Enniskillen in a good position to stop three wind farms: activist

wind leases“If you don’t want wind farms in your community, don’t sign the leases.”

That was the blunt advice from a wind activist to about 250 people who came to Oil Springs Thursday night to hear about what affect three wind projects may have on their community.

Chad Burke and his family organized the information meeting after learning the companies were travelling in the community looking for landowners to sign wind leases for three projects which could bring up to 51 turbines to the area. Farmers, homeowners and politicians from Enniskillen, Petrolia and Queen’s Park all came out to take in the information. And many had the same question – how do we stop these projects?

Marcelle Brooks of Middlesex Lambton Wind Action was standing at the back of the crowded hall. She listened as the experts explained some of the problems associated with the industrial turbines including health problems, stray voltage and declining property values.

As the crowd started asking about how to keep the wind farms from setting up shop; Brooks told them the community is in an excellent position because they knew early that the wind companies were signing up leaseholders. She encouraged the people to get out to their neighbours and have intelligent conversations about the problems associated with the turbines.

“If you don’t want wind farms in your community, don’t sign the leases,” she said to applause. And Brooks says opponents already have a leg up on some communities, as at least a half dozen local politicians in the room. “We’ve had four community sessions like this and not once has our mayor shown up…This is a community issue – you must stick together.”

Burke isn’t sure yet if a community group will be formed in Enniskillen although he has said he would like to approach Enniskillen Council to increase the distance the turbines can be from a home. The provincial law is 550 meters but some municipalities, including Plympton-Wyoming, are challenging the Green Energy Act trying to make that two kilometers. Plympton-Wyoming is now facing a legal challenge from Suncor Energy which is building a project in the community.

Enniskillen Mayor Kevin Marriott is watching the court case closely and is nervous about the prospect of Enniskillen getting involved in similar legal battles. “We’ve worked very hard to keep taxes down in Enniskillen,” says Mayor Kevin Marriott adding he’s worried a legal battle could change that.

And he says he’s been reminded by other taxpayers that it is their right to sign a wind turbine lease.

Marriott encouraged the crowd to remain active, warning it was not going to be an easy battle. “Signing the petition tonight would be a start, but you will have to do a lot more than that.”