This past year has been an incredible demonstration of the sense of community people feel in the North Gower-Richmond-Kars area of the City of Ottawa, and the commitment to action to protect that community, and the health, safety and stability of the people who live in it.
A lot of work has been done to protect our community from industrialization by a huge, expensive and unnecessary wind power generation project that would be inappropriately located too close to over 1,000 homes and our school–yet more challenges await.
Thanks to everyone –more than 1250 people–who participated in our amazing petition drive, including the more than 30 volunteers who went door to door for weeks; what an achievement!!!
First posted: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 06:03 PM EDT | Updated: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 06:19 PM EDT
For years, Gary Thomas has run a successful 50-acre Christmas tree farm in North Gower.
And he does it right, a family event with horse-drawn sleighs, tractor-drawn wagons and a warm fire with hot chocolate and cookies waiting for you upon your return from the bush.
Don’t forget the sweet smells of fresh Scotch Pine and Balsam fir.
Now picture the same Norman Rockwell scene with a 600-foot high wind turbine less than 1 km away.
Sort of jars the senses, doesn’t it?
And then picture the massive turbine casting a shadow over the scene every few seconds.
Thomas says he can barely believe the possibility.
But indeed, there continues to be a looming threat of a wind turbine project as his next-door-neighbour.
A company called Prowind has applied more than once to the province for permission to build the wind turbine project in North Gower.
And when the province opens up for bids again, there’s every expectation Prowind will submit a proposal again.
“We’re not very pleased with it for a number of reasons. Health, there’s the psychological aspect, and the flicker effect, with every few second have a shadow come in front of our house, this is crazy,
“I’m not sure customers having the old fashioned experience will like the shadow,” he said.
Thomas doesn’t just worry about the immediate effects of the turbines, but he and his wife have counted on the farm for their retirement — and if the giant wind turbines are erected, doesn’t know how that will effect the resale value of their home.
“We’re hopeful Watson and council won’t put them in the municipality,” he says, in an interview with the Sun on Wednesday.
The threat of a giant wind turbine farm in their community has galvanized residents of North Gower in opposition of the project.
“We really don’t need these wind power projects,” said Jane Wilson, the chair of Ottawa Wind Concerns.
The group is circulating a petition — which now has about 400 names on it — advising the province North Gower doesn’t want to be home to a wind turbine project.
“It’s a pretty big power plant, I’m not sure people understand that. It’s huge, these are really large machines, they make noise and the vibrations can be upsetting,” she said.
The group has the support of their ward councillor Scott Moffatt, who’s working with them and city staff to craft a motion asking the province to give municipalities a say in where the wind power projects can and can’t be located.
“The majority are against it,” he added.
Read more at the Ottawa Sun website and take the poll!
Nearly 300 people came to the recreation centre in North Gower Saturday morning to oppose construction of eight to 10 wind turbines north and west of the village.
NORTH GOWER — Nearly 300 people came to the recreation centre in North Gower Saturday morning to oppose construction of eight to 10 wind turbines north and west of the village.
“They’re too noisy. They are really way to close to people for an industrial power plant,” said organizer Jane Wilson, of Ottawa Wind Concerns. “Far too close to too many people.”
She estimates that 1,100 homes would be within 3.5 kilometres of the turbines.
“A number of the homes are within two kilometres, which is … where you see most of the health effects,” she said.
Her group circulated a map of where it says the turbines would be sited, “and when people start looking at the map and see how close it is, it really makes a difference to them.”
Opponents of wind farms say sound waves that are at too low a frequency for the human ear to hear can cause insomnia, dizziness, headaches and other health problems. The industry says there is no health impact.
Construction could begin in the fall of 2014, she believes.
The proposal by Prowind Canada is on hold for now, but residents expect the company to go ahead eventually. The Prowind website estimates the size of what it calls the Marlborough wind farm at eight turbines, producing up to 20 megawatts.
Nepean-Carleton MPP Lisa MacLeod, who is also the Conservative energy critic, attended the event to support the protest.
“Rural communities are going to be assaulted by these wind turbine developments,” she said.
She said the Conservatives want a moratorium on new wind developments, and an end to subsidies “so that we can put them put of business.”
She also accused the turbines of being costly and inefficient.
Wind farms are common in many parts of Ontario, especially along the Great Lakes, but are not yet common in Eastern Ontario. In some rural communities they have pitted neighbours against each other, with some welcoming the revenue and some saying their health and property values are at stake.
“There are obviously some health issues that need to be explored and Health Canada is doing that right now,” MacLeod said.
Wilson said the Saturday rally collected 282 signatures declaring that North Gower is “not a willing host” to a wind farm.
Nepean-Carleton MP Pierre Poilievre announced on Twitter that the social costs of wind farms are too high and added, “I will continue to stand with you.”