A local citizen of Port Elgin, with a blog called Quixote’s Last Stand, has put up a billboard to complain about the CAW’s wind turbine. I wrote about this controversy last winter and, although I am no longer writing about politics, thought I would at least do a follow-up since I got an e-mail about this issue this morning.
I understand the frustration of the people of Port Elgin because the turbine in question is smack right in the middle of the town, thus affecting the surrounding homes, businesses and recreation areas. The CAW turbine is not only noisy but unsightly as well.
However, the problem is that the train has already left the station. As such, the CAW is unlikely to ever have to take the turbine down– unless the federal government’s study on the possible health effects finds it too close to Port Elgin’s residents.
In fact, even if there was an Ontario election and change in Ontario’s governing party, nothing would change in this situation because the costs of a lawsuit would be prohibitive for Ontario taxpayers.
I mean, read the claims the CAW make on their website. If those claims are correct, and I have no reason to doubt them, their single wind turbine is now generating up to 50-60% of their Port Elgin Education Centre’s energy needs.
Now, let’s compare the CAW turbine result with what happened to the Scarborough Bluffs wind turbine projects.
In 2010 the McGuinty government said it planned to allow a number of offshore wind projects in Lake Ontario, not far from the Scarborough Bluffs. Well, the Toronto Save Our Shorelines (SOS) lobbyists had something to say about that and fought hard.
So, it was not really a surprise when, a few months before the 2011 Ontario election, the project was cancelled. The reason for the cancellation? Apparently, the science was not settled or some such excuse. However, the more likely reason was because the MPP for Scarborough Centre was Brad Duguid, the Liberal Energy Minister at that time, and the looming election campaign.
However, let’s face it, politics is at play all the time. Even if the PCs or NDP had been in power in Scarborough, the offshore projects would have been cancelled or at the very least been part of a broader moratorium. Of course, if there had been a PC government at the time the CAW first put up the turbine, it too would have been cancelled due to a moratorium. But, as the people of Huron Bruce already know, the PCs did not win a majority government in October 2011.
So, at this point, regarding the CAW wind turbine in Port Elgin, whether it is a Liberal, PC or NDP government in Ontario now or in the near future, unless it can be proven that turbines have a direct impact on human health, nothing significant is likely to change.