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Wind turbines a hot topic in Haldimand

The Sachem: KATIE DAWSON - April 22, 2010

With several companies proposing to build wind farms in Haldimand County, wind turbines and their benefits and drawbacks are a hot topic.

The community could see up to 100 wind turbines along the lakeshore between Port Dover and Nanticoke.

Another project, proposed by South Korean Company Samsung, which is a combined solar/wind power farm that is considered the largest in the world, will be moving ahead in the South Cayuga area.

According to James Goodram, Manager of Economic Development and Tourism for Haldimand County, the announcement cements Haldimand's goal of becoming a leading energy hub in Ontario.

The Nanticoke-Port Dover project, the second wind farm, and the Samsung project will jointly produce more than 450 megawatts of power.

With a third project that could be adding another several hundred megawatts of power with a proposed wind farm in Hagersville, taking up approximately 350 acres, Haldimand County is becoming a green energy hub.

There are many who see the benefits of wind farms. The short-term and long-term jobs they will bring are much needed in Haldimand County. There are, as well, as several environmental benefits.

However, there are also many residents who see negative impacts of wind farms.

One of these residents is Grant Church of Cayuga, a member of I Wind Concerns Ontario. Church has been outspoken about wind turbines and the problems that are associated with them.

A major concern Church has is how Wind-turbine companies and the government are changing guidelines to allow wind-turbines to be erected close to homes, roads and farms.

Church says it is very important for people who will be living near proposed wind farms in Haldimand County to be informed.

During an interview with The Sachem, Church showed many documents that acknowledged significant health and wellness issues that were associated with wind turbines.

Concerns include the affects of wind farm noise, which is being extensively studied and has even experts divided, shadow flicker, stray voltage, and safety.

Church says at one time he was slanted towards encouraging wind turbines, but since then has done research, informing himself on the pros and cons, and is taking a strong stance against wind turbines.

"The most important thing is for people to be aware and be informed," says Church.