Manvers residents give Premier 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
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.