Landowners Seek Clarification on Wind Turbine Projects by Beth Trudeau

Last week was a flurry of meetings throughout Glengarry/Prescott/Russell and North Dundas, to discuss the Large Renewable Project (LRP) proposal and the public community meeting was held “as a part of the early community-engagement requirements of the LRP.” (One wonders, since contracts were signed as long as two years ago, what is early about it?) As has become the norm for public meetings, in the rural areas anyway, there is no one on stage talking, with everyone listening and asking questions. It is walk around, look and read, and they will answer your questions one on one. That way there is no confrontation, less risk of others overhearing.

WE don’t know how many windmills are coming or their sizes other than we know most will be over 300 feet tall. IESO, who receives YOUR dollars every time you pay a hydro bill, “MAY award contracts for successful projects up to the specified procurement targets for each renewable fuel: 300 megawatts (MW) for wind, 140 MW for solar, 75 MW for waterpower and 50 MW for bioenergy”. Deadline for submissions is September 2015, hence why the flurry of meetings.

In Vankleek Hill, St Bernadine and Crysler, Ontario based Leader Resources Growing Power, who were hired to put up the windmills for RES, Renewable Energy Systems, a European based wind company, did the talking about their efforts to gobble up productive farmland and fill it with industrial wind turbines, saying that agriculture and wind energy are “natural fits”

Did you know that for EVERY windmill, there will be at least 19 trucks full of cement, with a minimum of seven (7) tonnes per truck, poured into the ground as a base for the monstrosities, which, they also claimed with straight faces, did no more harm to birds than the normal everyday agriculture does to them!?

They were also quick to point out that they did have reclamation plans they were supposed to have ready for the day they have to take them out, but their plan appears to only apply to the top four inches of soil, which is what Mr. Donald Lesko, stakeholder Relations Manager, claimed was all farmers needed to farm, “so what difference did it matter if there was cement underneath or not?”

They initially claimed that no liens, leases, or debentures were put by them on any farmlands, but eventually had to come clean and acknowledge that yes, there are debentures, liens and/or leases put on farmers’ property but only with their approval and their property was never in threat. If the wind company ran into problems, they would just sell the system, and someone else would take over.

In Crysler, Mr. Lesko proudly stated to a gathered crowd, that in Goderich Township, over 80% of the municipality were against wind turbines, so they went and offered neighbours $500 to $1000 dollars and the next survey had a totally different approval result, with over 80% being in favour of them. He also pointed out that every municipality that signs up get benefits, such as for every windmill put up, the property value increases $500, which means more taxes for the municipality. (Property owners in Southern Ontario would certainly dispute those claims.)

It was also in Crysler that we finally understood that it was the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Fund that is creating a wind energy market in Ontario, by HIRING the European wind companies, to set up shop here and create a market for them, along with some insurance companies, to invest in.

At every location we went, people were upset and wanting to do something more, including native Algonquin Indians, who were questioning RES’s claim that the natives were in favour of wind energy when, after checking with Maniwaki and Albert street, no such approval was forthcoming.

So what can you do? Join your local chapter of the Ontario Landowners, organize information sessions on wind energy from the “other” side, as Prescott-Russell Landowners recently did in Russell, and push for your municipal councillors to join forces with the “Multi Municipal Wind Turbine Working Group” and do THEIR due diligence to ensure that your property value does not suffer from the invasion of wind energy.