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Countylive poll results: a resounding ‘NO’ to wind turbines in PEC

Last week, Countylive.ca sponsored a poll on the wind turbine issue, the first by a non-partisan County organization.

The question: Wind turbines in Prince Edward County? Here’s how the 1501 votes were distributed:
·         76% (1136 votes) said NO — wind turbines should NOT be part of PEC.
·         16% (247) said YES — wind turbines should BE part of PEC.
·         8% (118) said MAYBE — with research on health, location and long term issues.

These results clearly show strong opposition to wind turbines in PEC. And NO means no: very few respondents wanted more research before deciding. Of the decided respondents (i.e. excluding MAYBEs), 82% voted NO.

Why NO? Over many months, residents have expressed concerns about adverse effects of wind turbines and the Green Energy Act on human health, the natural environment, property values, the local economy, local planning control and natural justice.

The Countylive poll was open for about a week; the sponsor is non-partisan; the question and choices were clear; responses were confidential; everyone with Internet access had the same opportunity to vote. In summary, the process was fair.

The Countylive results are generally consistent with those of the recent OFA poll, which found that 70% of respondents support a moratorium on wind projects pending resolution of several major issues.

Now that the results are in, it’s time to move forward. County residents and County government need to find ways to ensure the continued wellbeing of families, birds, bats and endangered species and the preservation of our appeal to tourists, new businesses and potential home buyers.

Gary Mooney

Filed Under: Letters and Opinion

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  1. David Norman says:

    @Rob Williams
    The only thing that appears “inconclusive” about this poll is your continued commentary on what you view are “meaningless and misleading” contentions of an irrelevant and “inconclusive” measure of this issue. In this respect I extend my apologies to John Thompson as I now am want to endorse his condescending demand, “it is time to move on with the discussion but I think everything has been said”.

  2. Mark says:

    I believe more people would be interested in a response to the Auditor General’s Report, Dr.McMurtry’s opinion and the confirmed health effects of people living near Industrial Wind Turbines. That would be far more insightful than whining about a poll. Have at it.

  3. Rob Williams says:

    Gary,

    You indicated that “While, for technical reasons, it was possible to vote more than once per household, it was not possible to vote multiple times in the same day, or more than a few times over the course of the poll.”

    I’m afraid that’s not true. In the course of testing the poll and working with Sue at countylive to check the impact of her attempts to block multiple voting, I was able to vote twice in quick succession and later again on the same day. My test votes were spread over Yes, No and Maybe.

    It appears that some people were able to do this but others were not, presumably because of differences in their hardware or software configurations.

    The results remain inconclusive.

  4. Dan says:

    The biggest poll was conducted when rural Ontarians voted Dalton and his gang out of their ridings.

  5. David Norman says:

    @ John Thompson
    I’m perplexed by the logic of your statements! You state, “(T)there are only a handfull of landowners in the County who may be able to lease land for wind energy development in SM and Athol, the only two areas with unrestricted air space so that is not an issue.” Your attempt to diminish the avarice of a few in the face of the subsequent fears and anxiety of many is a non-sequitur. This is a technique of persuasion which I must point out would be admonished by your vocal comrade Rob Williams if you stood on the other side of this issue. It is the same technique which your ilk use to justify the empirically known and mutually acknowledged avian casualties (sentient life) to IWT blades. And your patronizing, controlling comment “it is time to move on with the discussion but I think everything has been said” is illustrative of your contempt for the needs (free speech) of others who do not hold your view. From this perspective it is impossible to move on from an entrenched ideology, particularly when you view it as a competition for which you hold the “trump card”… albeit, “up your sleeve”.

  6. John Thompson says:

    Doris, several people have stated that they were able to vote more than once and the snowbirds were able to vote from the US. I was able to prove that point to myself by testing the system and voting more than once from a US computer while away. Most voters from Ontario’s organized anti wind lobby would have had an interest in precedent but no real interest in the County.

    There are only a handfull of landowners in the County who may be able to lease land for wind energy development in SM and Athol, the only two areas with unrestricted air space so that is not an issue.

    I would agree with Gary that it is time to move on with the discussion but I think everything has been said.

  7. Doris Lane says:

    J0hn I voted once and could never vote a second time for Bill
    A great many snowbirds are out of the county
    Usually the only people in favour turbines in this county are the landowners who would profit from renting their land==not green energy but greed energy.

  8. Gary Mooney says:

    Some comments on John Thompson’s comments.

    The main problem with many online polls is that they are sponsored by a group with s bias, and only those who support that point of view visit the site. CountyLive has no stated position and receives many visitors daily for reasons unrelated to the wind issue. So they are a good sponsor for this poll.

    Votes could come from out-of-County, but they are votes from people with some interest in the County (such as as people with seasonal residences here).

    While, for technical reasons, it was possible to vote more than once per household, it was not possible to vote multiple times in the same day, or more than a few times over the course of the poll. In a few cases, a household voted a second time to record the view of a second person living there — entirely reasonable.

    Although John is making an effort, it is difficult to explain away a poll result where the NO turbines side got 4.75 votes for every one on the YES side. Or, in the case of the OFA, 2 votes favouring a moratorium on new wind projects for every one opposed.

    Anyway, both pro-County and pro-wind sides have had a good opportunity to explain why this poll is or is not useful. Maybe we should move on to discussing whether large-scale, uncontrolled wind energy development is good or bad for the County.

  9. David Norman says:

    @ John Thompson
    I agree that the polls you referred to are meaningless in an empirical sense. In fact I feel that they do more to confuse the issue and create more discontent. So too do I feel that outsiders engaged in subterfuge by attempting to influence local and associated member groups such as the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, is beyond contempt. In the following link I call your attention to a comment by Don Ross,a founder of the County Sustainability Group who claims represent the farmers,landowners and homeowners in PEC: http://www.ofa.on.ca/media/news/Improving-the-green-energy-fit

  10. John Thompson says:

    Not to fault the administrator as I understand this polling software to be an off the shelf product, but I thought enough has already been said about the meaninglessness of this type of survey, especially as it applies to one area of the Province. Summary of previous comments:

    – Only those who are aware and choose to respond are included
    – Out of County and even out of Province votes were included.
    – Anti wind groups have email lists and can notify members of this opportunity
    – It was possible to vote multiple times

    The OFA poll was a farce as it was not necessary to be a member and the members were not notified of the existence of the poll. Nevertheless, the NO votes came streaming in from the starting line as emails were sent to lists of negatives, mostly non farmers/non members. It was NOT a member vote.

    The same poll on County live facebook is currently 69% favour of wind power. This too is just as meaningless.

    Grasping at straws seems like a desperate move.

  11. David Norman says:

    @Rob Williams
    Thank you for the generous offer “you pick”. Actually I pick neither since I would not base any decision on a premise based on dubious and unsubstantiated contention.

  12. Mark says:

    Predictable response from the aloof. The poll isn’t the real issue here so why does it scare you so much? Are we to believe the special interest groups ramblings in the paper as gospel? You cannot face opponents at an open meeting so something is surely amiss. People do have a right to make their decisions and your “beating your wife”comparison is once again over the top.

  13. Rob Williams says:

    David,

    Ah the “When are you going to stop beating your wife?” question based on a similarly dubious premise.

    You pick.

  14. David Norman says:

    @Rob Williams
    In relation to the “relevant information” in the County Live item “Flawed online pole meaningless and misleading” that you are encouraging “readers” to consider: There is one contention which stands out as relevant in my perspective. I quote, “(T)the poll sample is far from random or representative since most opponents of wind turbines are members of anti-wind groups that quickly alert their members (inside and outside PEC) to new developments such as polls and encourage them to go on line and vote against wind energy.”
    In this respect there are two generalized inferences which can be drawn. That is: 1.) Most opponents of wind turbines are conniving, dishonest and insincere; or 2.) You, the author, Jason Alford, and any members of the County Sustainability Group who vetted (peer reviewed) this “item” for publication are subject to persecutory beliefs, or beliefs of conspiracy concerning a perceived threat.
    Which is it?

  15. Doris Lane says:

    The County Live Poll is consistent with the other poll nt OFA and with the results in PEC in the provincial election where the Liberals lost their seat as they did in several other ridings where IWT’s are evident.
    Not only are IWT’s causing all the problems that Gary sited but they are driving up the cost of elecricity to the point where some factories are moving out of Ontario

    Are we happy that Dalton is making Ontario a have not province with his determination with GEA and its effect upon our economy

  16. Rob Williams says:

    Gary,

    I don’t believe anyone is challenging the fairness of the poll but surely the more important issue is the extent to which the poll results provide a meaningful measure (even a crude measure) of the real levels of support vs. opposition re wind turbines in the County.

    For relevant information on this readers should also consider another countylive item: “Flawed online poll meaningless and misleading” and make up their own minds.

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