Wind Concerns Ontario and member community groups meet this weekend
Wellington Times, March 9, 2016
Jane Wilson says a shift has occurred over the past five years in the way wind energy is talked about in Ontario. The chair of Wind Concerns Ontario, a coalition of groups opposed to wind energy in this province, senses greater awareness of the negative impacts of industrial wind energy among voters, the mainstream media, and politicians.
Wilson will be in the County this weekend, chairing Wind Concerns Ontario’s annual general meeting and speaking at the CCSAGE (County Coalition for Safe and Appropriate Green Energy) meeting on Sunday.
“Everyone wants the best for the environment,” said Wilson, “but the way the Ontario government has gone about it has been viewed as undemocratic and destructive to both the economy and to consumers’ pocketbooks.”
Soaring electricity bills, persistent charges of mismanagement by the province’s Auditor General, and mounting evidence of the toll industrial wind turbines are exacting on wildlife—particularly endangered bats and turtles — is changing the conversation. Nevertheless, the damage already inflicted on consumers and the natural environment will be long-lasting, predicts Wilson.
“This [the December 2015 report] was the second Auditor General report that found that Ontario failed to do any cost-benefit analysis before embarking down this path,” said Wilson. “Perhaps if that had been done we wouldn’t be paying among North America’s highest electricity rates, and we wouldn’t be enduring these harmful environmental effects.”
“What has been happening in Prince Edward County has been very instructive,” said Wilson. “The [Environmental Review] Tribunals have uncovered deep problems.”
Wind Concerns Ontario is holding its annual general meeting for members in Wellington on Sunday morning — a first for the County. In the afternoon, Wilson will speak to a gathering of CCSAGE at the Waring House in Picton.
The WCO chair laments the way renewable energy has been thrust into rural Ontario –and local decision-making removed.
“It is tearing some communities apart,” said Wilson, who lives in North Gower just outside of Ottawa. She points to once peaceful and quiet communities divided by the money developers use to lure municipal support.
“It’s not illegal,” said Wilson, “but developers are now dangling many thousands of dollars in front of small rural councils, essentially telling them that if they want this money, they must pass a resolution of support.”
“People wish Ontario had pursued renewable energy goals more cautiously,” says Wilson, “that they had started with small projects — and measured their impacts. They could have helped Ontarians with geothermal heating or innovative conservation steps.
“If they had put money into these types of projects rather than filling the pockets of huge corporate wind power developers, I think we would be in a different place.”
(C)Wellington Times 2016