October 5, 2021
The City of Ottawa is strangely devoted to the idea that industrial-scale or grid-scale wind turbines are just an ordinary on-farm activity.
When the final draft of the new Official Plan was presented at last week’s public meeting, City staff maintained their position that the large wind power generators were an activity just like any other in the countryside, like corn mazes and produce stands.
“We know there are concerns,” said planning staff member Melissa Jort-Conway, adding that the City will be conducting consultations and that the community will have input when the situation gets to the zoning bylaw stage.
That’s not very reassuring when you consider that the process for new bylaws allows for ONE comment period.
Ward 21 Councillor Scott Moffatt said at the recent Environmental Protection, Water and Waste Management committee meeting, which he chairs, that decisions aren’t always seen as fair by rural residents who are in the minority. They feel like they don’t get any say, he noted.
That is what happened south of Ottawa when the Ontario government under Kathleen Wynne approved one last wind power project, the 100-megawatt Nation Rise or Crysler project that encompasses hundreds of acres of land in North Stormont including the communities of Finch, Berwick and Crysler
Although the Wynne government had cancelled further wind power procurement in 2016, saying Ontario had enough power and it was more than 90-percent emissions-free, Nation Rise was approved in the Liberals’ last days. The community fought hard through an appeal which pointed out the risk of environmental noise, wildlife deaths and potential harm to the fragile aquifer. The communities remain divided after the bitter conflict.
In the recent heat wave in Ontario, wind power throughout the province failed to provide any significant amount of power during the days when demand was high to power air conditioning.
Now Ottawa is calling for as much as 3,200 megawatts of wind or more than 700 turbines by 2050.
Most Ottawa residents have never seen a modern wind turbine; their experience might be to see the turbines on Wolfe Island near Kingston which are some 18 km from highway 401–those are under 2 megawatts while turbines today are well over 3 megawatts in power rating, and stand 600 feet or more. The ExPlace turbine is downtown Toronto is less than one megawatt but works well as a backdrop for political and industry photos.
The facts: wind turbines do not fulfill any of the promises made for them by their promoters. They do not produce reliable power, they are highly invasive to the environment, the produce environmental noise pollution, and they do not contribute much toward any environmental action. They will use up valuable prime agricultural land, and they are most definitely NOT an on-farm activity, contributing to agriculture.
Yet Ottawa City Council seems to want them as highly visible “climate action” beacons.
Have your say by submitting a comment to the joint Planning and Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee meeting on October 14. Deadline October 13. Details here: https://engage.ottawa.ca/the-new-official-plan
Not an “on-farm” agricultural activity [Photo: D. Larsen for Wind Concerns Ontario]