They love their boats and they love their lake. Many of them rely on the wind to get out and enjoy the high waters, but relying on wind for energy? “Not in my backyard,” say some of the many boaters at the various yacht clubs at the bluffs.
On Jan. 30 the Bluffers Park Yacht Club was host to an information session on the facts about Industrial Wind Turbines and their affect on health and the environment. About 30 or so ‘captains’ and boat enthusiasts from the local yacht clubs attended the meeting which was organised by BPYC’s Past Commodore Grace Morrison and Roy Wright, president of Save the Toronto Bluffs, a group opposing wind farms in Lake Ontario.
Beach Metro was invited to sit in on the presentations, but was not allowed to photograph anyone inside, guests or presenters. The reason given was that “it was not a political meeting, and politics were to be left out. Only facts,” Morrison told me.
Wright started things off with various statements suggesting that people should be very afraid of Toronto Hydro’s plans to build a wind farm near the bluffs, stating that even though the plan is to start with 60 wind turbines, you can be sure that it would soon grow to 500. Wright also said that he asked “the new Beaches councillor” (Mary-Margaret McMahon) what her position was on the matter. He said “[her position] is the same as David Miller’s, who started this thing in secrecy in 2003, that if there’s sufficient wind, Toronto Hydro can go ahead and put the wind farm in.”
Guests invited to the meeting were then asked to state what they understand about industrial wind turbines and how they can benefit or not benefit society. The segment quickly shifted to blaming Dalton McGuinty and the Liberals for increases in hydro bills and a poor energy policy.
Wind Concerns Ontario (WCO) president John LaForet was next to deliver his views on the matter. LaForet, who recently ran for councillor in Ward 43, informed everyone that the Lake Ontario wind turbine project, which was started in 2003, was hidden from tax payers for nearly five years. He argued that, since no one in the world has been “stupid” enough to build wind turbines in fresh water, the government clearly has no idea what they are doing.
He continued to focus on what sounded more like a conspiracy theory in which the Liberal government and Toronto Hydro have been working in secret, and telling lies to people, in order to see the project through without any scientific research on the effects of wind turbines on people or nature nearby. He used sentences such as “they can do whatever they want,” and “they deny science, it’s madness.”
Since there was no one from Toronto Hydro or any Liberal government officials to rebut the statements, I was left wondering about the validity of their assertions.
We were then treated to a 45 minute university lecture on ‘noise’ by Dr. Lu Lombardi, the infrasound expert. Dr. Lombardi presented study after study after study on how noise is bad for people’s health, especially sub-sonic noise, or noise you can’t hear.
I also learned that “aero-dynamic modulated noise cannot be shielded,” which, apparently, is a very bad thing.
John Mason, a volunteer and former campaign manager for LaForet, then concluded the meeting by having the audience ask questions. Bob Cassidy, a member of the BFYC, took the opportunity to say that “the government doesn’t give a rat’s ass about us.”
A woman sitting next to me did make a very important and valid statement at the end – one I was itching to make myself. “I caution people that you haven’t really presented a totally unbiased presentation,” said Cheryl Carr, a local resident and a member of BPYC. She strongly appreciated the presentation by the panelists and is grateful for their efforts, but Carr admitted she was “disappointed” that there were no representatives from other organizations to argue “the other side.”
Morrison did tell everyone in the room that a club member with “knowledge of the other side” had invited someone to come but they did not respond. “That is a true statement,” she assured everyone. When asked specifically who was asked to attend, Morrison did not know.
As for a non-political presentation, I’m not sure that continually referring to David Miller, Dalton McGuinty and the Liberal Party as many times as the panelists (and the guests) did is in keeping with the spirit on nonpartisanship.
After attending and reading about a number of meetings on the issue what I would like to see is a comprehensive presentation of facts, in layman’s terms, by activists as well as government officials, environment groups, and health specialists on both sides. A civil and open discussion with no politics whatsoever. Tell me what good will a wind farm in my lake bring to the people of Toronto and Ontario, and then tell me why it’s a bad idea. Only then can I make a decision on whether or not I approve of it.
Any organization willing to take it on?