Monday, 5 September 2011

Response to A.Rohl


August 31, 2011

Last week your paper published a letter from A. Rohl of Maxwell commenting on an advertisement sponsored by Ontario Highlands Friends of Wind Power (OHFoWP) that appeared in the Advance and the Herald two weeks ago.

For the record, I am one of the principals of OHFoWP. I live in Grey Highlands and others that support OHFoWP either live here or in other communities in the area including Melancthon.

We believe that using renewable resources such as wind and sun to generate power are essential to our future economic and environmental well being. Solar and wind generation are rapidly becoming competitive when other energy types are objectively costed.

We know, not believe, that wind turbines are safe and, when properly sited, do not harm human health. By contrast, it is clear that other energy types cause much greater harm to human health and the environment.

Some people find turbines annoying, so annoying that they suffer from symptoms of stress such as headaches and sleeplessness but most people don’t.

Wind turbines are a boon to rural communities, particularly to farmers who may be struggling to stay on the land. We believe that they provide other advantages to our communities, including jobs, additional economic activity, and less dependency on the grid.

In fact, once the eleven turbines in the Plateau project are in place and connected to the grid by a modern and more robust distribution system, these turbines (that most people in Grey highlands won’t see) will generate most of the electricity we consume locally over the course of a year.

A. Ruhl says that turbines will lead to the “industrialization” of our rural community.

Our community was “industrialized” 150 years ago when the first settlers arrived. They built sawmills, grist mills, harnessed rivers, extracted oil and gas, built roads and railroads to connect the farms and the mills to the outside world.

Our community is still “industrial” just not enough for the community to build and pay for a hospital, and to provide other amenities that we need.

A. Ruhl says that this is matter of conscience. It is not.

According to the Grey Highlands code of conduct, it is the duty of councillors to represent fairly the diversity of community views, to support sound financial management and accountability, and to be aware of the statutory obligations imposed on Council.

We believe the four councillors who voted against the proposed road agreement failed in all these obligations.

They made no effort to accommodate those who are interested in having wind turbines in our community. Instead, they support wind opponents who have no interest in the views and needs of others in our community and whose tactics involve shutting down legitimate meetings intended to provide information about wind. The opponents have no interest in civil dialogue. They are prepared to, and do harass and intimidate anyone who disagrees with them.

Lastly, the Councillors have not spelled out the purpose and associated risks to taxpayers as they pursue yet another lawsuit at taxpayer expense rather than advising the opponents to do their own advocacy work.

This doesn’t look like “a matter of conscience.” It looks like the councillors are not doing their job.

Roger Short

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