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Wainfleet resident calls for moratorium on wind farms

The Welland Tribune: DAVE JOHNSON - June 11, 2010

Andrew Watts wants the township to join 60 other Ontario municipalities in calling for a moratorium on wind farm developments.

Watts appeared before aldermen Tuesday and told of a community on the U.S. East Coast that initially welcomed a wind farm in its area, as an environmentally- friendly way to get energy.

Watts said the people on Fox Island soon came to realize the benefits of the three wind turbines installed were not what they thought they'd be.

He said the people found the noise of the turbines to be extremely high and even petitioned the company operating them to shut them down overnight so people could sleep.

"I'd ask council to do their due diligence and independent research to see the benefits, if any, or harm caused by wind turbines before they embrace plans for one here," said Watts.

He said 60 municipalities in Ontario have asked for a provincial moratorium until it's proven the wind turbines and farms have no adverse affect on people and the environment.

"I ask council to demand the province have a moratorium until an independent investigation has taken place."

Watts said European governments have shown there's been no reduction in carbon emissions, no reduction in energy use, no reduction in the use of fossil fuels or nuclear power and no reduction in what consumers pay.

"There's no practical method of saving the energy, it's either used or lost."

Watts said wind farms and environmental and human costs and they are an environmental disaster in the making that can be prevented.

Mayor Barb Henderson thanked Watts for his presentation and said he raised some compelling concerns.

"With the Green Energy Act, control has been taken out of our hands," she said.

The mayor asked if Watts had taken his concerns to the province.

Watts said those governments that have responded to him have said he should take his concerns to the local or regional level.

"Someone has to act, you have to say no and must try and protect this community.

"These things don't work," said Watts.

Henderson said before council could make a decision on calling for a moratorium it needed to hear both sides of the story.

She said council will invite the proponents of a wind farm for Wainfleet -- Wainfleet Wind Energy Inc. -- to hear what they have to say.

In early April, the Ontario Power awarded a contract to Wainfleet Wind Energy Inc. for a renewable energy project under the Feed-in Tariff program -- a program under the Green Energy and Green Economy Act. Council had no prior knowledge of the project.

Watts welcomed the mayor's suggestion and asked the proponents bring all the facts and figures about wind energy and the project.

No date was set when the proponents would be before council.