Wind opponents blow off steam in Creemore

Joanne Saunders
The Collingwood Connection
March 9, 2010

A March 6 meeting, outlining the downside of wind turbines, drew close to 200 people to Creemore’s Station on the Green.

Only six or eight people would have shown up 18 months ago, said one speaker, concluding that the groundswell of opposition to wind turbines is gaining momentum.

An area just north of Creemore is proposed for the tower installations as well as a smaller area to the west of the village.

The meeting was organized by WAIT, an acronym for Warning About Industrial Turbines, co-sponsored by CARA, the Creemore Area Residents Association and supported by the Clearview Coalition.

WAIT’s Colin Huisman introduced speakers John LaForet, president of Wind Concerns Ontario; Jim Steed, a local farmer who refused wind turbines on his land, University of Toronto law and economics professor Michael Trebilcock; Carmen Krough of the Wind Vigilance Society and Ian Hanna who is taking legal action against the province.

“It takes one man to stand up to it,” said Stephen Headford from the audience, following the presentation. “We all appreciate what you’re doing.”

Headford is a lawyer and founding member of SCARPA, the South Clearview and Area Rate Payers Association.

Much concern was expressed at the meeting that if a neighbour agrees to lease his land for wind turbine installation, the setback can, under current regulations, include part of your property.

Clearview Township Councillor Thom Paterson said the council has already passed a resolution requiring a two-kilometer set back for the wind towers. A draft resolution is to be presented at the March 22 council meeting, “that moves your cause forward,” Paterson said.

Jim Steed, whose family has farmed in the Creemore area for 150 years, pointed out, among other things, that land values go down in the presence of the wind turbines.

One member of the audience asked why the provincial government is going ahead with wind turbines in spite of the growing opposition from voters.

It’s politically incorrect to be opposed to green, said Prof. Trebilcock, adding that he might be seen to be going against environmentalists but he added, “I don’t give a damn. I’m right.”

Also, he said, the McGuinty government made a previous commitment to close down all coal-fired generators by 2007 and had no idea what to replace them with.

Trebilcock said that hydro or nuclear generated electricity costs only six cents a kilowatt-hour whereas power from wind sources costs 13.5 cents a kwh. A member of the audience said later that she had heard estimates as high as 19 cents a kwh for wind generation.

Le Foret appealed to audience members to voice their wind turbine concerns to MPPs and local councillors.

Pharmacist Carmen Krough listed many physical problems plaguing people living near the turbines, including headaches, sleep depravation, stress, and heart problems.

“This is bigger than Ontario,” Krough said. “It’s an international issue.”

Bill Hewitt, president of the provincial Green Party and a resident of Clearview, speaking from the audience, accused the Liberals of, “stealing our platform and screwing it up.”

He indicated there are safe ways to harness the wind.

Many members of the audience applauded Hanna as the hero of the opposition because of his determination to take legal action against the provincial government for ignoring it’s own guidelines.

Hanna said his lawyer’s attitude is that an individual could take down the Hoover dam with a hammer and a nail, one whack at a time, if he kept at it long enough.

“Once we make the hole,” said Hanna, “the whole damn dam is going to come down.”

 Further Reading from Energy Probe: 

Read University of Toronto law and economics professor Michael Trebilcock’s report released by Energy Probe, “The Perils of Picking Technological Winners in Renewable Energy Policy.”


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