For immediate release:
April 28, 2010
Mr. Toby Barrett: Good afternoon, everyone. I want to say at the outset that I support the motion to provide some answers not only with respect to health impacts, but I also support the direction to lift the green energy gag order on municipal councils, councils that aren't able to be part of what's going on in their own backyards.
There's no mandate for municipalities to listen to people. This government is not listening to people. In fact, they've already indicated that they're not going to let this motion pass.
When it comes to the health impacts, both sides of the debate can produce studies to support their claims, but that said, I have received a deluge of disturbing reports of the effects down in my riding of Haldimand-Norfolk. We have hundreds of wind turbines along Lake Erie. I spoke with two constituents just this morning who again explained to me the symptoms that they attribute to turbine sickness.
One resident is here today, a former Green Party candidate, a former wind supporter, who is now depleting her resources to rent an apartment in town because she cannot remain in her home and get a decent night's sleep.
Given the reported plans locally for another 200 wind turbines in Haldimand and Norfolk-we all know about Samsung and their plans to set up adjacent to Lake Erie-I suspect I will be hearing more input. I'm told the Samsung development will be the largest of its kind in all of North America. That impact on my riding deserves input from municipal councillors. It was a mistake to take away those oversight powers. In one fell swoop, the legislation removed all rights from my constituents and their locally elected representatives.
We all know that the impact is on rural areas, as with my area, not so much the urban areas, other than-and I've met a number of people from Scarborough this morning as well. Again, the Scarborough Bluffs development requires study, as with the Leamington developments that would be placed on crown-owned land under the waters of, first, Lake Ontario and also Lake Erie.
I should add that these democratic powers should be restored. Representatives should have a chance to hear these personal accounts first-hand. I will indicate that down my way, Long Point is on a major bird migration route. I am now hearing from duck hunters concerned about the flyways from the Prairies, Long Point across Lake Erie to the United States. We've had one very recent avian casualty, an eagle-a so-called careless eagle wiped out by a turbine. Again, we don't know the impact on flight paths. We need more study. We need a moratorium.
I recently received a call from Pennsylvania state representative John Hornaman with respect to a bill he's putting forward with respect to large turbines on the United States side of Lake Erie. This would be the Erie ridge, the Clear Creek ridge-shallow land under the lake. They are bringing in legislation. Ontario already has to permit the lease of the land under the water. Again, what impact will this have? Or perhaps this is a positive.
Just to wrap up, we know the interest is there. I get the phone calls and the emails. There has to be a better structure in place for decision-making.
I will mention as well for anyone present: Please contact my office. Every year or so I host a symposium on energy and our environment. I will be hosting another one down in Jarvis this fall.