Sadness for green energy supporters as dismantling begins on turbine project


Cranes with workers from Nova Scotia and Newfoundland get started on the dismantling of one of the completed turbines involved in the WPD White Pines wind project Tuesday morning in Milford. PHOTO: BROCK ORMOND/INQUINTE.CA

Supporters of the WPD White Pines wind turbine project are trying to keep a positive mindset despite the start of decomissioning Tuesday morning on Royal Road in Milford.

Around 50 people held a peaceful demonstration in front of one of the nine turbines erected in South Marysburgh and Athol wards in Prince Edward County as cranes rolled in to start the dismantling of four-completed and five-partially-completed turbines.

Local resident and green energy supporter Jen Ackerman said while the group assembled was a little smaller than she’d hoped, they were still strong in getting across an important message “loud and clear” of being mindful of children’s future.

Ackerman, who has a 14-year old son, said the planet is there to inherit for younger people, children and teens in particular, and the provincial government’s choice to order the deconstruction of these turbines worries her as a mother.

“(My son) is going to be basically carrying this load. It’s not his fault and he’s the one who’s going to suffer,” she said.

“I think that’s totally selfish of adults that are supposed to be responsible for their constituents and what’s best for them, that they would do this to kids like him. They’re basically putting the nail in the coffin for the planet.”

Ackerman added she believes there will be no other choice for the future provincial government to go to renewable energy once there’s no more fossil fuels and nuclear energy left to burn, which means there’s hope still visible for green energy supporters.

Image result for ontario wind farm
Bruce Peninsula

“In other parts of Canada, they’re building wind farms. In other parts of Ontario, they’re building wind farms. I really do feel that one day, once we get rid of the politicians that we have now, of course there will be wind.”

Ackerman has one turbine on her property and an access road which leads to two more, which means she has a financial stake in the project.

However, she reiterated that her concerns are strictly environmental and that she and other supporters weren’t trying to shame people who are against green energy.

“We want to see green energy. be a contributor to the right solutions and see us go forward,” Ackerman explained.

Image result for blanding's turtle“People who are against it, they have their own reasons, but we can’t understand them. If you look around, there’s no Blanding’s Turtles here, there never has been and never will be and I’ve never seen birds fly over the turbines. All of the things that (the provincial government) has been saying and the things they’ve used against us has been proven untrue.”

Many groups joined the province in opposing the turbines, including the Prince Edward County municipal government, and the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC).

Green energy supporter Bill White said he feels that the current government was “totally insensitive” to climate change and hopes that the next one will be more in tune to the growing issue.

“It’s accepted right across Canada, that everybody is getting on board with the seriousness of climate change. The change in the last year (among the population) has been tremendous.”

White adds that when the government and local objectors to the turbine project came together to cancel it last year, climate change was not part of the discussions, but now more information and awareness is coming out about it.

“If that effort started now, it would be a different result.”

The first phase of the project involves a crane arriving on-site and lowering the towers to the ground, and the county says the road users agreement it has with the company remains in effect.

The work is expected to continue for several weeks until the end of January.

The second phase of the decommissioning, which is expected to begin in April 2020, consists of removing and remediating infrastructure installed for the project.

The turbines can take about three years to be taken down, according to Ackerman and the cost of the deconstruction work is about $100 million.

When asked for a municipal point of view on the subject on Monday, Prince Edward County Mayor Steve Ferguson said council and the municipality can only go as far as ensuring that the County’s road use agreement with WPD remains in force.

Ferguson explained the County is taking steps to help make the environment better that doesn’t require wind turbines, including installing solar panels and re-establishing the Environmental Advisory Committee, in the midst of a climate emergency.

“We’re certainly cognizant of the things we have to do to minimize the impact on the environment municipally,” he said. “We’ve also been trying to minimize single-use plastics around Shire Hall. We’re very concious of it, but wind turbines are not going to be part of that equation, because of the impact they have on the environment and the natural habitat that they interfere with.”

To read past stories on the climate crisis and the White Pines project, click herehere and here.

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Ferguson explained the County is taking steps to help make the environment better that doesn’t require wind turbines, including installing solar panels and re-establishing the Environmental Advisory Committee, in the midst of a climate emergency.

“We’re certainly cognizant of the things we have to do to minimize the impact on the environment municipally,” he said. “We’ve also been trying to minimize single-use plastics around Shire Hall. We’re very concious of it, but wind turbines are not going to be part of that equation, because of the impact they have on the environment and the natural habitat that they interfere with.”

To read past stories on the climate crisis and the White Pines project, click herehere and here.

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