It’s impossible to tell how many people were a rally in Drayton on Nov. 30 protesting wind turbines, but the arena hall holds more than 400 people and many were asked to wait their turn so the meeting hall didn’t exceed the fire limit.
The group, calling themselves Stop Mapleton Wind Farms (SMWF), organized the rally and invited groups fighting their own battles in their areas. One group was present from Belwood, another from Kincardine.
In fact, there were protestors from all over Ontario, according to coordinator Bill Kabbes.
Kabbes welcomed everyone to what he called NextEra’s “Going Away Party,” and thanked those who drove a long distance for attending.
He said residents will not be pushed around by the provincial Liberal government and the Green Energy Act, which he said has pitted neighbour against neighbour.
The rally was designed, he said, is to send a message to the Liberals and NextEra Energy – telling the Liberals the residents will remember this when the next election comes around and telling NextEra to go home.
He asked everyone present to remain professional, noting the rally signs could not be taken into the information meeting that NextEra was hosting inside the arena from five until eight o’clock that evening.
Jim Curry, a councillor in Mapleton Township, said he had only a few words to say as a councillor but many as a community member.
As a member of council, he welcomed everyone to the rally and said that Mapleton passed a resolution in 2009 asking for a moratorium on wind farms until independent health studies could be completed.
He said he has lived in the area for 30 years, and in his personal view, while green energy is good in theory, it has to be clean and healthy.
Curry said the MOE failed to take into consideration the concerns of other countries about wind farms, and passed the Green Energy Act without much discussion or investigation.
He said energy created by wind farms is DC, and when converted to AC not all of the energy is converted properly, leaving harmonic issues that can affect people and animals.
He added that Hydro One is aware there are issues with the transmission of the wind farm created electricity.
Curry said he and his wife attended the Picton symposium on wind energy where he said they got a “real education.”
He said inaudible sound from the wind turbines will travel through walls, up to 3km, and the low frequency noise can cause depression and anxiety.
John Lafayette, with Wind Concerns Ontario, pointed out that local MPP John Wilkinson did not show up for the rally, even though he was invited several times.
Lafayette pointed out the wind farms are not safe, even under the government regulations.
Lori Gillis, a local landowner, thanked everyone for coming, and said that residents should not allow big companies to determine what happens in their communities.
She said there needs to be more health studies.
“We will not give up our health, our home, and our futures any more. We will not go away,” Gillis said.
John Krull, a member of SMWF, said he received a letter from Ted Arnott and one from John Wilkinson.
Arnott, was at Queen’s Park Tuesday, said he will monitor the situation, noting that he has been asking for more health studies on the issue.
Krull said he was not even going to bother reading the letter from Wilkinson. Many of the protesters cheered.
Stephana Johnson gave a short talk on living near wind turbines. There were many near her home and she said she was forced to move away because of health issues.