On September 22, 2018 I sent a list of questions to Bluewater candidates regarding their position on Industrial Wind Power and supporting victims in this municipality.
I copied several reporters and on September 30th, sent a second email out advising the candidates it was my intent to make their exact responses (or lack of) public, in the order that I received them.
September 23, 2018:
Alwyn Vanden Berg – Hay West
Thanks for your questions. What is your phone number, maybe I can speak with you over the next few days.
In short, I am not a supporter of the wind turbines nor a supporter of the Green Energy Act . From my home I can see 10 wind turbines within a mile or so away.
I nor my family members have any financial gain with the wind turbines.
I’ll try and answer your questions over the next few days.
Alwyn Vanden Berg
September 23, 2018
Bill Whetstone: Bayfield
1. Please explain how you personally have interested with victims or representatives of victims of Industrial wind in Ontario? (Meetings, attending protests, speeches, phone calls, emails, lobbying for change, etc.)
I have been involved with communication from residents over the last 4 years
2. Please provide a brief assessment of what you feel is happening to the ENVIRONMENT of Ontario with the onslaught of industrial wind (water, air, wildlife, land). For example, are you aware of polluted water wells for example in Chatham Kent which water had hitherto been pristine for decades? Are you aware of the egregious bird and bat and wildlife kills?
My understanding is that due to the amount of birds and bats that have been killed due to colliding with wind turbines that a count of dead birds and bats is conducted on a regular bases at the base on the wind turbines. Also I believe there has been some attempt in changing the tips of the blades to help with this. I have not saw any documentation on the effect of these changes.
3. What is your understanding of the costs of wind and solar subsidies and subsequent job losses, to the economy of Ontario? (Ontario has lost 30% of its manufacturing base in eight years, much of this, (64%), attributed to proliferation of wind and solar subsidies, the high cost of power. Ross McKitrick explains: “we estimate that Ontario may have lost at least 1.8 permanent manufacturing jobs for every new job created under the province’s green energy initiatives since 2008. And this is a conservative estimate, since many of the green energy jobs were temporary.”)
My understanding is that the majority of job losses were in part to automotive decline. I`m not surprised by the number of job losses as a result of wind turbines as they were never going to be full-time permeant jobs as you stated. The influx into the economy was expected to be short lived.
4. What general statement can you offer about wind power and how will you mitigate the effects of a disastrous energy policy on the citizens of Bluewater whom have been negatively impacted? When municipal power is restored, what policies would you consider enacting to mitigate the harm that victims have suffered? If you had the power, would you include restitution for victims? If able, would you include terminating “odious debts” contracts as they are unreasonable, and falsely premised? If able, would you require that offending turbines be dismantled?
My understanding is that a study is underway not only in Huron County but also elsewhere ass to the health effects. Should the results indicate health concerns then this would fall under the province for any victims that come forward. There are terms regarding dismantling in current agreements with Bluewater. Unless another such agreement was struck I suspect we would have to follow these provisions unless can show and have agreement on a reason why could should change. This is something that is going to happen at some point as these are only 20 yr agreements and as such may not be renewed leaving the Turbine as an ugly reminder. I would suggest that effected municipalities should push the province and the wind companies to form an agreement on the cost and who will be responsible for dismantling and not download that cost to the municipalities.
5. There is evidence that the noise guidelines, measurement regulations and protocols under the previous Liberal government Ministry of Environment and Climate Change are flawed. Will you call for newly created Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks to address this problem and create enforceable laws on audible and inaudible emissions giving representatives of impacted residents equal input on those solutions?
If there is continual evidence to suggest such and the ill effects, yes.
6. What is the nearest Industrial Wind Factory, or electrical substation, to your own home or cottage? Do you or any of your family members benefit financially from wind energy via leases/contracts?
As I live in Bayfield, the closets would be the Varna wind project. No I do not have any lease or contract.
7. Any other clarification or comments that you wish.
Bayfield Ward Councillor
September 25, 2018
T/c from Shawn LaPorte – Zurich
Shawn advised he was not supportive of the turbines and written responses were requested in order to inform the wider public on candidates positions.
September 25, 2018
Jim Fergusson – Deputy Mayor
Hello Patti – thank you for your email requesting my position on various wind turbine issues.
There are a number of uncertainties at this time in terms of what legislation exactly the Province will enact. In my experience, the Province provides very limited discretion to the local level and retains much of the power.
As you know I have attended a protest against wind turbines in Toronto some years ago. As a member of municipal council I feel that I have brought a fair and balanced approach – to acknowledge our residents who may be adversely affected and attempting to assert municipal discretion. Since the Province has been the sole regulator for wind turbines including at the political level and the Ministry/staff level I personally have not received any statistical reports that describe any environmental or economical effects.
Since we do not know what the new legislation will look like, it is impossible for me to describe what actions I may or may not propose. The Huron County Health Unit is currently conducting a health study specifically for Huron County residents and I look forward to the results from that study that will still be some time away.
Despite not knowing the rights that will be granted to municipalities, I don’t intend for Bluewater residents to take financial responsibility for actions undertaken by the Province. That would be patently unfair.
Although our Council may have the opportunity to make statements by a Council resolution I doubt that the Province will assign any rights to the local level regarding existing turbines, regulations regarding noise levels or public input. I do not support additional wind turbine development in Bluewater. I feel that this issue has split our community more than any other issue I am aware of.
The Nextera Bluewater Wind Turbine project is located approximately 2 km from my home. I do not and none of my family members benefit from wind energy in Bluewater or elsewhere.
Patti – thank you for reaching out.
Deputy Mayor, Bluewater
September 27, 2018
John Gillespie – Hay West
Sorry for the delay in responding, it has been busy!!
You know where I stand on wind turbines so I’m just going to make some comments. You can always give me a call.
With the Green Energy Act being repealed I want to see what else the government is going to do with the existing completed projects.
At a minimum I think that should only be paying the going rate for each KW, they about double right now. Secondly the project should be paying their fair share of taxes, right now they are capped at a fraction of their value. Lastly I believe the wind companies have voided their contracts as they have not delivered on their promises.
Hope this helps, let me know if you want to discuss further.
John R. Gillespie
September 28, 2018
Alwyn Vanden Berg – Hay West
Here are my responses. Thank you for the additional information. I will take the time to gain further knowledge on this matter.
1. I have spoken with a few homeowners along the Bluewater Highway to get their input.
2. Yes, I am aware of the birds and bats and the water wells in the Chatham Kent area.
3. I was not a supporter of the Green Energy Act.
4. We will have to wait and see what replaces the Green Energy Act. It has passed first reading and now it is accepting public input. Restitution and dismantling, who pays for that? Certainly Bluewater residents don’t want to pay for that. What are in the current contracts in regards to dismantling? Dismantling, is also a concern as to where those parts go, the concrete and the gallons of petro chemicals inside.
5. If noise guidelines are flawed based on clear evidence then it’s up to Province to look into the matter.
6. I live within a mile or two of over a dozen wind turbines. I nor any family members gain financially on wind turbines.
7. I am not a supporter of wind turbines or the Green Energy Act. We will see how the new Act gets replaced. Or will it be a download onto the municipalities where they will have to absorb any new costs?
Alwyn Vanden Berg
Candidate, Hay West
September 28, 2018
T/c from Bill Dowson, requesting a face to face meeting. I advised Bill that my intent was to publish responses in order for the wider public to be informed of council members positions and since I was not meeting with other councillors it would not be fair to do so. Bill advised he would see about putting something together.
September 29, 2018
Patti – You know my position on this issue – it has not changed and it will not.
We moved because of the vibrating spinners.
Fight on my friend,
September 30, 2018
Bob Montgomery – Hay East
i have read your questions and frankly i need for information before i can form an opinion on most of them so i’m waiting for the results of the health unit study. i also think you’re making some assumptions that i might question.
i can answer your first question. i haven’t.
and i’ve always believed the subsidies were out of line and needlessly increased our energy costs.
at this time i don’t have an opinion on the others and i think you may be seriously over estimating the changes our new provincial will make.
October 10, 2018
Paul Klopp – Deputy Mayor position
Good morning Patti,
The reason I am writing to you now and not sooner is that I was getting clarification of what the new government of Ontario’s position is. I wanted more detail
regarding that said position.
Your first question: Personal experience.
I started working with neighbours when the liberal government first made the policy back in 2005. We had concerns for the environment, economic impact, health, water, public relations. We were lead to believe that our issues were being dealt with in a positive way and that the local population would have a say in the process. We were even told that we could start up locally owned electrical coops and we could address those concerns.
As time went on it became very clear that local coops were not going to get contracts but I continued to voice my opinions.
I was in contact with people like David Colling from Ripley who was working on the same issues. He made me aware of windviglance.com which was working on Health issues related to windmills.
Question 2: Environmental Harm
Yes, I unfortunately have heard of the water well issue at the Chatham Kent farm. The agricultural papers follow and report on it closely.
When my neighbour started his windmill, I made it very clear to the company that I have concerns about the nearby spring fed water supply.
That was one of the main reasons why we did not sign a lease for towers. My refusal to build did not stop that tower or any that were later built. Fortunately, none have affected the water supply at all four wells on our farms.
Regarding bird and bats, I know there studies. They have not provided conclusions.
Question 3: Job losses due to Green Energy. Since that was the direction taken by the Liberal government at the time, they have paid the price and are no longer in government.
Question 4: These are the questions that I have been trying to get more information on. Will local municipalities be given the power to make any of the decisions you describe? Will local municipalities be given the power to dismantle? I have not been given any information from the new Tory government that anything will change. Of course I am sympathetic to the concerns you raise for debt and contracts and would be supportive of those who wish to continue their work with the Ontario government to mitigate the concerns.
Question 5: Yes
Question 6: A neighbour has a wind turbine right on our line fence. It is across the road from my home. I do not benefit from wind contracts. No family members benefit from wind contracts.
Question 7: I hear your cry for help. I believe that there do not have to be a large amount of people who are negatively affected in order for concerns to be heard and addressed. As Mayor of Bluewater, I would form a working group whereby any citizens of Bluewater who have like concerns are recognized and supported in the work they are doing with regards to wind towers. I would welcome your input.
Municipality of Bluewater
Thank you to the candidates who took the time and effort to respond to these questions.
If you are still reading, the following is a list of the candidates whom did not respond either by email or phone to my “Urgent Request” for their positions. If any more written responses are received prior to the election date, I will add an addendum to this report.
Tyler Hessel – Mayor.
John Becker – Hay East
Marnie Hill – Hensall
Scott Harris – Stanley East
Peter Walden – Stanley East
Taylor Van Aaken – Stanley West
In closing, I hope that Bluewater citizens find this information helpful when making their decisions. I am publishing this list now as with the changes in electronic voting, it is important that people have this information prior to casting their ballots.
I realize that there are many people in Bluewater who are not considering this issue when they cast their ballots as they do not feel the wind turbines affect them. Should you find yourself in this category, please consider your neighbours who very well might be. Those of us affected do not need any results from any more health studies. We know what is happening to us.