The ugly side of wind power (National Post op-ed)

This excellent op-ed article by Prince Edward County resident Garth Manning, a member of the CCSAGE Steering Committee, was published in the National Post on Friday, July 6, 2012.  Please share it with everyone you know.

The ugly side of wind power

Garth Manning, National Post, Jul. 6, 2012 | Last Updated: Jul. 6, 2012 5:01 AM ET

Imagine 38 industrial wind turbines being erected in Toronto’s High Park, each taller than Ottawa’s Peace Tower or the Royal York Hotel, and sitting atop massive concrete bases, on land that had been cleared and bulldozed flat. Plus, imagine the erection of sub-stations and transmission lines to connect the turbines with the hydro grid. In other words: An industrial wasteland from Bloor Street down several kilometers to the Queensway.

Of course, this could never happen – because the justifiable outrage and uproar of urban Torontonians would reduce Queen’s Park to metaphorical rubble.

Why then does nobody – except local residents – appear to care about an even worse disaster developing in Prince Edward County, Ont., a mere two hours drive east of Toronto, a community dependent on agriculture, tourism, small businesses and artisans of every persuasion, including the famous Sandbanks and a burgeoning wine and hospitality industry?

The first nine of the 38 turbines we’re supposed to get could come from Gilead Power, to be installed on Ontario Crown land administered by the Ministry of Natural Resources, smack in the middle of an internationally recognized bird area and athwart the largest migration path of birds, bats, raptors and butterflies in the province. On the ground, there are at least three recognized endangered species. Many of the flying migrants will be slaughtered by the massive blades, and the land animals endangered or harassed by preparatory bulldozing.

Apart from all of this being an egregious breach of basic common sense and of the Ministry’s own mission statement, it would represent a conflict of interest whereby Ontario issues licences to Gilead to operate, in exchange for which it receives from Gilead annual payments (derived from public funds) as rent for each turbine, for a possible maximum of 35 years.

The next 29 turbines are promoted by WPD Canada, owned in Germany. They would blanket the south part of the County, placing virtually every house there within 2 km of a turbine.

Ontario’s Green Energy Act overrides any municipal or community input or control, and is stacked in favour of wind developers. Its authors seem not to have cared about basic rights. They just bash ahead despite evidence that turbines provide little in the way of jobs, reduce property values, make some homes unsaleable, affect the health and social well-being of locals and kill migrating birds and endangered species. Ontario “green energy” policies promote all this – despite the fact that turbines can’t exist without massive subsidization by all Ontario residents through taxes and an add-on to each hydro bill. Our descendants here in Prince Edward County will inherit a devastated local economy, landscape and way of life, not to mention an increasing (province-wide) financial burden to pay for wind-company profits.

Garth Manning lives in Prince Edward County. He is a retired lawyer, and a former President of the Ontario Bar Association. He has never been a member of any political party.

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Posted on July 6, 2012, in Advocacy / politics / legal, Human health, Natural environment, Ostrander Point, Property values, Provincial energy policy, White Pines. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Carolyn Van Dijk

    Well said!!!!

  2. As a member of a farm family that goes back generations in the County and a life-long Liberal who has torn up his party membership I thank you for writing this article. Vic Alyea

  3. And the government’s official rebuttal follows:

    [insert sound of crickets chirping]

  4. Have you seen the gigantic, monolithic metal structures,
    implanted in land tracks, behind suburban homes, and across farm fields, would you want to live under a hydro tower?

  5. Valerie Hussey

    It’s time that Torontonians learned more about this issue and stopped reverting to the standard claim of nimbyism. The issue is complex and takes time, thought and a fair amount of study to understand fully. Take that time Toronto – you hold the votes. This editorial gives a graphic example of what it might be like to face industrialization of a locale that should not be industrialized in this way. Imagine more 40 story towers in a small rural community than there are in downtown Toronto. If we want a nation that isn’t just cities and suburban sprawl, then we have to value and preserve the well-being of our rural communities and their economies.

  6. If wind turbines were distributed based on population and hydro usage, then Prince Edward County’s fair share would be one. One turbine, that’s all.

  7. I spent the first eighteen years of my life living almost under a chain of electricity towers, at 34,000 volts I believe. When the weather was wet the towers emitted a quaint fizzing noise (crickets?), though I never saw one. When a small boy I used to climb up and down the towers – increased my agility. Later on in life I developed at least two types of cancer. Connection Hmmm?

  8. Peter Brunner

    Good neighbours don’t “saddle” their un-willing neighbours with Industrial Wind Turbines!

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