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‘Not simply a case of NIMBY . . .'

Orangeville Citizen|Brian & Judith Llewellyn|March 11, 2010
CanadaGeneral

A large and quickly increasing number of residents in our county and township, as well as in neighbouring Wellington, are deeply concerned about the proposed Belwood Wind Energy Centre Project that Invenergy is seeking approval for. Seeing that there seems to be little awareness of how close to Orangeville this massive proposal will be, we would like to draw your attention why we, and many more residents in this area, do not deem the proposed site appropriate.


A large and quickly increasing number of residents in our county and township, as well as in neighbouring Wellington, are deeply concerned about the proposed Belwood Wind Energy Centre Project that Invenergy is seeking approval for. Seeing that there seems to be little awareness of how close to Orangeville this massive proposal will be, we would like to draw your attention why we, and many more residents in this area, do not deem the proposed site appropriate for a sustainable wind energy development and ask you to form and voice your own opinion of this matter.

The proposed site is in direct proximity to the Grand River, which is a designated Heritage River. The large concrete foundations and access roads that industrial-sized wind …

... more [truncated due to possible copyright]

A large and quickly increasing number of residents in our county and township, as well as in neighbouring Wellington, are deeply concerned about the proposed Belwood Wind Energy Centre Project that Invenergy is seeking approval for. Seeing that there seems to be little awareness of how close to Orangeville this massive proposal will be, we would like to draw your attention why we, and many more residents in this area, do not deem the proposed site appropriate for a sustainable wind energy development and ask you to form and voice your own opinion of this matter.

The proposed site is in direct proximity to the Grand River, which is a designated Heritage River. The large concrete foundations and access roads that industrial-sized wind turbines require are known to have impacted ground water systems and drainage patterns. If the degree of sufficient precaution is in any way questionable and future problems arise, the sustainability of this site for longterm power generation will be jeopardized. The necessity of preserving this heritage river valley - and the project bridges the river - and protecting wetlands, drainage patterns, ground water quality and wildlife (notably the bird migration corridor) should be taken very seriously.

The proposed site is a popular recreational destination attracting people from nearby urban areas and from further away. Belwood Lake is known for fishing, boating and water sports, the local tourism is thriving with a popular campground just recently expanding significantly.

There are a number of agricultural, equestrian and cottage industry businesses whose operations are in part based on tourist activity and the scenic surroundings which would be heavily impacted by 550ft turbines.

Whereas there are some local as well as non-resident landowners who hope to generate additional income from Invenergy, the actually proposed site encloses a large number of landowners that are opposed to the development and will see their assets and livelihoods severely impacted by the turbines. The same applies to an additional vast radius around the site, and it is noteworthy here that the region is peppered throughout with homes on smaller lots and acreages - farmers, individuals and families working in the GTA and elsewhere, artists and other self-employed residents, and numerous older residents enjoying their retirement. The surrounding small towns all rely on this rural population for their local businesses. A wind turbine development of the suggested scale would completely change local demographics over time, in an area that, at present, reflects rural Ontario at its very best.

There appears to be a growing body of evidence that turbine and transformer station noise and electrical fields have a negative impact on people and wildlife. Yet this is not simply a case of NIMBY by a small handful of people. The area has a large and growing rural population base because of its proximity to the GTA and the beauty of the natural setting alongside agricultural roots. These factors are the very reasons the substantial number of local residents hold a high value in their properties, in which they have either invested a large amount of capital or made continuous committed efforts over the years to proudly develop and maintain beautiful living and growing spaces. Please take a drive around the area and see for yourself.

If we want green energy development to succeed, we need to build sustainable projects where the negative impacts are more in balance with the benefits and long-term operational prospect of renewable energy generation.

Lastly, we'd like to address another important issue on a much broader spectrum. Seeing that the Green Energy Act and the Renewable Energy Approval, which eliminates the townships and municipalities from the decision process and is deemed by many citizens to be fundamentally undemocratic, the province's responsibility in approving projects like these to international companies (seeking to profit from the tax-funded FITs) is enormously significant.

The Ontario government has an ambitious green agenda; if the provincial authorities are found out to handle these ambitions without wellconsidered precaution, there will be growing and overwhelming public resentment of the future expense and liabilities, financial, social and environmental, that these projects potentially represent.

We have a responsibility not only to be green, but to be sustainably and responsibly green.

As a number of publications suggest at present, notably two articles just in this past week's Financial Post, wind power is under scrutiny in terms of the realistic expectations we can place on it for the long-term future. Wind will never be able to keep the lights on in our households, and yet the province seems to turn it into its supposedly green energy flagship.

We will all become victims of this hugely expensive fallacy if we let corporate interests and US energy giants invade our province with massive industrial installations that are not nearly as green as their PR people would like you to believe. Please use your voice, on whichever level you can. Complacency now will affect our children in the future.


Source:http://www.citizen.on.ca/news…

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