Protest over wind farms growing in two counties

The com­mu­nity hall here might not be big enough to hold all the citi­zens concerned about a pro­posed wind farm that is plan­ned for the area.

Citizens have started a peti­tion against the proposal and one of them, James Virgin, of Belwood, took out a half-page advertisement in this week’s Advertiser to inform residents of the concerns there are for the wind farm proposal.

A few years ago, the pro­vincial government told muni­cipalities to determine policies for allowing wind farms, and Wellington County spent months doing that. After the regulations were accepted by council, Premier Dalton Mc­Guinty unilaterally removed the power to regulate wind tur­bines from the municipalities and said the province was going to allow them.

He also announced a $7-billion agreement with Sam­sung, from Korea, to provide the wind turbines.

But Virgin said despite what appears to be overwhelming provincial support, munici­pali­ties still have some clout. He cited a case in Quebec where municipalities took the provin­cial government to the federal Supreme Court over pesticide legislation and won – because it ruled issues for the pro­tec­tion and betterment of citizens supercedes provincial regula­tions.

The link to that deci­sion,  said Virgin, can be found at www.ogilvy­ he noted another site, http//, can provide information about wind farms and related issues.

He noted The Wall Street Journal has demanded studies be done by independent agencies to determine the health effects caused by wind farms. Mapleton council has also petitioned the province for a moratorium on the projects until independent health studies are completed.

Virgin said people have been complacent about the wind farms, and noted, “Shelburne did not mean that much to me.” That community has huge numbers of wind turbines in the area.

Now, however, the wind farms will be right in his area and he, like others, is con­cerned. He warned, too, that if peo­ple are complacent about wind farms, they will soon be look­ing out their windows and up their streets at them.

“It’s probably too late [to stop] Belwood,” he admitted, adding if the companies promoting them are not stop­ped, it will not be long before people in Fergus can see them, too.

“These are not wind farms anymore, they are Industrial Environmental Disasters,” Virgin said. “[But] they are presented as innocu­ous, innocent elements.”

Sonia Day, of RR1 Bel­wood wrote to the Advertiser “People  in southwestern Onta­rio are increasingly hopping mad about industrial wind farms.”

She said residents of Well­ington and Dufferin Counties plan to attend Belwood Town Hall on March 9 between 5 and 8pm to protest “a massive project by Inven­ergy Canada to erect 35 mon­ster turbines, 492 feet high, in our area.”

The next day, she said, those opposed will be in Mars­ville community hall, where the same company will be pre­senting the proposal, which is reaching into Dufferin County.

Day said in an interview that wind power is presented as a “touchy-feely” solution to coal plants for power, so city people think they are won­der­ful. But, she said, they are a blight on the countryside, and the province is always promoting tourism and seeing to “the beautiful countryside” that will be wrecked with the turbines and transmission lines.

“It’s about time our side of the story is told,” she said, noting city people would not put up with the problems asso­ciated with wind turbines.

“Other countries are finding that these monster turbines -and accompanying transform­ers and power lines – can cause serious health problems from noise, light pollution and vibration. They also disrupt wildlife and sensitive wetlands, ruin our beautiful countryside and make property values plum­met.”

She added, “Would Dalton McGuinty want one outside his cottage?

The meeting in Belwood runs 5 to 8pm on March 9, and at the Marsville community hall the same time the next night.