All County, All the Time Since 2010 MAKE THIS YOUR PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY HOME...PAGE!  Thursday, November 26th, 2020

New council far from consensus on wind turbines

At the January 27 Committee of the Whole meeting, Councillor Lunn proposed support for a resolution by the Municipality of North Perth calling for a moratorium on industrial wind turbines, pending:
·         Completion of studies on health, the environment and property values, and

·         Return of powers to municipalities to establish setbacks specific to their jurisdictions.

His motion was defeated on a 7-7 tie vote:
·         In favour: H. Campbell, Gale, Lunn, Maynard, Mertens, Quaiff, Shortt.

·         Opposed: B. Campbell, Dunlop, Forrester, O’Brien, Marisett, Proctor, Turpin.

·         Not voting: MacDonald (pecuniary interest) and Nowitski (absent).

It is fairly common for Council to support resolutions of other municipalities directed at higher levels of government, and to receive similar support.  In fact, a resolution of the previous County Council asking for a federal study of the health effects of wind turbines was adopted nationally as a resolution of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities in 2009.

Last year, Council declined to support a bylaw passed by the Municipality of Arran-Elderslie regarding health and wind turbines, but its provisions were way “over the top”.  By contrast, the provisions of the North Perth resolution are reasonable, given the potential significance on families and local governments.  View the resolution at www.tinyurl.com/4odbvp4.

So why would seven Councillors oppose a simple motion of support?  Perhaps the Councillor:

1.       Is not interested in supporting resolutions by other municipalities.

2.       Is concerned that support for North Perth might be viewed as a precedent for a similar resolution here.

3.       Is unwilling to support an initiative by a first-term Councillor early in the Council term.

4.       Is satisfied to leave all control of wind turbine deployment with the province and wind energy developers.

5.       Doesn’t want to annoy the province by supporting modifications to their GEA game plan.

6.       Doesn’t want to do anything that might interfere with deals between developers and landowners.

7.       Doesn’t believe that the specific issues / concerns referenced are valid.

8.       Favours the deployment of wind turbines regardless of local consequences.

The tie vote on the North Perth resolution signals that the new Council is far from making up its collective mind on wind turbines in the County.  And the last five reasons in the list above may be factors in achieving consensus here.

More than 70 Ontario municipalities now support a moratorium on wind turbines.  While this is only 15% of municipalities in the province, they are in areas where wind turbines are the most likely to be situated.  Will Prince Edward County stand with the windy minority, or with the calm majority?  Enquiring minds want to know.

The clock is ticking.  Gilead Power expects to begin construction of wind turbines at Ostrander Point this summer.  Repeat: this summer.  If wind turbines are to be accepted by County government, it should be because Council has so agreed, not because it has failed to deal with the issue.

Gary Mooney
RR 2 Consecon

Filed Under: Letters and Opinion

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  1. Ken says:

    Doris, I drive for a living, so I tend to be all over this province. Yes, I’ve seen Wolfe Island, and I’ve seen the wind farms up by Owen Sound. I would rather see a bunch of wind turbines than another Darlington, or Bruce power plant.

  2. Doris Lane says:

    Beth it says under the Council Watchdogs that this is a new blog and writers must use their full name and valid e-mail address. Whether this applies to all comments on the side bar of County Live I am not sure. Only Sue Capon could give you this information. I am glad you would welcome a turbine next to your property but be sure you know what you are getting into before you go that far. Maybe you have already visited Wolfe Island but if you haven’t be sure and make a trip over there.

  3. Beth G says:

    I do not see in the reply section where a last name is required. We are required to submit a valid e-mail though. Can anyone tell me how an opinion can be any less valid because the person has made a choice not to provide that information to the public?

    In this debate over Wind Turbines or No Wind Turbines no matter what is decided there will be someone who is not happy. I do not have enough land to be considered for a wind turbine, but my neighbours do. If they were approached and accepted a proposal from a company to install a turbine on their land, I would not have an objection.

  4. Doris Lane says:

    Ken do you have a last name–we were asked to supply one
    I see you brought forth some of Don Chisholms thoughts on wind turbines.
    All I can say is I hope that those of you who support IWT’s will be happy when the county is covered with them and all the tourists run and hide;
    Have you read the articles saying we do not need the electricity and we have to pay the U S to take if off our hands.

  5. John Thompson says:

    Just a couple of couple of responses to Lori’s comments:

    – I did attend all to the info sessions held during the last Council term and checked out the ideas presented. It was most interesting to find out the the speaker on contracts was a small acreage land owner, garderner style, and did not have land which could be leased for wind development. This person did not wish to see it on the neighbours property though.

    – I got independent legal advise on the SkyPower options when they were presented.

    – As the Council minutes have shown for some time now, I do not have a pecuniary interest in this debate. This is because I do not have any wind lease options at the present time nor does anyone in the neighbourhood as far as I know. I do not expect to have any in the future as DND does not wish there to be any wind development in my area and I do not own or ever expect to own land in another area.

    I hope the clarifies that I do not have or ever expect to have a financial interest in wind development.

  6. Lori Smith says:

    Council did not “pull fast one” by passing the moratorium request. The previous Committee of the Whole addressed this. The previous Council held several public meetings with pro & con wind arguments being made. I attended the last one. Seems John, who was on council then, conveniently forget about them.

    In particular, I recall one guest from a wind development project in another part of Ontario who warned would be landowners optioning their land to take the contract to their lawyers, as she had not done. She gave various examples of how the contracts signed in her area worked against the landowners. Including one land owner who had signed a contract to option their land in the next 5 years, but not ben picked up and tried to opt out but were being sued by the wind company to remain locked in for 20 years. And she had several suggestions to council regarding getting commitments form the wind developers regarding road damage and decommissioning of the wind towers when their life span was reached.

    Everyone has an agenda – John’s appears to be to get the wind developers here so he can lease land to them. My agenda is to try and convince council, provincial representatives and any level of government to reduce spending my taxes on projects that are not in the best interest of the residents of this county/province/country even though they benefit a few, mostly large companies.

    Most wind developers are backed, if not owned, by oil & gas producers who are looking to gain “Green Credits” . The only pro wind associations I have found are created by wind developer’s; all the anti-wind are created by people in communities like Prince Edward County.

  7. Gary Mooney says:

    Looks like we’re making some progress. The Ontario government has just imposed a moratorium on offshore wind projects pending scientific study. See http://www.tinyurl.com/6htbfax.

    Now, maybe they’ll take Council’s advice and impose a moratorium on onshore wind as well.

  8. Chris Keen says:

    “I get my scientific info only from independently peer reviewed studies that have passed enough scrutiny to be published in recognized scientific journals. This is the standard which I have used for all subjects since University science back in the day.”

    So this sentence: “I neglected to mention that most of the Doctors that I know of find the wind/health debate to be a bad joke.” – should be taken with as much seriousness as “nine out of ten dentists prefer Crest”?

  9. John Thompson says:

    I neglected to mention that most of the Doctors that I know of find the wind/health debate to be a bad joke.

    Oh, well, Counicl asks Province for a moratorium, Province says no and life goes on.

  10. John Thompson says:

    – In the specific contract in which I am most familiar, a sub station would have been fenced for safety the same as current Hydro One Transformer stations. A seperate agreement from the turbine contracts would have been offered as turbine contracts are based on prodution.

    – All hosting land owners would have received the same revenue per tower based on the pooled revenue of all turbines.

    – I don’t think that there is a causal link between wind turbines and health. Anyone who has health issues has the same access to the medical system whether casued by the cement plant, smog from current power generation, cell phone use, accidents, flu, aging etc.

    Hope that helps

  11. Dayton Johnson says:

    John,,,To add to your statement a few somewhat important details and questions. As i read wind companies may also erect a sub-station or a transformer station and fence the property like a prison.The landowner is not paid the big bucks until those blades are turning and power is being sent down the lines.Maybe the sub-station is built first,,then what? Still no big money coming to the landowner? All landowners are not all paid the same dollars for the exact same turbine and a gag order is in place to assure confidentialty.But in a small community of good neighbors word leaks out.
    As you well know some contracts were signed without a lawyers guidance…they could care less about green space or carbon footprint. Show em the money and get out of the way!
    One last what-if question John:: IF you did have a turbine on your century farm and in say five years you or a family member did develop symptons or an illness that could be related to the turbine what would be your options? Thanks for answering my questions.

  12. John Thompson says:

    We are having a nice adult dialogue here and I have a few thoughts on previous posts.

    Doris, I get my scientific info only from independently peer reviewed studies that have passed enough scrutiny to be publised in recognized scientific journals. This is the standard which I have used for all subjects since University science back in the day. Self publised studies don’t pass the standards of science. Peer reviews from a spouse or interest group just don’t pass the test. I have obtained addditional anecdotal info from non arranged random visiting with actual people in wind farm developments. There are lots of papers available but the summary report from the Chief Medical Officer of Health is a good short cut.

    The benefits in municipal revenue and increased employment opportunities are real. Tourism will do very well as determined in the Univ of PEI study and local anecdotal info.

    Dayton, the landowners are able to look after their own interests in contracts. Wind companies only need access for servicing and assuarnce that no high structure will be built to interfere with the wind. The farmers can go ahead and build barns etc to meet their needs. The companies are known to provide landowners with reimbursement for independent legal reviews.

    Treat, my point is that we are lagging in our commitments to greenhouse gas reductions as is the US and they should not be expected to do our share as well as theirs. Grid operators say that they are able to manage a certain amount of intermitent power with the existing grid so I trust them more than the armchair quarterbacks!

    Finally, Council pulled a fast one last night by passing the moratorium request without public notice or even a previous debate at Committee of the Whole. A motion to defer this to an advertised meeting where the public could air their current views and hear from the agencies involved was defeated. From the discussion, it appeard to me that the supporting Councillors were afraid to go public with this motion as it lacks widspread support. As with the proposed noise bylaw, there was an effort to avoid transparency and who knows what issue will be rammed through in this way next.

  13. Treat Hull says:

    I want to be clear that I strongly support the objectives in John Thompson’s post (“better health, a more sustainable environment, an expanded tax base and more employment opportunities”) even if we may have different views on how to achieve them.

    From my perspective, the province’s extreme debt means that financial prudence is essential. A successful business would not build a warehouse that it couldn’t use effectively for a decade or more, yet this is the situation we now face with industrial scale wind and solar. The grid is not ready yet to efficiently utilize intermittent energy sources where power output cannot be controlled and matched to demand. Under the current rules, the province must purchase power from the industrial renewable projects, whether it is needed or not. Until there are significant changes to the grid, we will see increasing cases where the province spills hydro power which costs pennies a kilowatt-hour in order to purchase wind energy which costs much more, or even pays other operators to take it off our hands.

    I personally thought long and hard about John’s point that “It is not a green initiative to buy hydro power from Quebec if this means that they export less to the US who in turn burns more fossil fuel to meet their needs.” In the end, I don’t think it makes sense for Ontario consumers to say ‘we’ll invest in higher cost electricity sources here in Ontario so that there is inexpensive, clean Quebec hydro available for the US to use.’ This would appear to imply that Ontario consumers would be subsidizing US consumers.

    As another poster has commented, this is a divisive topic. We need to take the time to have a real dialog about how, when and where to develop industrial-scale renewables. In the meantime, energy conservation has the potential to have much greater impact at much lower cost than building new generation capacity. Ironically, Ontario’s Home Energy Savings Plan will be terminated at the end of March.

  14. Doris Lane says:

    Well I have to agree with Dayton again–right on there
    the vote tonight was 9 to 6 in favour of a moritorium
    Congrats to Robert Qauiff and his motion and to the people who voted with Robert.
    Kevin Gale had great comments about not making this a more divisive issue than necessary because that is what it is. Time for everyone to relax and use commone sense

  15. Dayton Johnson says:

    Speaking of leasing their land….has anyone including Council taken the time to really read these land leases? Any truth that Property rights are out of the landowners hands for 20-40 years,Your neighbour is being offered a sweeter deal than you because he’s opted to invest in a lawyer to fully understand his rights. Oh yes, and he’s under a gag order too not to divulge any info. about his Deal. Tail wagging the dog! Prov. liberals are on heir way out and Dalton knows it.Only one explanation as to why our hydro rates have jumped and Dalton is avoiding the truth.How does that saying go…Fool me once,shame on me…Fool me twice..

  16. Doris Lane says:

    John the only people who benefit from IWT’s are the landowners who lease their land
    and we do not know for sure what perils there may be for them.
    The County would get some taxes but does that compensate for the health risks, the property devaluation, the destruction of our infastructure, decrease in tourist trade which is where a lot of people make their living in this county.
    All the council is asking for is a moritorium so that proper studies can be done before they jump into something from which there is no way out of.
    Many European countries are turning away from turbines.
    Where do you get your information John from CANWEA which is one sided.

  17. John Thompson says:

    The Provine apparently had a suplus of power on New Years day while everyone was asleep but that does not mean that we have a surplus. Quite the contrary. From the website last Thursday afternoon, I noted that current production in MW was 10558 Nuclear, 4364 Hydro, 3505 Gas, 1170 Wind and 350 Coal. More wind installations would mean that the Coal could have been turned off and Gas use could have been reduced, reducing green house gas emmissions and pollution. Most of the Province’s generation facilities need to be replaced in the next 15 years and part of this can be wind and solar, providing environmental and sustainability benefits.

    It is not a green initiative to buy hydro power from Quebec if this means that they export less to the US who in turn burns more fossil fuel to meet their needs.

    The Province is responsible for the power supply and many are only too happy to reap the benefits without contributing anything. Provincil grid management would not work if each municipality decided how much they would produce, when and how.

    Wind energy development needs to occur in areas such as ours which are bleesed with a sufficient wind resource. The benefits include better health, a more sustainable environment, an expanded tax base and more employment opportunities.

    A vote for a moratorium would be a vote for a past which is not returning.

  18. Gary Mooney says:

    Adding to the above list, some reasons given by Councillors (as reported by Ross Lees). The Councillor:

    9. Doesn’t want to contradict the position taken by the previous Council.
    10. Believes that new Council should discuss the issues first.
    11. Doesn’t want to imply opposition to wind turbines anywhere in the province.

  19. Doris Lane says:

    Kudos to Robert Quaiff for his motion that is to go before council on Tues. Feb 8 asking for a moritorium on wind turbines. I hope some of the councillors who thought they shoud vote the way of the old council will see a brighter light now.
    The provincial Government is not doing the province any justice by trying to make Ontario the province with the most turbines. We do not need the electricity. We are paying the U.S. to take our surplus off our hands while we pay a high rate for peak energy.

  20. Treat Hull says:

    As a candidate for provincial office, I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to comment directly on a decision by the County government, but for the record, I would like to make it clear where I stand on this important issue.

    Reducing greenhouse gas emissions while maintaining a vibrant economy has to be a top priority for our provincial government. At the same time, public resources are stretched to the limit by a record-breaking provincial debt. This means that it’s essential to spend focus our scarce resources where they will have the greatest impact on reducing our carbon footprint.

    Wind and solar will have a vital place in Ontario’s long-term energy future, once the system as a whole is upgrade to efficiently use such intermittent resources. However, I am convinced that immediate of wind energy on an industrial scale is premature and financially irresponsible. In the short run, there are several options available which would have a bigger impact on our carbon footprint at significantly lower cost. These options include expanded programs to support energy conservation by homeowners, aggressive expansion of so-called combined heat and generation in large cities, and negotiating long-term supply deals with neighbouring provinces to buy cheap, green hydro electricity.

    As the government has admitted, there is actually a surplus of generating capacity in the province and there is no legitimate justification for the authoritarian action which the government has taken in removing zoning authority for renewables from local government. Likewise there is plenty of time to address the health and other questions which have been raised.

    Fiscal responsibility –as well as environmental responsibility– means that we should not rush into industrial scale wind until we have exhausted the other options which promise greater impact at lower cost.

    Treat Hull
    Green Party of Ontario
    Candidate for MPP Prince Edward-Hastings
    Provincial Energy Critic

  21. Thomas Marshall says:

    I’ve read both the pros and cons of renewable wind enegry over the past few years in our community. I have yet to see any positive or constructive comments / recommendations to move past this impasse. Will this be the premise for war amongst neighbors, coummnunities and nations.

    Natural resources are being depleted at an alarming rate world wide and usage of energy is exponential year over year.

    If renewable wind energy is not the answer, then what form of renewable energy is the right solution?

    If there’s a viable renewable energy solution, What is it? And who will evangelize this solution? Who will stand up and support the “silver bullet”, if there is one?

    What legacy are we leaving for the next generation and generations to come?

  22. Gary Mooney says:

    It’s interesting to compare letters and articles from those who are pro-wind with those who are anti-wind.

    Pro-wind writers often resort to name-calling, with NIMBY being the most common. These are also called ad hominem attacks (see below). Anti-wind writers almost never do this.

    Sonme definitions:

    Ad hominem: attacking an opponent’s character rather than answering his argument.

    caterwaul: to utter long wailing cries.

    psychosomatic: relating to a disorder having physical symptoms but originating from mental or emotional causes.

  23. Jim Hair says:

    It’s interesting to read the many comments from the anti wind group. Even though this technology has been tested through use and proven in many areas around the world, the caterwauling for further “studies” continues. Every red herring and stretched truth has been hauled out run up the flag pole for an airing out.

    Nimbyists and the psychosomatic crowd are having a field day.

    The pragmatists among us, especially in the agricultural community, know that the cost-benefit analysis favours wind generation of electricity. There is also a direct benefit (much needed)to local farmers and landowners fortunate enough to reach a favourable contract with a reputable wind company. Farms and windmills work well together because of the small footprint of each tower.

    If you used the media and forums such as this as indicators, we’d think that PEC has risen up as a whole against wind power. The reality is much different. Most residents are indifferent to this debate. Many more approve of the installation of windmills. They do not tend to air out their opinions in public, however.

    We can all agree that when windmills are built, proper planning is essential and setbacks are a must. A reasonable approach must be taken. In spite of recent criticism, the Green Energy Act and the Ontario government provides that approach. While vigilance is necessary, we are on the right track.

    Lets get on with the job.

  24. John Thompson says:

    Although not everyone is agrees or is expected to agree with my stated positons, almost everyone that I know realizes that I always advocated for what I believe to be in society’s best interests and have avoided any conflict of interest on my part. To state otherwise borders on slander or lack of research.

    I was legally in a pecuniary interest positon re the Byran project as soon as I was aware that my neigbouring landowners had optioned, whether I would choose to option or not. I had no contact with SkyPower in the early stages of this proposal. Councillors who decline wind options when there is a draft project in their area have a confict of interest unless they recuse themselves in the same way as those who accept options. My property location meant that I needed to declare “pecuniary” to avoid conflict of interest and abstain from the debate and votes.

    As the minutes show, I disclosed this at Council and recused myself before I had a property option. I also had no opposition from my neighbours who were in fact supportive. My counterpart who has returned to Coucnil always supported the wind development process under the GEA and resisted moratorim requests.

    I also find it intesting that the debate continues without any referance to our need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, spread the available fossil fuel resource for as long as possible into the future and replace most of Ontario’s aging generating infastructure over the next 15 years. Can’t be done all at once!

  25. Chris Keen says:

    Mr. Garand is so right. A government with nothing to hide would have no objection to proper medical, economic, and environmental analysis and study. A government that actually cared for its citizens would have done this in the first place. It’s so unfortunate that when the Green Energy Act was passed that our council, and councils around Ontario, did not act as one and oppose the curtailing of municipal responsibility for things like turbine setbacks, etc… But they didn’t. The current proposal from North Perth is an opportunity for councils across Ontario to make it clear to McGuinty that he cannot throw rural Ontario under the bus. There is strength in numbers.

  26. Henri Garand says:

    Among all the false arguments and misinformation ex-councillor John Thompson gets one thing right. The North Perth motion is about delay. It gives time for the government to conduct a health study of the 100 Ontario victims of wind development, not just summarize some outdated scientific reports. It gives time for MPAC to determine the truth about property values, not just claim there is insufficient data. It gives time to consider carefully the consequences of installing a barrier of wind turbines across Lake Ontario and along the County’s south shore because migratory birds try to avoid wind projects.

    What is the rush to erect turbines that will last for 20 or more years? Who will benefit long-term except a few landowners? In this regard Mr. Thompson is consistent. When on council he put his own and his friends’ business interests in the Byran Wind Project ahead of the electorate’s. He continues to represent a minority. The new councillors for Sophiasburgh take a cautious view of wind development.

    Henri Garand
    Big Island

  27. John Thompson says:

    I agree with Mr. Mooney that the Arran Elderlie bylaw was “way over the top.” That didn’t stop our anti wind group from bring Gillespie from Toronto and lobbying their Councillors for support. It worked in getting then Councillor Mertens to switch from previous positons, possibly because the chance of more votes was percieved to be more important than the science of clean renewables.

    I suggest that the seven Councillors do not beleive that the specific issues/concerns are valid. They are in good company as tons of health studies have been done and are summarized by our Chief Medical Officer of health who did not find a causal link between wind developments and adverse health issues. I have made random visits to farmers and others living in wind farm area and have only found health and happiness with the project. It has even been suggested that those who realize the benefits of clean renewable energy have immunity to the so called “wind turbine syndrome.” This could make for an interesting scientific study! The requested studies would probably take ten years but procrastination is the objective. Lastly, I was able to follow up on the sad tale of a farmer who, according to the anti wind people, had to sell the farm to the developer, sign a gag order and move out. By tracing this story back to the actual farmer, I found out that this tale was a fabrication. They have not shared any more names with me since, but my thinking is fool me once, shame on you but fool me twice, shame on me!

    Tourism concerns are another red herring as a University of PEI study found that tourist acutally want more turbines! Scotland is proceeding with major wind development in spite of their tourist economy. We also have the spectacle of waiting lines for the ferry to Wolfe Island as large numbers head for the beach and golf course etc there. Our personal survey of our B and B guests for two summers has found no opposition to wind development in the County and much suppport.

    I see the main concern of anti wind to be their property values. Not much evidence here either and locally there was a very succesfull sale on Big Island when a project there was a possibility. Property bubbles are not in our long term interest anyway as they always burst and end in tears. I doubt if wind farms would make houses more affordable but more power to them if they do. The younger generation will be thankfull and better able to support the aging population.

    2009 was the second year when the world installed more renewable than polluting energy. Dr. Rick Smith of Environmental Defence has noted that the more people use renewable energy, the more they like it. We have lived through technological change before! Ontario has already seen eight coal burners shut down, with more to come. Farms are one obvious place to put renewable energy, but accross Ontario hospitals, municipalites, and churhes are seeing the possibilities. Why wouldn’t we use our land and roof spaces to make energy, keeping energy dollars in the Province instead of buying imported coal or oil?

    Finally, when President Clinton visited Toronto he said “I think it’s a real city of the future. I think that having that big windmill…is a signal to people from all over the world… that you are interested in the future.”

    We can be a County of the future too!

  28. Doris Lane says:

    I agree with Dayton–maybe the vote should be taken again when everyone is present and maybe it is time that councillors who have a conflict do not sit on council.

  29. Dayton Johnson says:

    In this high tech world it’s interesting that councillors can simply be marked absent and not participate in voting procedure.Perhaps this is when a vote should be deferred.A tie vote as in this case is not a fair vote.There is technology out there that connects one with real time events.Is that good representation for your Ward?

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