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You may recall that in last month’s edition of Farmers Forum, North Gower-Richmond farm owner Ed Schouten (the proponent in the North Gower wind power project) said he looked forward to the start-up on the project at Brinston, as it would serve as a “test case” for people who had doubts about how great wind power is.

Lots of letters flew in to the Editor, and we will reproduce them all. First though, the letter from Brinston resident Leslie Disheau who wants to put Mr Schouten straight on a few issues.

Brinston divided on wind turbines

Letter, Farmers Forum March 2014

I am going to begin with setting the record straight on the use of the term “wind farm.” This term is a skewed way of making the industrialization of farming practices more palatable to the general public by international wind development companies.

Farming practices and the farming industry have quietly moved into industrial practices while still enjoying the government subsidy/benefit programs to help sustain their bottom line, and keep their competitive edge with fluctuating world markets.

These healthy government subsidy/benefit programs are not available to any other sector of industry in Ontario. If you are going to industrialize then you should have to play by the same industry standards and requirements which currently govern all industry in Ontario.

Farm lands are now being used to host electricity producing machines, not growing food to feed cities. So let us term these industrial electricity projects correctly and allow this industry to be taxed accordingly, and without lucrative FIT contracts for 20 years.

We, the people in Brinston, Dixon’s Corners and Hulbert, directly affected by the siting of 10 30-megawatt industrial wind turbines, have every right to be upset and speak out. The Green Energy Act has stripped us of our rights to say “no” and our right to protect the well-being of our families; allowed for the devaluation of our homes; permits wildlife to be killed, harmed and harrassed; and takes top qality farmland out of food production. The rural community of Brinston is very much living with and feeling divided by this South Branch wind project.

“I am not a test animal, and my community is not a ‘test case,’ Mr Schouten”

I personally take great offence to Mr. Schouten’s comment that the “Brinston turbines will be a good test case for the rest of the area.” I am not a test animal. I am a person and my community should not be referred to as a “test case,” like a lab study.

As for Mr. Winslow’s statement about “negative publicity” and “far too much emotion,” I speak up with passion because I value my family’s health and well-being, take pride in my home and property, and understand what stewardship of the land and animals really means. I get emotional when someone makes a decision, without my consent, which directly changes life for my family and the community.

I have spent three years reading and looking at the research for both sides of this issue, from around the world, and can say I sit on the negative side of the fence–I made an educated decision to do so.

Leslie Disheau

Brinston, Ontario

The writer has one 3-MW turbine 836 meters from the front of her family home, and another 900 meters from the rear.The South Branch project, initiated by Germany-based Prowind,and purchased by US-based EDP, began operations March 4.

BrinstonTurbine BaseAerial shot of base for one of the Brinston turbines, prior to construction last year. Brinston is 30 minutes south of Ottawa, Ontario