

Geneau told them their concerns were unfounded. "The study area is bigger than what we need. We just want to see the potential and the impact, it's not to say we're going to put more turbines up there," she said, adding they couldn't just put turbines anywhere.

When Mayor Charlie Bagnato asked about the high number of those against wind farms at a recent public meeting in Port Elgin, Becker informed him of public meetings in Toronto where "the majority of people are in favour" of wind turbines.

"Oh great, a giant metropolis where no one is ever going to see a wind turbine," Bagnato replied.

Geneau told council her company is the largest owner and operator of wind turbines in North America with 8,200 operating in 65 different projects across 24 states and two provinces.

"I have not heard one single complaint," Geneau said. "That tells us the process we're using is working. We use the best science and follow regulations." She added her company has even won environmental awards.
Geneau was asked to keep locals informed by updates at Bruce County council.

After the meeting Gieruszak and Inglis were still not convinced.

"For the first time in 100 years rural populations in the United States are growing but that won't happen here if the province continues to view the countryside as a resource to be plundered. I am concerned that there will be a long-term reduction of quality of life in rural Ontario, for the benefit of urban populations," Gieruszak said.

Inglis agreed. "I've always had concerns about the health issues and the setbacks, they're not big enough."

Inglis even questioned the logic behind the technology. "The efficiency is not all that great, not sure if it's the answer. What happens to these turbines if (owner/operators) walk away after the grants end," he asked.

Gieruszak also expressed concerns over the value of land near turbine projects and the health ramifications.

"Make no mistake about it, if you are a new family moving to the area, you are not going to move to a property close to wind turbines or a power station and risk one of your family being negatively impacted. People have avoided living close to transmission lines for years and just as property owners along the transmission corridor are being dealt with unfairly, so are property owners close to wind turbines."

There are other social consequences as well, Gieruszak said. "Many home owners who previously had unobstructed views of a beautiful countryside for 30 to 50 kilometres now see wind turbines during the day and hundreds of flashing red lights at night. Wind turbines do nothing to add to the quality of life of rural Ontario when local people who are affected have no say in where they are located."

There is an environmental study underway currently and NEXTera is planning an open house for the projects in September. The projects are scheduled to be installed in late 2010.


Source: http://www.walkerton.com/wa...

AUG 12 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/21703-local-wind-projects-to-have-limited-impact-on-brockton
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