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Hundreds rally to protest industrial wind turbines in Prince Edward County

Story and photos by Olivia Timm
Bystanders could hear hundreds of voices chant “We will, we will, stop you!” as opponents to the wpd Canada industrial wind turbine project paraded down Main Street Picton Sunday afternoon.

Mother Nature held off on Environment Canada’s warnings of heavy rain and wind gusts at rally time, and the sign-waving, chanting Prince Edward County residents and friends made their way from Cold Storage Road to the Regent Theatre in unseasonably warm weather.

As rally participants seated themselves at the Regent for an afternoon of Town Hall style presentations, a video montage shared personal messages of outrage and concern. They also saw drone footage of work started this month, showing massive clearing of land for nine turbines on private properties of six landowners in South Marysburgh – mainly surrounding the hamlet of Milford.

An Environmental Review Tribunal reduced the wpd White Pines project to nine turbines last June (originally 29) – all to be located north of Royal Road.

The tribunal decision stated that no matter the importance of renewable energy, it does not automatically override the public interest in protecting against other environmental harm such as the habitat of species at risk.

South Marysburgh councillor Steve Ferguson has held two well-attended Town Hall meetings in the past month and moderated the afternoon’s session featuring several guest speakers and experts in their fields.

Dr. Robert McMurtry spoke to the issue of health concerns and impacts as a result of industrial wind turbines.

He spoke of adverse health effects on people and animals, noting stress and sleep depravity as two of many adverse effects due to low frequency pulsating infrasound.

Jane Wilson, president of Wind Concerns Ontario, added the provincial government has been of little help responding to complaints. WCO, through the Freedom of Information Act, has gained thousands of reports of people suffering ill effects.

Cheryl Anderson, representing the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists and the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory, spoke to continued concerns about the wildlife – including many endangered species. PECFN was successful in its seven-year battle to have an Environmental Review Tribunal revoke permission for a nine-turbine project at Ostrander Point on the County’s south shore.

“Both the Ostrander project and the White Pines project impact important natural habitat and the migration pathway of birds, bats and monarch butterflies,” she said. “Fortunately, we have been successful in making these projects almost totally cancelled due to the danger they pose to species at risk.”

Anderson said it is unfortunate that government bodies have not realized the impact wind turbines will have on these species, and that they will face the responsibility of early turtle deaths if the turbines are built.

Les Stanfield, rally co-ordinator, also spoke to endangered wildlife and the water supply.

“Milford is outside any of the source water protection areas administered by Quinte Conservation. That, unfortunately, means the ground water and well water issues will be solely administered by MOECC – they will be at their discretion to investigate, or not investigate.”

“We as a community need to get a better handle on our surface water patterns, and I personally will continue working on your behalf to promote this information to our conservation authorities and municipal staff.”

Stanfield said roads not constructed properly will impact surface water movement, and in turn, will affect wells, wetlands and streams.”

Mayor Robert Quaiff said he’s proud of the community’s success in reducing the once 29-turbine project down to nine, but says that still isn’t good enough and it will not be enough until there are none.

“What is unfortunate is that we are dealing with a company that is keeping everyone in the dark – and I mean everyone. There are no conversations; there are no phone calls.”

Long out-spoken on the project, Quaiff said he will not back down in this fight, and he plans to tell ministry officials this week that the project needs to be cancelled.”

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  1. Chris Keen says:

    The “Brain Trust” (McGuinty at Queen’s Park drafted the Green Energy “Plan” on the back of a napkin following the directions of Big Wind companies who could see the European subsidy gravy train was going to crash. To vary from the “plan” even one iota would be to admit it is flawed, and the Liberals’ actions have often been wrong. Sadly that is something Wynne clearly does not have the decency to do.

  2. Fred says:

    Agreed. And your right about short memories and all the Tory costly amalgamations, water crisis and deregulation of the publicly owned Ontario Hydro.

  3. Dennis Fox says:

    What a political party claims it will do before an election and what they do after, as we know are completely different – often cause by the public’s short memory. No doubt if projects do get cancelled, there will be penalties to pay out – by the millions.

  4. Janet Aston says:

    Yes, WPD is a German company and it is interesting to note that Germany, who has enthusiastically jumped on the renewable energy bandwagon, building thousands of IWTs and solar installations, is now reverting to hard coal power plants, with 10 new coal plants planned BECAUSE the power from renewable sources like wind turbines and solar installations HAS DESTABILIZED THEIR POWER GRID! (Source: GERMAN EXPERIENCE WITH PROMOTION OF RENEWABLE ENERGY, published 2014) Why didn’t the brain trust at Queen’s Park (if there is one) do its homework before foisting the undemocratic Green Energy Act on us, costing electricity ratepayers billions, putting human health in danger, wantonly destroying beautiful shorelines, productive farmland, endangered species habitats, threatening our water sources, and putting us at the mercy for the next 20+ years of these arrogant, bullying and very expensive “big wind” thugs.

  5. Fred says:

    Actually it is 8 months and with delays the Tories are now saying they will cancel those projects not meeting target dates.

  6. Dennis Fox says:

    OH, sorry Fred – it the election is 9 months away, not 12. So what?

  7. Fred says:

    Dennis, the election is this coming June.

  8. Dennis Fox says:

    Thanks to those who have written in to answer my question about where the opposition parties now stand re: IWTs. If I am correctly understanding what Bill Peel has shared with us, nothing can be done to protect PEC from the White Pines Development. Given the current situation wpd will be well on its way to completion by election time, a year from now. If the outcome isn’t quite so gloomy as it appears to be – please advise.

  9. Fred says:

    I do not support wind turbines at all however I find our MPP’s comment wanting. He is the Energy critic and critical he has been but to date has provided no alternatives or solutions. I do know his party deregulated our Ontario Hydro to great concern when last in power. We are now in election season in Ontario and I lack confidence that any party can effectively govern.

  10. Marnie says:

    Not so unbelievable when they are right.

  11. Bill Peel says:

    The PCs have recently stated their draft resolution policies in preparation for the 2018 elections – see https://convention.ontariopc. ca/recommended_policy_ resolutions

    They have resolutions to:
    R31: Repeal the GEA
    R36: Ensure proper data collection for reported industrial wind turbine incidents such as infrasound
    R40: respect local municipalities by restoring their planning authority over renewable energy projects
    R77: Immediate moratorium on all new energy development or energy contracts
    R78: Cancel all contracts for power projects that we do not need and have not yet been permitted to build, or those that have been built but are in breach by missing key dates
    R79: Stop the spilling of inexpensive water on clean renewable water-power projects that have already been bought and paid for

  12. Gail Forcht says:

    This fight is about the loss of what we hold near and dear, not just Turbines and harm to the environment, good agricultural lands and people but DEMOCRACY. People need to know what is happening with the GREEN ENERGY ACT. It has stripped away any say from our local Government and we are rendered helpless to a German Corp., WPD, who is proceeding without proper approvals and bully our Government with threats of suing. A Corp. that has given this Wynne Gov’t $$$. No one is responding to the questions our local politicians and mayor are asking. 9 Turbines, 500 ft. tall with 4 acres of cement and rebar are being placed too close to people and homes/farms. There are studies that show that some people will be affected, livestock, turtles, birds and wells, never mind our treasured natural landscape. Studies first, should be the protocol, just like Pharmaceutical companies are required to do. Not bulldozing ahead, blasting away without investigating studies. Why is it that 9 Turbines that don’t meet the contractural requirement in the FIT contract are allowed to proceed? The cost to us and people in Ontario is huge, while WPD takes the money from us as taxpayers and our voices go unheard and cast aside by the WYNNE, Liberal Government. That is simply not Democratic!

  13. Gary Mooney says:

    This was a very successful rally, and the speakers at the Regent were all excellent. Todd Smith called the Green. Energy Act “the biggest scam ever in Canada.” Norm Hardie got a huge round of applause when he expressed our collective determination that “This project will not be built.”

    Les Stanfield’s presentation on risks to the water supply in and around Milford due to the effects of vibrations — similar to what’s occurring near the North Kent 1 wind project in Chatham-Kent — is very worrying.

    In addition to risks to human health and endangered species, the remaining White Pine project includes risks to the local water supply and damage to local heritage landscapes.

  14. Dennis Fox says:

    Congratulations to those opposed to wind turbines – it has been a long fight – no thanks to our current provincial government. We all know that the Green Energy Act has been a disaster – but have any of the other opposition parties stated in writing that they will cancel wind turbine construction and establish safety standards for their placement in the future?

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