Port Colborne Leader
WAINFLEET – Even as the foundations are being poured, opponents to wind turbine projects in Wainfleet are continuing to fight.
Last week the Wainfleet Ratepayers Association held an information session to raise awareness about the projects. The Wainfleet Wind Energy project has been given the green light and crews are beginning to prepare the sites where five turbines will be put up, while a Niagara Region Wind Corporation proposal would see a total of 77 built in West Lincoln, Haldimand and Wainfleet combined.
Thursday’s meeting was about raising awareness about the projects, and the concerns many have over property values, health and safety.
“It’s a last ditch effort for the Ratepayers (Association) to try to get people more involved,” said association member and Wainfleet Alderman Betty Konc.
Members of local wind action groups gave presentations at the event, including the Smithville Turbine Opposition Party, Safe Wind Energy for All Residents, and Mothers Against Wind Turbines. Selkirk resident Marnie Knight also spoke about her experiences in that community.
“Wind energy affects all Ontarians,” said Dave Bylsma, chair for the legal subcommittee for the West Lincoln Wind Action Group. “If we do nothing, then it’s inevitable.”
Bylsma said everyone in the province will feel the effects of turbines, whether it’s by being in direct contact with them or by increasing hydro bills.
The meeting came on the heels of first Environmental Review Tribunal hearing or the recently approved Wainfleet project. Konc said the hearing was a “bit of a disappointment,” as the scope of the hearing was restricted.
Skydive Burnaby, which operates near where two of the turbines will be built, is appealing the approval. At the hearing, Konc said lawyers agreed to restrict the scope to deal exclusively with the safety aspect for those using Skydive Burnaby.
“It was surprising for me, although it shouldn’t have been,” Konc said.
The tribunal was originally supposed to hear about health issues for humans living near turbines, but because there are already tribunals dealing with those issues Konc said the Wainfleet review will put that discussion on hold, pending the results of the other tribunals.
The appeal is supposed to be heard in its entirety in January.