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Windmills get support from executive committee, despite resident concerns

Natalie Alcoba
April 19, 2010

A bid to ask the provincial government to halt any new wind farms failed to sway Toronto's executive committee today, which instead pledged "to promote and nurture" off shore windmills.

Members of the executive listened to several hours of impassioned appeals both for and against wind turbines, which have raised the ire of several Scarborough Bluffs residents opposed to a project that could see dozens installed in Lake Ontario.

Toronto Hydro is studying whether there is enough wind to warrant placing turbines about two kilometres off shore.

Scarborough councillors Paul Ainslie and Brian Ashton asked the committee to urge the provincial government to place a moratorium on any new industrial wind turbine agreements "until a comprehensive, public, science-based study of the adverse health effects now being reported by Ontarians can be evaluated and their potential harmful effects fully understood."

But some speakers said studies have drawn no conclusive connection between turbines and health issues.

John Laforet, president of Wind Concerns Ontario, insists no independent studies have been completed. "There's a lot of concerns about wind turbines, questions yet to be answered," said Councillor Ainslie. His motion was referred to another committee, which effectively kills it.

Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker, one of the loudest advocates of green energy production on council, said the fears people have "are simply wrong." He quoted Ontario Medical Officer of Health Dr. Arlene King, who said in October "there is no scientific evidence, to date, to demonstrate a causal association between wind turbine noise and adverse health effects.” The executive directors of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment and the Toronto Environmental Alliance also spoke in favour of windmills, citing the costly health risks of coal-fired plants to generate electricity.

"I'm not afraid of windmills," said Mr. De Baeremaeker. "I'm afraid of the amount of carbon that we're spewing into the air, because all of us just need to turn on the TV to find out what's happening as a result of climate change."

As published here: http://network.nationalpost.com/NP/blogs/toronto/archive/2010/04/19/windmills-get-support-from-executive-committee-despite-residents-concerns.aspx

Windmills get support from executive committee National Post April 19 2010.pdf64.56 KB