Not a Willing Host communities voices grow
Posted here on the London Free Press website, the online version of a feature for this weekend.
LONDON, ONT. – Enough. Dozens of Ontario municipalities say they don’t want wind turbines.
Heavily pushed by the provincial Liberal government, the electricity they produce deeply subsidized by taxpayers, giant wind energy projects have sprouted across rural Ontario — often pitting neighbour against neighbour and community against community.
With local control over where the highrise-sized towers can be built taken away by the province, many communities — especially in southwestern Ontario — were already fuming about wind turbines long before Premier Kathleen Wynne took office in February, vowing not to impose such projects any more on places unwilling to take them.
Now, a list of unwilling hosts is circulating — with 61 of the province’s 444 municipalities already on it.
That number will only rise, observers warn, as the “Not a Willing Host” movement grows and pressures the government to bar the industrial turbines from rural Ontario, where 1,200 have already cropped up.
Wind Concerns Ontario, an organization upset at the province’s aggressive promotion of wind power at the expense of local control, compiles and maintains the list of unwilling hosts.
“It was important for someone to keep this list and say, ‘You are not alone,’” said Wind Concerns president Jane Wilson.
“Wind power can work,” she conceded, “but plunking them (turbines) down, right next to communities and next to homes and schools, is not the right idea.”
Ninety municipalities — in favourable zones, located mainly in southwestern and eastern Ontario — “are vulnerable to wind power,” she said.
“That’s where the wind companies have been prospecting.” As the list stands now, two-thirds of those “vulnerable” municipalities are effectively saying no more.
Wind Concerns has dubbed the seven years of wind power development under the Liberals “a disaster for rural Ontario.”
Read the full article at the London Free Press site.