Turbine setbacks breached: community groups demands power project be cancelled

WLGWAG Demands Wind Permit Cancellation

SMITHVILLE, ON February 10, 2014

The astounding news that three of the five industrial wind turbines in West Lincoln were constructed in violation of Provincial setback regulations has ignited chorus of angry neighbours and the West Lincoln Glanbrook Wind Action Group to demand that the MOE cancel this FIT wind energy contract.
Confirmation of the setback deficiencies finally came Monday February 3rd when Mr. Vic Schroter, Director of the MOE, Environmental Approvals Branch acknowledged to WLGWAG member Wendy Veldman that an Ontario Land Surveyor had verified that three of the five turbines are deficient in their property boundary setback requirements and subsequently in violation of their Renewable Energy Approval.
The contentious West Lincoln wind project is in the final stage of completion and consists of five humongous turbines towering 475’ above this rural neighbourhood.  If permitted to commence operation this spring the 729 residents living within 2km radius of these industrial wind turbines are fearful of the expected major negative impacts.  As globally reported wherever industrial wind turbines have been erected as many as 15- 20% experience serious health impacts, 20-40% property devaluation (if even salable at all), andserious devastation of the local bird and bat populations.
The project is being constructed by Rankin Construction as a major partner in Vineland Power Inc. which received their Renewable Energy Approval on June 20, 2013 despite massive public protests and municipal Council objections dating back to 2010. Unfortunately, under the Green Energy Act, municipal governments were stripped of their historic and democratic rights to plan or regulate such industrial intrusions onto prime agricultural farmlands. 
In response to the Green Energy Act, the West Lincoln Council in conjunction, with ninety one other rural municipalities, declared itself a Not a Willing Host to wind turbines. Additional Council petitioning the Province to impose a moratorium on any wind development until the federal Health Study on industrial wind turbines is completed in 2015. Similarly over 2000 local residents signed a wind moratorium petition which was submitted to the Provincial Legislature in April 2013 by local MPP Tim Hudak.

Neil Switzer, Chair of the WLGWAG claims that this setback violation illustrates the arrogance and disrespect wind companies have for neighbours and the lack of oversight on the part of the provincial regulators/promoters. The Renewable Energy Approval under Section 53 of Ont. Reg. 359/09 is very clear in  the setback requirements. It states that no person shall construct a wind turbine unlesssetback is provided between a turbine and the nearest property boundary equal to or greater than the height of the turbine hub, or 312’ in this case. Exceptions to this requirement are permitted so long as the wind company submits a Property Assessment Report at the time of permit application justifying reduced setback(s) or submission of signed agreements with neighbour(s) to the proposed reductions. According to an email from Sarah Raetsen, Senior MOE Program Coordinator, Environmental Approvals Branch, a property assessment report was not completed or submitted because IPC reported that all five industrial wind turbines were compliant to setback regulations

While the MOE hasn’t shared the extent of the setback deficiencies, members of the WLGWAG took measurements with a laser rangefinder and found four setback infractions with the largest short a whopping 92’ or 29% deficient. Most frustrating for local law abiding residents is the obvious double standard that is applied to wind turbine projects. As any homeowner, businessman or developer knows if ever they make a construction error on their approved setback distance they’d be slapped with an immediate stop work order anddemand to demolish or move the project irregardless of the owners expense or loss. Unfortunately it appears different law applies to the wind industry and they can do no wrong under the current government’s “carte blanche” endorsements.

As of Friday, February 7, 2013 residents have now learned from Mr Steve Green, MOE Niagara Compliance Officer, that a new precedent will be set to legitimize the setback deficiencies by allowing the wind company to retroactively seek and acquire permission from the impacted neighbours to accept reduced turbine setback distances from their property boundaries. Interestingly, Sarah Raetsen (MOE) in an email to a WLGWAG member, clearly stated that if there was a need for a property assessment report it should have been completed PRIOR to the applicant’s final report submissions and MOE approval of the project.
Enough is enough, says Neil Switzer. “It’s time for all concerned citizens to join us in our demand that this project be cancelled immediately. It’s time to restore justice and to curb the skyrocketing electricity costs resulting from these inefficient and exorbitantly expensive wind projects”. 
Neil urges all to call or send your demand for cancellation of this project to Mr Vic Schroter, Director, Environmental Approvals Branch, who is both acutely aware of this transgression and more importantly has the legislated right to revoke or cancel the project’s approval.  
Please also sendcopy of your demand to Schroter’s superiors Minister Bradley and Premier Wynne.

Neil Switzer Chair, WLGWAG  www.wlwag.com

One in, one out: but farm owners persist in belief that wind “farms” aren’t hurting anyone

Here from the current edition of Farmers Forum, interview with two Ontario farmers: one who reacted to community concerns about wind turbines on his property, and the other, who says they don’t cause any problems and he’d be happy to host several. (Note: the North Gower area farmer who says he’d like a “couple” and who advises to keep the wind farms “small” was in fact leasing land for a 20-megawatt project near Ottawa, that would have affected over 1,000 families and, had it received a FIT contract, cost the people of Ontario $4.8 million and year, or $96 million over the life of the contract. Some “small.”)

Farmers face off over wind turbines

Wind farm at Brinston will be test case for others

 
By Tom Collins

PETERBOROUGH — As 10 new wind turbines were to start spinning at Brinston — about an hour south of urban Ottawa — the tide of public opinion about wind farms is changing, pitting farmers against one another.
The Brinston wind farm has been controversial, so much so that South Dundas council has since passed a resolution that it will not support further turbines until it sees a need for it. Some wind power supporters have seen communities turn on them.
When M.K. Ince and Associates Ltd. decided to build five wind turbines in Cavan Monaghan Township near Peterborough, Don Winslow immediately jumped on board. In spring of 2013, he signed with the wind company to allow them to build a wind turbine on his 500-acre cash crop farm. Three months later, after immense public pressure and hostility, he told the company he couldn’t do it anymore.
“It relieved our stress tremendously (to cancel the contract),” said 70-year-old Winslow, who estimated that less than five per cent of the community is in favour of wind turbines. “We don’t have to sneak around the neighbours hoping to not run into them.
“There is always an element of society that is going to go overboard,” he said. “But people I respected were just as upset as the real radicals.”
Winslow is still a big believer in wind technology. But many Ontario municipalities are not. As of late January, 78 of 444 municipalities have declared themselves unwilling hosts of wind turbines — along with 33 concerned municipalities — despite the fact the designation has no teeth.
Five or six years ago, wind companies were offering farmers an agreement where they could earn $10,000 or more per year to allow a turbine to use up a half-acre of land. Now that price has almost doubled, Winslow said. A farmer signing an agreement today could make about $400,000 on a 20-year agreement.
Winslow said his neighbours were concerned about property values, health risks, and a flicker effect caused by shadows from rotating blades in the setting sun.
These wind turbine issues are still hotly debated. While the Ontario Superior Court of Justice said last April that wind turbines do reduce property values, many of the health issues have seen studies that support both sides of the argument. Health Canada has been studying the issue and expects to release the results this year.*
Ed Schouten has long wanted wind turbines on his dairy farm in North Gower. He doesn’t believe turbines are as much trouble as some make them out to be and would host a couple if a wind farm company decided to build in the area.
“I’m not afraid of them, let me put it that way,” he said. “I don’t think it’s going to harm the farm. I never thought in my life people would be against this.”
Schouten thinks the Brinston turbines will be a good test case for the rest of the area. If wind farms are done right — like the one in Brinston — then no one will complain, he said. The trick is to keep the wind farm small. If there are a few turbines, they look nice, but if there are hundreds, they become an issue.
Winslow said the negativity in the news media has played a big role in people shifting away from wind turbines.
“You don’t hear much except for negative publicity,” he said. “It’s hard for the average citizen to take anything but the view they keep hearing over and over in the press. There’s far too much emotion into it now.”
Letters to the Editor may be sent to editor@farmersforum.com
*Editor’s note: this is not correct. Health Canada does not expect to have results of its study until 2015.

Smithville letter writer: demand Premier Wynne stand by her word

Take up Premier Wynne on word and demand action on wind turbines

Grimsby Lincoln News

The Ontario Ministry of the Environment was created to protect the environment for wildlife and humans. However, the ministry is involved in approving green energy projects and is approving projects that are clearly detrimental to the environment, in particular the installation of industrial wind turbines across the Ontario countryside.
Why is the Ministry of the Environment condoning the sprawl of industrial wind turbines across our countryside in clear disregard for rural dwellers and our wildlife?     
Because the Ontario government has mandated it to do so, in order to fast track and push through these unpopular and financially unviable projects that the McGuinty government created.
Kathleen Wynne has said that she would re-think some portions of the Green Energy Act and specifically give back the authority of the Municipal Planning Act to municipalities that have declared themselves “unwilling hosts to industrial wind turbines”.
In June 2013, the British government took action to create a law to ensure that all municipalities had proper planning authority with respect to wind energy development.   
Where is the commitment from our Ontario government? When will we get some action to back up the promises by Kathleen Wynne? Why has our government specified industrial wind turbine setback distance from dwellings only 550 metres, when most countries have a setback of 2,000 metres, recognizing the negative effects that wind turbines have on the living conditions of people?
Kathleen Wynne has said, “we are working to bring people together to find common ground, because that’s what we do in Ontario.”
 So, we should all be demanding action now, by writing to Premier Wynne.  
Kathleen Wynne, Premier.   
Legislative Building, Queen’s Park,
Toronto, ON M7A 1A1
Sidney Thompson,
Smithville

Dufferin County to Ontario: you have to listen to the people

As we know, Dufferin County recently passed a Not A Willing Host motion. Here from today’s Brampton Guardian, a report and interviews.

No more wind turbines, county tells province

Wind turbines

Bill Tremblay

Dufferin Wind Power Inc. doesn’t expect that its wind farm will be up and running by its commercial start deadline on Jan. 30, 2014.

Orangeville Banner

Wind farm developers should look elsewhere than Dufferin, according to a motion passed by county council.
On Nov. 14, council approved a motion declaring Dufferin County as an unwilling host for any future industrial wind farm development.
Although the Green Energy Act prohibits municipal councils from actually denying wind farms from setting up, Melancthon Mayor Bill Hill said the motion aims to dissuade such development.
“It will send a message that Dufferin County is tired of the Green Energy Act,” Hill said, who moved the motion.
Amaranth, Melancthon, Mulmur and Grand Valley have all approved similar motions announcing their request that wind farm developers find another home.
Hill said more than 90 municipalities have approved similar motions.
“We’re one of many. We may be the first county that’s done it and we don’t mind being leaders,” Hill said.
Will the motion hold any weight at Queen’s Park?
“Based on what I’ve seen so far, regarding the province and the Green Energy Act, no,” Hill said. “But  at least they should get the message that we’re serious about what we’re saying.”

Read the full story here.

Not A Willing Host sign vandalized in West Lincoln

Wind action group angered by vandalism

Homophobic slur splashed on sign

Grimsby Lincoln News

Wind turbine activists are fuming after vandals took target on one of their signs.
Sometime overnight on Nov. 15, vandals spray painted vulgar messages and images on a large sign on Westbrook Road. Vandals painted a male sexual organ and wrote the word “homo” on the sign, which read “West Lincoln is not a Willing Host.”
“Vandalism is a destructive action,” said Greg Masi, a member of the West Lincoln Glanbrook Wind Action Group. “It is the malicious and deliberate defacement or destruction of somebody else’s property. ”
Police are investigating the vandalism as the property owner’s property was also damaged in the incident.
“Local residents are concerned about the provinces lack of peer reviewed scientific research into health effects, environmental degradation and the loss of property value for those in close proximity to the industrial wind turbine sites,” said Masi. “The turbine issue has created division in the community, but now our freedom of expression has ended with an attack on public property.”
The WLGWAG formed in opposition to the first of two industrial wind turbine projects proposed for West Lincoln. The first project is in the final construction stages. Five, 80-metre turbine towers can be seen from Highway 20 in rural West Lincoln. Their blades will not spin until the new year, a company spokesperson previously told The News.
The second project, proposed by Niagara Region Wind Corp., proposes 77, 135-metre wind turbines with 50-metre blades. Forty-four of those turbines will be built in West Lincoln, the remainder in bordering Wainfleet and Haldimand County.
The sign has been repaired and moved to a new property on Westbrook Road.

Comments are open on the story here.

Manvers Town Hall Meeting November 27

TOWN HALL MEETING

Hosted by Councillor Heather Stauble

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

7-9 PM

Manvers Arena – upstairs, (Hwy 7A and Hwy 35)

Update on all proposed wind projects
and
Cham Shan Buddhist Temple meeting with Minister of Energy

Guests and Speakers:
Mayor Ric McGee, City of Kawartha Lakes
Carmen Krogh, Author & Researcher

Please see attached map to see all proposed project areas

NONE of the projects have been approved to date

Manvers residents give Wynne a message: Not A Willing Host!

From the Peterborough Examiner, a report on Premier Wynne’s reception at a Liberal insider event in the Peterborough area last evening.

Premier in town for Leal’s 10th anniversary bash 

By Galen Eagle, Peterborough Examiner

Outside the premier was met with boos, chants and placards.
Inside she was met with warm handshakes, introductions and applause.
Premier Kathleen Wynne met with boisterous wind farm protesters outside the Evinrude Centre Thursday night before heading inside for a private party to celebrate Peterborough MPP Jeff Leal’s 10-year milestone in provincial politics.
“I know that you have some concerns on wind turbines,” Wynne told the protesters who surrounded her outside the hockey arena. “I think you know that we are putting a new process in place. We acknowledge that there needs to be more community input and we are changing the process.”
There were two groups of protesters present Thursday night. The wind farm protestors, about 100 in total, were by far the loudest, singing chants, blowing whistles and encouraging honks from passing motorists.
About 30 No Casino Peterborough protesters also gathered outside.
Wynne, who showed up an hour late, was ushered through the back door of the arena, but immediately came outside alongside Leal to meet the protestors, who had been gathered there for about 1 ½ hours.
Spokesman Paul Reid, with Manvers Wind Concerns, said the protesters wanted to get across a clear message.
“We would like these wind farms situated two kilometres or more from people’s homes and we’d like to stop having them shoved down our throats without any say in the process,” he said before Wynne’s arrival. “Any time that the premier comes to rural Ontario, we want to send the message out loud and clear that if she’s ever looking to get a rural vote again, we need some help here.”
Reid was the first protester to have a dialogue with Wynne as others shouted out questions and some heckled.
“We haven’t even had a definition, premier, of what a willing host is. We’d love to have one of those because then we could prove to you that we’re not,” Reid said.
“Some of the projects that are in the pipeline will go ahead. Some of them won’t depending on the approvals,” Wynne replied.
She reiterated her government’s promise to give communities more say when it comes to the location of future wind projects.
“The process from here on in will mean that there will be more weighting to the community’s opinion. We have heard loudly and clearly that the way the process unrolled the first time was not appropriate for communities….”
“So cancel existing projects,” a woman interrupted.
“Well, you know what, it’s just not as straight forward as that,” Wynne said.
Cavan Monaghan Township Deputy Mayor Scott McFadden was in the crowd.
“It’s really important for everybody to come out and demonstrate that we’re not a willing host and we don’t want the industrial wind turbines out in our area,” he said.
After talking to the increasingly hostile group of protesters for about five minutes, Wynne returned inside where she was greeted warmly by the 120 people in attendance.

Bonnechere Twp is Not A Willing Host number 75!

Coalition of ‘Unwilling Host’ Municipalities

Press Advisory

November 20, 2013—Over the past week, the County of Dufferin and Bonnechere Valley Township in Renfrew County declared their municipalities to be “Unwilling Hosts’, bringing the total number of ‘Unwilling Host’ municipalities to 75.
Despite the growing opposition to wind turbine projects, the Provincial government continues to proceed with wind turbine projects in ‘Unwilling Host’ communities. An example is the Dufferin Wind project in Amaranth and Melancthon Townships in Dufferin County which previously declared themselves ‘Unwilling Hosts’. Dufferin County Council supported these lower tier municipalities by also passing a resolution asking the province not to extend the current January 14, 2014 deadline for completion of the Dufferin Wind project. The County also filed for a stay of activity for the Dufferin Wind project that is the subject of an Environmental Review Tribunal. Despite the appeal, the wind company is currently proceeding with construction work on the project.
Municipalities are looking for real local planning authority for wind turbines to be returned to local governments. Municipalities are better placed than Queen’s Park civil servants to identify local issues that need to be addressed in reviewing wind turbine projects. They also have processes in place to review and approve other complex or controversial projects building projects that take occur within their jurisdiction. These municipalities are also looking for the government to follow up on the health complaints being filed with Medical Officers of Health and for the MOE to stop denying that there are problems with excess audible and low frequency noise and actually enforce their noise standards.
The preliminary results from the University of Waterloo Health Study, commissioned by the Ontario government, show that there is a statistically significant relationship between health complaints and distance to turbines. This study just confirms what is reported to local municipalities from existing turbine projects in their communities or neighbouring communities. More comprehensive study of these health issues is warranted before any further projects is approved. As Mayor April Jeffs of Wainfleet states, ‘municipalities are looking for solutions to the real problems, not public relations gimmicks’.
Kevin Marriott, Mayor of Enniskillen calls on the government to hold some real consultation with rural Ontario before they move forward with this program. This request applies both to the awarding of new FIT contracts but also to issuing Renewal Energy Approvals for projects with existing FIT contracts.
The Coalition of ‘Unwilling Hosts’ grew out of a meeting of municipal officials held during this summer’s AMO conference in Ottawa. The current list of the 75 “Unwilling Host’ municipalities is attached with a map available at http://ontario-unwilling-hosts.org/ouh-d14.html.
For further details contact April Jeffs at 905-658-7890, Kevin Marriott at 519-844-2307 or Warren Howard at 519-291-6950.
…………………………………
Editor’s note: there is a new category of Unwilling Hosts, Concerned Communities, beginning with North Gower, within the amalgamated City of Ottawa

Ottawa City Council: we want stronger role in wind power decisions

Here from today’s Ottawa Citizen, the report on yesterday’s Ottawa City Council decision to acknowledge a petition by residents of the North Gower area, within the amalgamated city, to be Not A Willing Host to a proposed wind power project that would expose more than 1,000 homes to environmental noise and vibration.
“The petition sends a strong message that politicians say is worth listening to,” says the Citizen.

City wants a say in where windmills will be located

By Derek Spalding, OTTAWA CITIZEN November 13, 2013
City wants a say in where windmills will be located

Communities need to be consulted about windmill projects near them, city council says.

Photograph by: Tyler Brownbridge , Windsor Star
OTTAWA — City council is urging the Ontario government to give municipalities more say in choosing locations for proposed windmill projects in their communities.
Coun. Scott Moffat drafted the motion that council supported on Wednesday asking for legislative changes that would guarantee local residents have more influence about projects pegged for their neighbourhoods.
The province has already promised to add stringent public consultation requirements to its Feed-in Tariff program, which encourages the development of renewable energy with government funding. Anyone looking to build a project would have to have “significant municipal engagement,” when responding to request for proposals (RFPs), said provincial Energy Minster Bob Chiarelli, just a couple hours before the council meeting.
“The bottom line is it will be very difficult for an energy proponent to be successful in the type of RFP that’s being created without a significant municipal engagement,” he said.
His government has faced public opposition from around Ontario for such projects.
More than 70 communities have joined a coalition of “unwilling hosts” for wind projects, declaring they do not want such developments. The Ottawa motion does not put the city in this same group, but instead asks the government to ensure residents have a say in choosing the location for such projects.
Moffat introduced his motion at council a day after receiving a petition from residents of North Gower, a community in his Rideau-Goulbourn ward, who oppose the large-scale wind-power project.
With more than 1,200 signatures, the petition is a strong message that politicians say is worth listening to.
“What you need is the ability for communities to be engaged in the process, and right now that’s not really happening,” Moffat said. “Mr. Chiarelli seemed to indicate that there would be a process going forward that would allow for community engagement and put it upon the wind developer to have community buy-in.”
Chiarelli said the substance of Moffat’s resolution reflects what the province has been doing over the past few months. Earlier this year the Ontario government removed larger projects from the Feed-in Tariff program and added the RFP process, but details about exactly is required for public consultation have yet to be identified.
Coun. David Chernushenko, a strong wind-energy proponent, supported Moffat’s motion.
“This offers the opportunity now for people to make a real decision about what’s going to affect them,” he told his council colleagues. “As much as I am troubled by the anti-wind hyperbole, I’ve always felt that people need to have a say and legislation that prevents them from having that say is not healthy in any way.”
Chiarelli also confirmed communities will not be able to outright reject projects.
“There is no veto. We’ve said that very, very clearly,” he said. “There is no veto because there are circumstances in the energy planning of Ontario where a veto might be totally unadvisable, but the general thrust is that there must be an engagement with the local municipality.”