Manitoulin: tax losses for communities mounting due to wind power

Here is a letter to the Editor of the Manitoulin Expositor, which details an aspect of wind power that neither the provincial government, nor municipalities have thought about in detail: as property values decline and the quality of community life disintegrates with the industrialization by wind power projects, what happens to the tax base? The paltry amounts provided by the wind developers don’t make up for the terrible loss to Ontario’s rural and small urban communities.

Here is the letter with thanks to Ray Beaudry of MCSEA for sending it.

To the Expositor:

NEMI has turned its back on a great potential tax base and a lifeline for the community: retiring Baby Boomers.
We retired and moved to the Strawberry Channel in December 2011. Almost a year later, we found that 24 Northland Power Wind Turbines (the largest in Ontario: 422 feet high) will be built in our backyard. Had I known, I would not have looked at this area as a place to purchase our dream retirement home. Our retiring friends have now decided to look instead to Lake Nipissing. Another couple will settle in Parry Sound rather than live near wind turbines.
We are all retired from industrial areas like Espanola and Sudbury and our objective is to get away from industrial messes. I have been told that Northland Power will contribute a paltry $10,000/year to the tax base and possibly three long-term jobs. Our property taxes for 2013 are $4104.26. We don’t have sewer or water or garbage pickup. We plow our own road. We have good retirement incomes, with good benefits and we spend all of it here. The loss of our two friends is greater than Northland Power’s contribution to the community.
Driving through Michigan, I was distressed to see town after town boarded up beneath wind turbines. I don’t know the answer, but I will pose this question: Were the wind turbines built there because the towns were dead or did the towns die because the wind turbines were built?

Diane Austen
Sheguiandah

Editor’s note: regrettably, the 422-foot turbines being built by Northland Power are  NOT the largest and most powerful in the province. Turbines being built in southwestern and eastern Ontario are larger and more powerful. For example, South Branch project turbines will be 512 feet and North Gower (Ottawa) will be 626 feet, or twice the height of the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill.

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