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PEC mayor asks Premier for moratorium on wind projects

UPDATE: July 30: Mayor Robert Quaiff has been notified there is little chance of having a meeting with Premier Wynne regarding industrial turbines in Prince Edward County.

July 23, 2015
Sent by Fax and Email
Honourable Kathleen Wynne
Premier of Ontario
Room 281, Main Legislative Building
Queen’s Park Toronto, Ontario
M7A 1A1
Honourable Glen Murray
Minister of the Environment and Climate Change 11th Floor, Ferguson Block 77 Wellesley Street West Toronto, Ontario
M7A 2T5

Premier Wynne and Minister Murray,
I am incredibly upset and discouraged that the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change has issued a Renewable Energy Approval to wpd White Pines Wind Incorporated (wpd) for 27 industrial wind turbines in the south of Prince Edward County. This project is directly adjacent to the Gilead project, which the Environmental Review Tribunal and Court of Appeal recently confirmed would cause irreversible harm to endangered species. At least eight of the planned wpd turbines are located in the same designated Important Bird Area as the proposed Gilead project, and all are in the same bird, bat, raptor and butterfly immigration path aligning with Wolfe Island, Ernestown, and Amherst Island, all with or for planned wind turbines. This path has greater migration than the famous and protected Point Pelee National Park where, because of this same reason, your government does not intend to permit turbines. These areas are the habitat of dozens of endangered species.

Please understand my concerns that efforts to implement the Green Energy Act are becoming counter-productive through resulting negative impacts to endangered species, as well as the prosperity and well-being of rural Ontario Communities, and the province as a whole. I understand that the Green Energy Act has been much criticized by successive Auditors-General and the Ombudsman, and that the energy it produces is exported almost daily at significant financial loss borne by all of us in Ontario – a loss that up to 2013 amounted to $2.6 billion according to the Auditor-General, and continues without foreseeable end.

The County of Prince Edward has become a high-profile destination for Canadians from large cities, who come to The County to escape industrialized areas for our magnificent scenery, welcoming hospitality and picturesque artistic and agricultural rural community, including a wine sector that is rapidly growing in popularity and prestige.

On behalf of our County, please hear my concerns. The implementation of the wpd project will cause devastating and irreversible consequences, including:
• destruction of our growing tourism sector
• damage to our wine and cider industries
• reduction in property values
• adverse health effects to some
• slaughter of birds, bats, raptors, butterflies and reptiles, including endangered species
• major financial problems to our Municipality as property values decrease and MPAC is forced to lower assessments
• destruction to of one of the most scenic and unspoiled rural areas in Ontario
• exposure of our residents to a minimum of 4000 journeys by oversized vehicles used in construction
• damage to our roads and infrastructure by way of at least 50 truckloads of concrete travelling our roads to construct the base of each turbine
• erection of industrial machines – which are taller than the Fairmont Royal York hotel in Toronto or the Ottawa Peace Tower – left in place to destroy our rural landscape, with no security provided for their removal
• risk of allowing wpd (and all wind and solar proponents) the right to assign their land leases to whomever they choose.
Our County will be left with the impossible task of attempting to mitigate and repair all this damage for which no binding legal obligation with security back-up is offered by, or required of, any wind or solar proponent.
On behalf of my constituents, I again insist that you consider our concerns that the Green Energy Act is discriminating against and destroying rural Ontario for the theoretical benefit of those who live in urban parts of the Province. This approach is so very contrary to the Acts and laws that were carefully and thoughtfully put in place to protect endangered species and the rights of individuals.
In an energy-rich Province such as Ontario, there is no justification for removing democracy at the level of the Municipality which can no longer decide for itself. And as such, it will be fought by as many rural municipalities as can be mustered; there are at present over 90 Unwilling Hosts, of which Prince Edward County is one, who believe the Green Energy Act to be a deliberate discrimination against rural Ontario. You have committed to listening to the local concerns of municipalities. I implore you to not only listen – but to truly hear our concerns – and discuss them with us. We are incredibly distraught over this decision and its devastating impact on our community.

I invite you to discuss my concerns as expressed in this letter as soon as possible. As an interim gesture to demonstrate your recognition of the severe impacts of these projects, I ask that, at a minimum, you immediately place a moratorium on all major wind developments, including wpd, until the Green Energy Act is revisited and democracy is restored, while again allowing municipalities the right to decide for themselves whether or not to host these devastating projects which so greatly impact our economic viability.
Mayor Robert L. Quaiff

Filed Under: Letters and OpinionNews from Everywhere Else

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  1. Chris Keen says:

    This from the Washington Examiner:

    “Wind turbines could be forcing native bird populations into decline in the Great Plains, a government study finds, raising new concerns about the long-term effects of renewable energy on wildlife.

    The U.S. Geological Survey on Monday said wind farms “placed in prime wildlife habitat in North and South Dakota can influence the distribution of several species of grassland birds for years after construction, including species whose populations are in serious decline.”

    The study, funded by the Geological Survey and utility firm NextEra Energy, was published in the journal Conservation Biology on Friday. The type of long-term research done by the agency on the effects of renewable energy on breeding bird habitats is “rare,” the study notes.

    The agency found that seven of nine bird species studied from 2003-12 were displaced from areas in North and South Dakota after a wind facility was built. Some of the species fled the area in the first year after construction, while many continued to leave their breeding habitat for up to five years after construction, according to the Geological Survey.”

    It just makes no sense putting IWTs in an Important Birding Area along the South Shore of the County where we have threatened and endangerecd species when this is the outcome.

  2. Angela says:

    A wonderful and well thought out letter.
    It breaks my heart that people think that “industrial” wind turbines have a place in the countryside.
    For all of the wind turbines in place in Ontario, and there are hundreds, has anybody seen a reduction in their hydro bills?
    Instead the cost of hydro continues to increase at the expense of the countryside and those living in it.

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