Turbine Hearing begins Friday

InPort News report by Allan Brenner

Parents and grandparents concerned about the potential impact large industrial wind turbines could have on children will have an opportunity to discuss those concerns during an Environmental Review Tribunal, starting Friday.

A preliminary hearing looking into plans of Niagara Region Wind Corp to build wind turbines in west Niagara communities begins at 10 a.m. at the Wellandport Community Centre.

Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner launched the tribunal in response to an appeal by Mothers Against Wind Turbines Inc. filed Nov. 26, two weeks after the Ministry of the Environment granted renewable energy approval for the project.

The hearing will focus on community concerns about the project to build 77 wind turbines in the communities of West Lincoln, Lincoln, Wainfleet, Haldimand and on Region of Niagara property, with a total capacity of generating 230 megawatts of electricity.

Wainfleet Mayor April Jeffs said she may stop in during the hearing depending on her schedule, since six of the wind turbines being proposed are planned for her community.

“Three (turbines) are going in the Wellandport area in the northwest, and another two or three will be down here along the lake on the Haldimand border.

“I’m sure there will be residents of Wainfleet attending,” Jeffs said, adding several members of Mothers Against Wind Turbines live in Wainfleet.

The organization says the turbines will be up to 135 metres tall, and the blades of which will have a diameter of 101 meters.

“These will be some of the largest turbines to ever be introduced so closely to people and their homes in North America,” the organization said in a media release.

The full hearing is scheduled to start Jan. 19.

Calls and e-mails to Mothers Against Wind Turbines Inc., as well as Niagara Region Wind Corp. to discuss the hearing were not returned, Thursday.

allan.benner@sunmedia.ca

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Wainfleet Council

All but one of the incumbents were re-elected Oct.27 to Wainfleet Town Council.

Re-elected were, Mayor April Jeffs, Alderman Richard Dykstra, Alderman Ted Hessels, and Alderman Betty Konc.

New to Council will be Alderman Terry Gilmore.

Town Council meeting previously scheduled for Oct.28/14 has been cancelled.  Next Meeting is Nov.11 and coincides with the dedication of the new Cenotaph for the Township of Wainfleet.

Unofficial Results: Elected.

TV Turbine Report in Niagara Region

The Ongoing Controversy over Turbines continues, is the gist of this CHCH TV report [also blogged on OntWindResistance]. TV reporter, Lisa Hepfner tries to examine both sides of the issue in West Lincoln (which will soon be metal porcupine country with a total of 77 IWT’s). The IWT’s will stretch from West Lincoln to Wainfleet.
The reporter quotes residents who are being bombarded with noise & health issues. She also quotes OPA on the issue, whose spokesman tells what amounts to a duplicitous lie: Shawn Cronkwright, Ontario Power Authority: “With wind turbines, you have to pay to install the equipment, but after the equipment is installed the cost of the fuel is zero. Wind actually is a key piece of keeping prices lower in the entire portfolio.”
The zero cost of “fuel” is disingenuous, to say the least. There’s the huge cost of accessing that “fuel” paid for with tax dollars in the billions; there’s the huge cost of paying for the consumption of that “fuel”, and the huge cost of re-selling that excess “fuel” to other jurisdictions at a less than the cost of production. Then there are the hidden healthcare costs caused by the effects of that “fuel”, the transmission costs (hydro has to shut down to allow wind energy onto the Grid); the air pollution costs caused by the diesel engines needed to operate the turbines; and the costs of lost agricultural production from the industrialized land needed to erect these 60 story towers.
And let’s not even mention the slaughter of millions of flying creatures the earth needs to keep its balance.
Or the Charter Rights being breached by forced acceptance of turbine development. Or the loss of land value. Or increased carbon emissions.
Wind energy is not “free” or “clean” or “green”; these words are government and industry mantras aimed at deluding the public into thinking that the outmoded technology of wind is cutting edge. The edge has been dulled in Europe and the many countries that are abandoning it. Landowners who give their land over to the production of wind instead of crops will be disappointed when their “windfall” lasts much less than 20 years, when the landscape will be dotted with stopped and rusting turbines. But the thieves who run this scheme will have had their money and others will have left office.

SKYDIVE BURNABY will Appeal

I’ve been away, enjoying the wind without turbines, so this GOOD news arrived before my return.

The Welland Tribune reports [Greg Furminger] that the Appellants, Tara&Mike Pitt, will appeal the ERT decision against them concerning the building of two turbine that will intersect their flight path [OWR also reports] in Wainfleet.  Construction has been halted by Court order until the Appeal is heard and a decision handed down.  The construction site is approx. 1.5 km from Skydive Burnaby.

The Appeal to the ERT was filed last October over concerns that the IWT’s will pose a serious hazard for skydivers.  The Appeal failed (decision handed down in May).  A new Appeal will be heard in August, 18th & 19th, but this time by the Ontario Divisional Court (which is to say, not by the rubber-stamp government agency).

Skydive Burnaby Appeal Dismissed

Despite the evidence, and in spite of recent deaths caused by pilots hitting turbines, the ERT has rejected the appeal and construction on two turbines will proceed.  Read the details here Erie Media.

The MOE will push through as many approvals as it can before the provincial election.
Here’s the reaction of a Wainfleet Councillor in an email sent to K. Wynne, with the Subject, Thank You:

Dear Ms. Wynne,

I thought I would take a few minutes from my busy schedule as an alderman in a small rural community in the Niagara Region, to thank you for helping to turn our rural community into an industrial waste land and to take a viable business that has been in the community since World War 1 into one that will be severely impacted and probably will have to close its doors. How does the GEA give one monster business the ability to come unwanted into our community and crush the life out of another small well established local business ??

Your stubborn insistence that alternative energy projects be rubber stamped and forced on rural communities is pretty arrogant considering that you and your cronies have been told time and again that there is no need for alternative energy, the province has an over abundance of it to the point where we literally have to pay other jurisdictions to take it. This is creating hydro prices that are ridiculous in the extreme, especially it the Niagara Region because we have the cleanest greenest energy available in Niagara Falls.

In case you are unable to connect the dots, allow me to do so. We have hydro that is too expensive, therefore we have manufacturing that is leaving the province in droves heading to New York State, because they are offering hydro for next to nothing and giving building incentives and huge tax breaks to relocate there. This in turn is causing many job losses in the province and making people who had good paying jobs to turn to welfare. We have senior citizens on fixed incomes who already have had to make choices of heat or food, as well as those forced out of good paying jobs that went south to NY state who are now working a couple of part time jobs to make ends meet, as well as single parents In low income brackets all faced with the same idea, heat and hydro or food……BTW this is called energy poverty and will be coming to a neighborhood near you, if it isn’t already.

Now we have a local business that is no doubt going to be forced out of business thanks to you and your silly GEA that was voted on by 59 members of parliament and rammed through the process without the normal timeframe for all the rest of the members to read it and pose questions or objections. So again thanks for the forethought that went into this, I am sure you have many good friends in the wind industry, however that doesn’t do us out here in rural Ontario much good does it? Thanks so much for giving us all the opportunity to experience seeing our friends lose their livelihood and their passion not to mention a decrease in tourist dollars and Job loss, which again will have a negative impact on our community.

So far I am not seeing any positives with these turbine outcomes, so thanks for that too.

Get a clue,
Betty Konc

Hydro Bills Up For Election

Believe it or not, your Hydro Bill is up for election June 12.

The Party of the Government is offering an end to the Debt Retirement Charge in 2016 (a savings but not a significant one), but it will also end the Clean Energy Benefit, the 10% discount you currently get on your bill.  Then, it will add 90 cents to your monthly charge to subsidize low income consumers (the current government loves subsidies!). So, add the 10% you will be paying plus the 90 cents, and you will be paying more for power BEFORE the price goes up again (OWR) (story from Luisa D’Amato:To understand the election, look at your hydro bill).

The PC Opposition will eliminate wind and solar energy development that is today overloading the power grid and the massive tax subsidies that go with it: OWR Killing Green Energy. For those of your who want to cry Green tears, recall that the laws of physics dictate that it takes power to make power; ergo no green and no clean. And certainly not, FREE.  I could start a long essay on the power used to manufacture turbines and solar panels, the non-recyclable, toxic and non-green components that go into the making of these, but you can find this info online, if you want it.

USE YOUR VOTE WISELY…

MORE TIME

A serious hiccup has developed in the Sky Dive Burnaby Wainfleet Wind Energy appeal.  The developer wants to add additional information.  Sky dive’s objection to more clarifications after the gate had been shut, so to speak, was rejected..

“Our clients are having considerable difficulty in understanding how a process they thought was over, is back to where it was at two months ago,” Gillepsie [sic] said. “We haven’t been able to find any cases where this has happened before.” [Erie Media],

Sounds too much like a search for a way out of Sky Dive’s evidence on safety; in other words, what are limits of safety’.  How far can we bend the rules and still allow for construction?

Will They Cause Harm?

That’s the issue for the Tribunal hearing the appeal on the two turbines in limbo in Wainfleet.  Whether or not they can be built depends on the Tribunal’s assessment of likely harm.

Not building them, says counsel representing the developer, would be tantamount to expropriation of property, as reported by Greg Furminger in the Welland Tribune. The same lawyer also said, any risk to skydivers would be “abnormal,” basing his statement on appellant testimony that at times referred to turbines being a navigation risk subsequent to a parachute failure.

The Test is, on the balance of probabilities, what is the likelihood of an accident? There is also a test used by the ERT: the mandate to push through applications for turbine development.

The Appellant’s lawyer, Eric Gillespie, outlined the risks to skydivers and stated that to rule against the Appeal would be to take “a gamble” on doing harm. “Rarely killing somebody … doesn’t come close to being acceptable for a project like this,” Gillespie said.

The time of the ruling on the Appeal is still up in the air.