The following letter was submitted by Gary Zavitz on February 12 as a Letter to the Editor of the Listowel Banner. It was in response to this editorial and this editorial that documented the witch hunt that is going on in the area, seemingly aided by the Banner. As of this date, the Letter has not been published.
Referring to the Feb 8 article in the Listowel Banner, it was discouraging to read of the events at the North Perth council meeting last week where a wind energy person was invited to speak to local council, yet was met with verbal and physical abuse, resulting in him being hurried out the door. How ridiculous and narrow-minded it was not to have heard the speaker out on his point. Agree or disagree, it was an opportunity missed not to have set the stage for an important community debate on wind energy facts, rather than the same old fear, uncertainty and rhetorical doubt pandered by those opposed to this form of renewable energy.
It should be recognized that Ontario is in the midst of updating its ancient electricity system and will need a variety of robust power sources. This will include clean wind energy, which can be planned, built, managed and serviced by local talent, a net-new source of income for the local economy, not to mention tax revenue. The debt retirement charge we pay on our power bill – an unfunded liability currently at $13.4 billion which does nothing to build new electricity capacity - is not the result of solar and wind, but cost overruns in big ticket projects dating back a few decades.
My group, Friends of Wind Ontario understands that wind energy is relatively new to most Canadians. The subject matter and resulting community impact can be complex and that questions and concerns must be addressed with verifiable facts. We are like all Canadians who abide by the rules of democratic government and believe in the fundamental right of citizens to be informed and to have the opportunity to express their opinions with respect to any local developments, regardless of their views. We recognize that dialogue around the important issue of our local and regional energy future must be based on respect for all opinions and no one should be fearful of others when addressing this important topic.
Thousands of farmers and rural landowners and dozens of municipalities in Ontario are actively participating in wind energy and other renewable energy projects. The resulting jobs will be a boon to the local economy, especially for my area, hit hard by a downturn in manufacturing and having one of the highest levels of unemployment in Canada. I live just west of London and within a few years, the family house where my family has lived for over a century will be mere minutes from a planned wind farm. I am consulting regularly with the local councils and the developer on this project and can confidently say I have little concern if any, on these plans as the project moves forward.