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Community said ‘no’ to giant wind power plant and Mayor aims to fight for their wishes … and sense
North Frontenac Mayor Ron Higgins told the audience for a noon-hour public affairs show yesterday that he is “game” for a fight against wind power projects … and he is gathering steam among other municipalities to “bring it on.”
Although North Frontenac missed a contract in the recent announcement by the IESO, he is under no illusion that his community, where the majority of residents are opposed to a wind power project, is safe.
“Those bids” will just roll over into the next round, he said, and his community is not only ready, they are striking out for change. Last week, North Frontenac Council passed a resolution asking the provincial government to make municipal support a mandatory requirement in the new bid process, not just a means to score higher in points for wind power developers.
In spite of declarations by more than 90 communities in Ontario that they were “Not A Willing Host” to the power projects, the Independent Electricity Systems Operator (IESO) awarded contracts to unwilling communities anyway.
Higgins’ issue is not only are community wishes overruled by the current process, the fact is wind power doesn’t live up to the hype. “It isn’t really ‘green’,” he said, citing studies which list concerns about the need for fossil-fuel back up and the possibility that greenhouse gas emissions actually increase with wind power.
The Ontario government never did any studies on cost-benefit analysis, Higgins said, echoing two Auditors General in Ontario, and the real impacts of industrial-scale wind power development are not known. But there are enough concerns about damage to the environment, health impacts due to the noise and vibration, and the alteration to North Frontenac’s scenic landscape to worry him.
“Here in North Frontenac,” he said, “we never take action without studying everything … the province didn’t do that.”