Thank You for your Support



                       June 21 2012

OUR OPINION: Bending with the wind

The e-mail we saw on Tuesday afternoon, just hours before a public meeting on wpd’s wind turbine project in Manvers, made us nervous. The writer suggested G20-like tactics to cause maximum disruption to the meeting, justifying it by saying her ancestors would be proud she was standing up for her rights.

Thankfully, the residents who attended the Tuesday evening session acted like adults and didn’t resort to throwing themselves on the ground in protest. They were likely tempted as the wind projects in the area seem to keep coming up despite their clear message that they don’t want them near their homes.

The cycle seems to have been the same for the past three years: a company proposes a project, the residents object by citing health and property-value concerns and the company responds with answers that don’t fulfill those concerns.

At the local level, this all makes sense. People are defending their right to speak up against this major change in the landscape. We get it.

In the bigger scheme of things, this is not new. Communities in other parts of Ontario and the world have been through the same discussions and have seen wind turbines erected. The ruling Liberals are keen to embrace wind as a power source so Ontarians use less energy from coal-fired plants as we consume vast amounts of power, especially during heat waves like this week’s and our frigid winters.

So what can we learn to break the cycle of the same questions and the same answers, with no one walking away satisfied?

The answer is to compromise.

The Province is not wavering from its stance that we need wind power as part of our future. You can argue all day about how efficient it is or whether it causes health problems; unless you have another way to run our appliances, you’re saying the same things others have said before. Saying ‘no’ is like throwing yourself on the floor in a tantrum with a virtual guarantee that you won’t get your way.

If the wind opponents are truly worried about sound and shadow affecting people’s health, then focus on setbacks. If you’re concerned about the effect on birds and bats, talk about blade design or period of rest during migration.

There are a dozen other constructive conversations we can have about turbines and how their presence would affect life in Manvers. But both sides need to listen.

Residents who have turned up to meeting after meeting feel like they are not being heard. That must be incredibly frustrating. But to listen and learn, then amend your question would take you far further ahead in reaching a compromise you can live with.

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One Response to Thank You for your Support

  1. David Grant says:

    If you’re convinced wind turbines will have an effect on your health, then they will.
    I can only assume that the people against them would prefer to have a coal-fired or nuclear power plant in the neighbourhood ? I doubt they have any intention of disconnecting from the grid, and it has to come from somewhere. That said, I do think that the provincial government should have a policy that guarantees property values would not be affected. (offering $$ to bring up value for legitimate claims). If this were in place, there most likely would be no reason for values to decrease. (as they would only decrease because of the fear they would decrease..self-fullfilling prophecy. Remove that fear, and they won’t be affected.)

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