No apologies: Addington Highlands reeve justifies his wind farm position

14-01 hogg henry

Hogg: in touch with the people

Frontenac News, September 10, 2015

A few jobs is better than none

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.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: No tourism base? Really. Not what Tourism Ontario says: ontariohighlands.ca

Only heard from 50 to 100 people? What about the 81% who voted NO in an online plebescite?

Comments

ScepticalGord
Reply

If Reeve Hogg has accomplished anything, it has been to make even the most corrupt, lying and despicable politicians seem honest and upright by comparison.

We all treated Reeve Hogg with due respect at the beginning of this process, but he has not responded in kind. Now the gloves are off.

Hogg has cherry picked every bit of information to bolster his phony rant about doing what he claims is best for Addington Highlands.

“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”.

Right. Hogg talked to a handful of townships, no doubt recommended by NextEra and RES, who were supposedly happy with their bribes.
What about the other 90 Not a Willing Host townships that told the wind companies to take a hike? Oh ya Hogg, that’s a number you can conveniently ignore, just like the 81% in the ratepayer survey.

“We also don’t have pristine wilderness; everything was logged in what is now Addington Highlands 200 years ago.”

Right on Hogg, what a dumb-ass thing to say. Algonquin Park has been logged for 200 years, so I guess it doesn’t qualify as “pristine wilderness” either and we might as well destroy it too.

“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”.

You got it again, Hogg. People abandon their homes, leave the family farm and piss away their life savings just so they can take pleasure in faking their adverse health effects.
Property values? Hard to tell Hogg, since no Liberals, wind dicks nor their lawyers have any IWTs near their homes and cottages.

I could go on and on about Reeve Hogg’s disconnect with honourable electoral representation, but I suspect my point has been made.

Resign Hogg, you’re a disgrace.

Sommer
Reply

Your rage is resonating fully as I think about the Municipal ‘leaders’ in Huron County who got us into this mess. Many of them were leaseholders, so that when issues were brought forth in Council, they had to leave the room because of their ‘conflict of interest’. So they never have heard the truth. They’ve relied on information from sources that are being seriously questioned.
When more than 90 communities in rural Ontario declare they are unwilling to host these wind projects, it is a statement of utter arrogance to invalidate their reasoning.
It is downright difficult to get 4,600 seasonal or permanent residents together in a ‘remote’ community, to educate them and then to mobilize them to express their opposition. That’s precisely why rural communities have fallen victim to these wind projects.
The lure of money to manage the municipality is what sways the elected and paid leaders. Serious cutbacks in funding to rural municipalities have set them up to be desperate for the money. It looks to me as though this was part of the plan.

I hope you will channel your rage to propel you to intelligent opposition strategies. It is an extremely challenging process.

ScepticalGord
Reply

Sommer, I don’t have time to “channel your (my) rage to propel you (myself) to intelligent opposition strategies”.

I’m too busy attending Ostrander court cases, Charter Challenge court cases, WCO meetings, PECFN fundraisers, a Shelbourne “Big Wind” movie premiere, a Port Elgin beach protest, all Queen’s Park and many other rallies, a meeting with Kathleen Wynne, IWT photo trips, Addington Highlands wind presentations and council meetings, then initiated successful “Not a Willing Host” declarations for four Renfrew County townships, had Land “O” Lakes Tourism remove “scenic bike tours among the wind turbines on Wolfe Island” map from their brochure, harangued MPPs at the Hydro protest into action, made multiple donations for legal proceedings, etc, etc.

Please, let me know which of the above channeling initiatives do not meet your criteria of being “intelligent opposition strategies”?
I’m always looking for ways to up my game.
Thanks in advance for your advice.

ScepticalGord
Reply

Furthermore:

“we have only heard from 50 to 100 people against this”

Hey Hogg, ever since you made up your mind on Day 1 you haven’t been listening to anyone. You haven’t bothered to read emails, correspondence, look at photos or discuss this in a rational manner with anyone.

50 to 100 people? Only in the mind of a mental midget hell bent on pushing through his own self-serving agenda.

Resign Hogg, you’re a disgrace.

P.S. Hogg: I know you won’t be reading this post … for your part, it would amount to too much information and there’s no point in confusing a closed mind.

Barbara
Reply

On average you get about 1 job per 10 IWTs.

Barbara
Reply

Wind and solar projects are short term construction jobs just like building a road or a bridge. After construction only maintenance is needed which provides few jobs.

The provision for Ontario/Canada made percentage of project components for renewables was struck down by the WTO. And it was in the manufacturing sector that the most long term jobs were to be created.

Result is very few long term jobs created by wind and solar.

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