Wind Concerns Ontario is a province-wide advocacy organization whose mission is to provide information on the potential impact of industrial-scale wind power generation on the economy, human health, and the natural environment.
GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) – Residents in southern Brown County upset with last month’s decision by the county’s health director not to order a shutdown of the Shirley Wind Farm spoke out during a meeting Tuesday evening.
The Brown County Board of Health put room on its agenda to allow for follow up to Health Director Chua Xiong’s call not to formally classify the turbines in Morrison and Glenmore as a public health hazard.
“Please help us, this is serious business,” said one of the approximately 40 people attending the meeting solely to urge Xiong to change her mind.
“You are now part of the problem,” said another resident.
Ben Schauer is an Army veteran who lives in Denmark near the Shirley Wind Farm.
“I’m imploring all of you, fight for me, fight for my family as hard as I’ve spent 22 years fighting for this country and your rights to sit there,” said Schauer, who was accompanied by his wife and sons who told the board their personal illnesses they say are from the wind turbines.
Xiong was largely silent during the meeting, while some board members backed her conclusion that insufficient evidence links turbines to illnesses suffered by residents.
COUNTY SUPERVISOR GOES AFTER XIONG
Among the attendees Tuesday was Brown County Supervisor Patrick Evans. He was one of the several who spoke during the public forum on the Shirley Wind Farm.
“It’s almost borderline on misconduct in public office, it’s almost criminal,” Evans said, directing his remarks toward Xiong’s announcement during the December 15 meeting. “I don’t like it that she comes out and tells the people yes I know you’re not crazy and there’s a problem, but then doesn’t do anything to help them.”
In 2014, the Brown County Board of Health declared that turbines do emit low-frequency noise which can endanger health. But it is Xiong who holds the power to order a shutdown of those turbines in the southern part of the county.
“She has to make a decision based on the best available evidence she has,” said board member and Brown County Supervisor Richard Schadewald, who echoed fellow board member Karen Sanchez in saying there is no “direct causality” shown.
Talk during the public feedback portion of the meeting ranged from performing more studies, to courses of action in a potential lawsuit to whether or not the Board could do anything moving forward.
But for many of the residents impacted by the daily issue of wind turbines, time is running out.
“If this was happening in Allouez or the City of De Pere, you’d be on this in a flash, because people getting this sick this fast, you’d do something about it,” said one woman.
“We cannot wait any longer,” said Steve Deslauriers. “Holding off for future study, the process at the state level is corrupt enough that it will likely turn out that we get a response like we did last month.”
Evans, who chairs the Brown County Human Services Committee, says at their January 27 meeting that Xiong will speak.
“She hasn’t taken the science to say why I’ve made this decision,” Evans said. “I would hope that we would hear some explanation from her, I think she’s probably working on it right now instead of before.”
Evans added he doesn’t expect Xiong to change her mind and that while he supports her background, in his view, she’s dropped the ball on this decision.
Xiong was unavailable for comment after the meeting.
APPEC will be hosting a rally at the Milford Mount Tabor Fairgrounds on September 27th starting at 11AM and going onto until 4PM. Come and show your support for the Protecting What We Lovemovement in Prince Edward County. Come and show just how angry you are with what is happening to our small community by big business and big government. Come and see just how big these monstrous Industrial Wind Turbines are and how they will tower over our small community. Just how big is 50 stories? … along the South Shore … too big.
Come and learn what the noise will be like from these planned wind turbines as they are just too close to family residences, our wild life and our neighborhood.
Come to understand how our heritage will be impacted by these views and how property may get damaged in the construction. Do you need to find out where the 28km transmission will be buried and just how close to residences the construction will come? Are you worried about the changes in the hydrology and wetlands and how wells may get impacted?
Come and find out.
Come and learn how the wpd White Pines Wind Project will be industrializing the South Shore and consider for yourself if there are too many for the people that live here and the important wild life and habitat that the County is known for.
There will be a lot to learn with many displays presented by APPEC and other local groups including PECFN, CCSAGE and individuals who have been critiquing the wpd White Pines Wind Project since 2010. There will be fun for all ages with live local entertainment, bands and music. There will be lots to eat with several different food trucks. It will be a pleasure for your eyes, your ears, your taste buds and your mind.
There has been persistent opposition from a number of Denbigh residents as well as the group BEARAT (Bon Echo Area Residents Against Turbines) before and after Addington Highlands Council decided to support the bids by RES Canada and NextEra for wind generation contracts.
Reeve Henry Hogg, who has expressed his support for the projects ever since they first surfaced in early March of this year, has been the target of much criticism from the opposition groups, including Paul Isaacs, a Denbigh resident who has launched a public call for the Denbigh ward to secede from Addington Highlands entirely.
In the end, with Council deadlocked at two, it was Hogg who settled all three votes on the matter, each time by supporting wind power in Addington Highlands. Through it all, Reeve Hogg has said little about his own reasons for supporting the project.
“I was in a position of presiding over a process,” he said early this week in a telephone interview, “and not in a position to express my opinion except when I ended up having to vote on the motions that came forward”.
At the first presentation to Council in March by NextEra, Hogg was inclined to support the proposal on the spot, which is something he now says “may have been premature.”
For one thing, delaying acceptance resulted in a significant increase in the “community vibrancy fund” that the township will receive if either company succeeds in the bidding process and ends up putting up turbines in the township.
As well, the township ended up doing research on turbines, talking to other municipalities where both NextEra and RES have constructed and are running projects, attended presentations by the companies, and heard from the public.
“None of that has changed my view about the turbines,” said Hogg. “I felt they were good for the township from the start and I still feel that way.”
Hogg said that he has not only served as reeve of Addington Highlands for many years, but has lived and worked in Ward 1 of the township for 40 years. “I was the only member of council from Ward 1 who has made his living and raised our family in Ward 1”.
One of the critiques of the decision to support the turbine companies was that the Ward 2 politicians out-voted the local Ward 1 politicians who opposed them, but Hogg takes exception to that argument, because with him the majority of Council comes from Ward 1, which is slightly less populated than Ward 2.
“When you look at Highway 41 north of Bon Echo and see the number of businesses that are boarded up, restaurants that are closed, it tells you that the local economy could not sustain them,” he said. “Even if there are only a few jobs created by this, a few is better than none.”
He related that what the research township staff has done and the information he received from other municipalities indicate that turbines don’t cause either adverse health effects or a drop in property values and have been of net benefit to the local economies wherever they are located.
“We don’t have a tourism base”
“We looked at these things; we had our staff do research and this is what they found,” he said. “Some of the people who are against it are saying it will harm our tourism base and the pristine wilderness. We don’t have a tourism base; we never have. We do have cottages, of course, and they are crucial to us keeping anything going at all, but that isn’t tourism. We also don’t have pristine wilderness; everything was logged in what is now Addington Highlands 200 years ago.”
He said that most of the opposition is based on people not wanting to see turbines, even at a distance, from their property or their township.
“To me, people come up with arguments against them mainly because they don’t want to see them. We had the same reaction when we wanted to bring an eco-lodge to Skootamatta Lake a number of years ago. But in this case, they can go ahead even without our approval, and if they do go ahead, I want to be on the inside instead of on the outside looking in.”
And far as the process that council went through before passing a motion of support, he said that he never talked to any of the council members before the vote about what they were planning.
“I didn’t think that was appropriate, but I kind of knew the way four of the five of us were going to vote.”
He does admit, however, that the opposition to turbines caught him by surprise.
“When RES first came here in 2008, nobody said a word against it, and when we put it in our Official Plan, nobody said anything, so I was not ready for what has happened, but then again there are 4,600 permanent and seasonal residents in the township and we have only heard from 50 to 100 people against this. When I look down the road at the long-term needs of Addington Highlands, I see this as a potential benefit if it goes ahead. Nothing I have heard has made me think any differently about it.”
Emotions were high the late afternoon of August 10 among the 200 or so folks who gathered outside the Nation Township Municipal Hall. They also lined the road beside, waving No Windmill signs, with most trucks and cars driving past honking support.
Doctors told mothers of ill children: you have to move if the turbines come
Two concerned mothers approached Ontario Farmer one the day before this protest, the other at the protest; one with an autistic son, the other with a daughter waiting for a heart transplant. Both said they were given medical advice that “we’ll have to move if the windmills come.”
The son, Michael, “who can hear a grasshopper deep in the grass that far away,” would be tormented beyond anyone’s comprehension, from the windmill swooshing sound that non-autistic people can barely sense, said his mother Susan, a former nurse. “When I drive by windmills I cry and choke with anger.”
Marc Bercier had windmills go up plus a substation on his land*, to the minimum sum of $95,000 per year for 20 years. A heck of an offer for a father who has two sons wanting to take over the operation.
“I’m pulling out of the windmill contract,” said Bercier recently. He detailed the venom that his family has faced for their decision to have windmills, including his elderly mother, when attending a public meeting the week before. [Editor: this was the huge meeting attended by 500+ people in St. Bernardin.] “I don’t want to put my family in that situation.”
The $22,000 he gets to keep as a down payment from EDF “wasn’t worth it,” said Bercier, “We value peace and family over money.” *
Even when he [Bercier] had gone public to Ontario Farmer (June 23) and other media this summer, detailing his contracts and the reasons for signing them, farmers who had done the same “attacked me, wanting me to keep quiet,” said Bercier.
Perhaps it was that self-imposed silence and the smoothness of the wind company EDF attempting a quick sales job for the community which contributed to the mounting opposition, said Bercier. “EDF didn’t do the real work with people.”
Phone call from the Liberal MPP
A last-minute pitch from EDF, which included offering to double the yearly stipend to the Nation Township from $150,000 to $300,000 per year on August 10, came the exact same day his council was meeting to reverse its earlier decisions to support the two projects [Editor: the writer fails to mention that there is a 150-MW project by EDF, and a 40-MW project by RES Canada being proposed] and declare itself an unwilling host, said Nation mayor Francois St. Amour. … The motion to reverse [Nation’s] earlier decision hadn’t even been on the agenda, but a call from local Liberal MPP Grant Crack to the mayor to deal with it, forced the issue ahead.
… [Developer EDF commented…] If people in the area have legitimate health concerns, we can certainly work with them and place the windmills so they are not affected, [Stephane Desdunes, director of development] said.
*Editor: you just don’t care about other people’s families and peace…
Mayor Robert Quaiff has been notified there is little chance of having a meeting with Premier Wynne regarding industrial turbines in Prince Edward County.
Quaiff wrote the Premier and Minister of the Environment Glen Murray a week ago, pleading action for a moratorium and calling on them “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 have just received a phone call from Premier Wynne’s assistant Andrew who says the chance of a meeting in all likelihood will not happen,” said Quaiff.
Quaiff said he was told the process is in the stages where the government will not interfere or become involved in discussing or placing a moratorium on wpd Canada’s project for 27 turbines in South Marysburgh and Athol.
The environment ministry approved the $200 million 20-year project July 16.
“He has said, however, that the premier’s office will expedite a response to my letter quickly. Further he will be in touch directly with Minister Murray’s office to express my concerns regarding the residents’ safety in Prince Edward County if the wind turbines arrive. I will share the response as soon as I receive it.”
Monday, Council voted against taking immediate legal action following a report from the County’s solicitor. The only basis for an appeal is that the project “will cause serious harm to human health, or serious and irreversible harm to plant life, animal life or the natural environment”. These were the only appeal options open to the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists in their on-going appeal against the nine turbine Gilead Power project on land at Ostrander Point.
wpd hopes to begin construction this fall, or next spring.
Any resident of Ontario may require a hearing by the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) within 15 days after July 16, 2015 by written notice.
Talk about adding insult to injury: the Ontario government’s poorly thought-out energy policy–done completely without any cost-benefit analysis–has resulted in job losses, higher power prices for consumers and small business, exports of surplus power that cost ratepayers millions every month, lost property values in the millions and lost human productivity due to the invasion of huge wind power plants … and the government thinks it is all a laugh-riot GAME.
This isn’t new but the Ontario Liberal government is once again promoting its little Power Play game. “Imagine you are an energy planner…” it begins.
Doubtless a 13-year-old experienced gamer would know better than to wreak havoc on his entire environment.
Write to the Ministry of Energy to say you object to being a pawn in the government’s energy game.
ONE can be a lonely number, especially on Valentine’s Day, but not in Ontario where ONE, according to their website, is the “Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs.” That’s their current name anyway: “In June 2009, the Ontario Government introduced the Ontario Network of Excellence (ONE) –Ontario’s revitalized, client-focused, province-wide innovation network. In May 2013, the ONE was re-branded to the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs.”
Sounds impressive; even more impressive are some of the claims they make about their network of 90 branches throughout the province and their funding sources such as MaRS and provincial agencies including the three regional Development Funds. ONE will be hosting the “Discovery” Conference April 27, 2015 and says this about their efforts to entice attendees and sponsors: “Discovery is a showcase of leading-edge technologies, best practices and research from sectors such as health, manufacturing, digital media and cleantech, including energy, environment and water.”
Now let’s look at some of their claims:
What we should ask about the government’s definition of “entrepreneurs”
Why would you call a network (90 offices) of government programs administered by bureaucrats, an network “entrepreneurs”?
Why would 20 colleges and several not-for-profit foundations dependent on government grants be considered an “entrepreneurial network”?
Why would ONE claim they have created or retained 192,000 jobs in a document released January 1, 2014 but show only two examples of those “jobs”? (The document included two examples with one of them named “Desire2Learn” which received a $4.25 million grant from the Ontario government. As recently disclosed one of those Desire2Learn jobs might represent ONE job for our former Premier, Dalton McGuinty now registered as their lobbyist in the Ontario Lobbyist Registry.)
Why is the Liberal Government showing investments in “clean tech” via the Ontario Capital Growth Corporation or OCGC of $74 million (as of March 31, 2012) which represented 18% of the total investments of OCGC, when MaRS and other Liberal government creations are handing out our tax dollars in the same market to the same parties?
The March 31, 2014 Financial Statements under “Revenues” for OCGC indicate they received $15 million directly from the province, $50 million from the Ontario Emerging Technologies Fund or OETF 1. and $1 million from Northleaf Venture Capitalist Fund (NVCF) 2.. They claim they generated $13 million in “Realized gains on sale of investment funds” but the latter is not even mentioned in the auditor’s notes.
OCGF in their March 31, 2014 annual statement under “Assets” claim they invested $59 million in OETF and $44 million in OVCF 3.and $2.6 million in NVCF; their “Investing Activities” show them buying and selling OETF investments, selling investments in OVCF and obtaining a “Return of capital from OVCF” as well as a “Purchase of Investments in NVCF”.
So exactly what is happening between these various investment funds that the Liberals created? Is someone actually auditing the success or failure of these entities? Are the bureaucrats using our tax dollars to pick any “winners” or are they trading assets to make it look like they are creating value?
Perhaps this is another area that the Auditor General should tick off as an area for future review, as well as the power system in Ontario under review for 2015.
OETF was launched in July 2009 with a commitment from the Province of Ontario to provide funding of $250 million. OETF, as a direct co-investment fund, makes investments into innovative high potential companies alongside other qualified investors with a proven track record of success. Investments are in three strategic sectors: (a) clean technology; (b) digital media and information and communication technologies; and (c) life sciences and advanced health technologies.
2. Northleaf Venture Catalyst Fund (NVCF) is a joint initiative between major Canadian institutional investors and the Governments of Canada and Ontario to invest in Canada-based venture capital and growth equity funds and direct investments that support innovative, high growth companies.
3. Ontario Venture Capital Fund LP (OVCF)In June 2008, the OVCF was established with an investment commitment from the Province of Ontario of $90 million. OVCF is a $205 million joint initiative of the Government of Ontario and private institutional investors,formed to invest primarily in Ontario-based and Ontario-focused venture capital and growth equity funds that support innovative, high potential companies.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not represent Wind Concerns Ontario policy.
What we should know about Liberal government-created charities
My previous article on Green Energy subsidies focused on those that grew directly out of the Ontario Ministry of Energy but in the quest to find further information on how the taxpayers are involved (beyond the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit) I was led to Liberal government-created charities.
This is just one of those that we taxpayers should question as to its purpose in life. The first annual report of Friends of the Greenbelt contained the following message:
“The physical area of the Greenbelt is enormous and the challenges inherent in pursuing our mission are significant. As such, we need to concentrate our resources over a short time period in order to achieve our ambitious goals and we intend to gift the $25 million endowment over a period of five years.”
Details follow on the success of gifting:
Why has the Ontario Liberal Government created charities focused on anthropogenic global warming or AGW? One example isthe aforementioned “Friends of the Greenbelt” (FOG), created in 2005, funded almost entirely by the Ministry of the Environment and, now, Climate Change. Dalton McGuinty‘s 2003 Speech from the Throne included the following: “It will keep its commitment to introduce legislation that will establish a permanent greenbelt across the Golden Horseshoe, and a new commission to protect it.”
Why has FOG used the $45 million in taxpayer dollars to hand out money to the likes of other charities such as: Environmental Defence (5),NB: David Suzuki Foundation (3), Sierra Club (5), Toronto Environmental Alliance (5), Pembina, Tides, etc.
NB: Brackets ( ) indicate the number of grants those charities received. Also one should note Rick Smith, formerly Executive Director of Environmental Defence, is a Board Member of FOG.
Why has FOG doled out tax dollars to the likes of Ecojustice (2), University of Toronto (2), TV Ontario, Corporate Knights, OSEA and another charity that the Liberal Party have supplied with over $150 million of tax dollars as grants and recently bailed out at a cost of $300 million? I am referring of course to the MaRS Discovery District.
Why does FOG even have “charity” status, having raised only $5,779 in charitable donations in their last reported year-end of March 31, 2014?
Why did FOG’s staff compensation in 2014 ($1.1 million) exceed annual grants ($1 million) and represent over 50% of their expenses?
I am sure the likes of Environmental Defence, David Suzuki Foundation, the Sierra Club, and the others loved the fact that fund raising was made so much easier by having an entity focused on doling out $25 million of taxpayers’ money, and to see it replaced with another $20 million as soon as the first “endowment” was gone.
Industry association “lead proponent” in Natural Resources Canada study
Last week, in researching his series on the Canadian Wind Energy Association’s campaign to influence Ontario citizen attitudes toward wind power, and recommendations for the lobby group’s “Ontario campaign,” Parker Gallant discovered via the Ontario Lobbyist Registry that CanWEA disclosed publicly it has received funding of $663,000 from the federal government.
The funding is presumably for CanWEA’s role as lead proponent of a $1.7-million Natural Resources Canada project called the Pan-Canadian Wind Integration Study, “that will evaluate how large penetration of wind energy could be integrated on the provincially run Canadian electric grid and show the challenges and opportunities in doing so. “
In the first paragraph of the NRCan page on this study, which names CanWEA as the lead proponent, is a significant error. CanWEA’s mandate is most decidedly NOT “to promote the responsible and sustainable growth of wind energy in Canada.” CanWEA itself says its mission is “to ensure Canada fully realizes its abundant wind energy potential on behalf of its members.”
In other words, as any specialized industry group does, CanWEA’s goal is to represent and promote the interests of its members.
It is not an environmental organization.
Why, we ask, is an industry group, with some very well-financed members, that states outright its goal is to act in the best interests of its members, receiving government financing to further its members’ fortunes?