Bonnechere Valley Council receives letter from resident

January 15, 2009 at 1:14 pm Leave a comment

Compromise seems to be the order of the day on wind farm issue

Editor’s note: A few days ago, Lake Clear resident Nelda Markham sent the following letter to Mayor Zig Mintha and other members of Bonnechere ValleyTownship Council. Like many communities along the Opeongo Line, Bonnechere Valley is considering applications to erect a series of industrial wind turbine farms. Ms Markham gave Barry’s Bay This Week permission to publish the letter. 

Dear Mayor Mintha, 

As I have been watching the language and level of the windmill debate unfold, I have been increasingly concerned about the long lasting effects on this community. This debate is alienating not only siblings, but neighbours and friends as well. Rancorous comments such as “woman who went away, came back, telling us what to do makes me want to puke”—“has only lived here 20 years—has no right to an opinion”—“hippies smoking marijuana telling us what to do”—“cottage tree-huggers.” Are comments such as these really productive or conducive to building an inclusive society? 

Stereotypes are dangerous at the best of times, but we, as a community really need to look at the concerns of all taxpayers as equal voices. Perhaps some people need to understand that many, if not most of the 300 property owners on Lake Clear are just not weekend visitors but people who live on the lake year round, pay taxes year round and contribute to this community in many and various ways. Many of the property owners on Lake Clear live on generational property or have connections to the history and settlers of the Opeongo. They also value the history and hardship of this area. Their opinions of what they see as the future potential of this area should have an equal vote and place at the same table as the landowners who want wind turbines on their own property. Yes, anyone is entitled to do whatever they want with their own property as long as it doesn’t impact negatively on their neighbour’s property. That’s why we have bylaws preventing anyone from stockpiling junked cars on their front lawn etc. Just as one can’t let one’s cows relieve themselves in the creek that runs through a neighbour’s property, so do we need to really look at the impact of what one does on one’s neighbour. 

Just as maybe Kirkland Lake mine shafts weren’t the answer for Toronto’s garbage (despite the support of many in that town that supported the economic boom it would bring), perhaps the answer for Toronto’s energy woes are not in the Opeongo Hills. Perhaps industrial installations belong in heavy industrial areas where they are truly welcomed by all. 

I understand that the provincial government is very keen to “look green” and is moving full speed ahead on these projects, but as the public is becoming more and more aware of “greenwashing” they will harshly judge politicians who have not done due diligence on these projects and questions will be asked as to who is really profiting or losing from these ventures. History will judge these decisions made in haste. 

Compromise would seem to be the order of the day. Is there a lack of objectivity in the proponent-driven self-assessment process? Like taxpayers in other communities are asking – should we be subjecting our futures to a broken process? 

Nelda Markham 

Barry’s Bay This Week 

14 January 2009

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Killaloe Council speaks out on wind issue Bonnechere Valley council reverses wind power resolution

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