updated as of Apr 4/11
There has been a lot of information about Wind Turbines being distributed throughout the media and there was a public meeting at the Binbrook Agricultural Hall in December 2010.

Beware, there are many sides to this issue.

The province mandated the closing of energy producing coal burning facilities by 2014 (this date has been changed a few times). In order to replace those facilities, the province needed to find alternate methods of producing energy and alleviate the use of our depleted resources. The Energy Act was created to promote and govern alternate energy production facilities. Solar, Wind, Bio-Diesel are just some of the alternate methods that are currently being endorsed and governed by the province under the Energy Act.

Unlike the Planning Act, the Energy Act does not require wind turbine companies to hold public consultations or perform environmental assessments. The Energy Act does require the facilities obtain building permits from the municipality. The Act also have setback rules of 550 meters for wind turbines to the nearest neighbour but this doesn’t include the host.

Whenever there are alternative methods being utilized, many questions are asked. Are they efficient? Does is cost more energy to produce this energy? Will there be enough energy generated to effectively replace the coal burning facilities? What are the monetary costs involved? Are there health issues involved? The one question that must be answered before we endorse a venture that could ultimately replace our conventional way of producing energy, “have we answered all the questions with confidence going forward to endorse this alternate method knowing that generations from now we can positively state that we made the right decision for our grandchildren and their grandchildren”?

At the time of the publishing of this article, no building permits have been issued by the City of Hamilton although it has been rumoured that there may be wind turbine farms coming to the Glanbrook area. Currently there are wind turbine farms planned in West Lincoln, just east of Westbrook Road.
There is public concern about potential health impacts and concern about the potential decrease of land values related to wind turbines. One group of residents, the Glanbrook Wind Action Group (www.glanbrookwindactiongroup.com), have such concerns.This group presented their concerns to the City of Hamilton’s General Issues Committee which is comprised of all the Councillors and the Mayor. At that time, the Glanbrook Wind Action Group asked the City of Hamilton to join with 76 other municipalities asking the Minister of Energy for a moratorium on the wind turbines until a comprehensive, independent and peer-reviewed health study has been completed. Please note the Chief Medical Officer of Ontario has reviewed health studies that have been done in Europe and proclaimed there are no health risks. Council deferred their decision until the Agricultural and Rural Affairs has had a chance to comment on this presentation.
I think this was a wise decision on Council’s part as it shows that Council is respecting that the agricultural community will be affected by their decision.
Too many years, our agricultural industry has been hampered by imported products being allowed on grocery shelves for a fraction of the price unfairly competing with our local farmers who are struggling with rising taxes and cost of employment, legislation restrictions etc. Finding environmentally and healthy ways for our local farmers to generate revenue on their land to make their livelihood sustainable and ensure that farming will continue for future generations should be paramount for any government. For a farmer to be able to lease his/her land while tending to their crops and livestock would seem to be a viable solution. Farmers do not want to feel alienated from their neighbours, conversely, we their neighbours, want to support local farmers.
The critics of the wind turbines is threefold. One is the removal of authority by the Energy Act from the municipality. Therefore the municipality is unable to exercise it’s authority on the placement of the wind turbines, demand environmental assessments or conduct public consultations for the purpose of public comments that can ultimately decide the appropriate placement or the ultimate removal of the turbines. Another critism or in this case, a concern is the potential health or environmental risks. Are there health risks? Are there environmental risks? As many doctors who have come forward to state there are risks, there are as many who debunk those claims. Who is right? What if they are wrong? The third main concern is the potential decrease in the value of lands that surround the wind farms. Does the value of the land decrease? Why are some communities feeling little or no economic problems in their real estate and yet why are the homes in Cold Creek (a community with a wind farm) boarded up and left abandoned? What experts can answer these questions with conclusive results to reassure any community that may be getting wind turbines that all is well?
Again, I come back to my question “have we answered all the questions with confidence going forward to endorse this alternate method knowing that generations from now we can positively state that we made the right decision for our grandchildren and their grandchildren”?
I’m interested in what you think. Email me at brenda.johnson@hamilton.ca or give me a call at 905-546-4513 and let me know. Also, a reminder that the Ward 11 Community Web Page is www.brendajohnson.ca

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