Editor: Just wait until the wind farm is built. Then the real problems begin.
There is nothing green about the wind industry unless you count the cash. If anyone else tried to destroy the land and and flyways the greens would be having a fit.
When Dawn and Dean Wallace moved to Wolfe Island 17 years ago, they fell in love with the peaceful, slow pace of life in the rural community.
It quickly became home and they planned to retire on the island.
That has all changed. The couple feels that construction of one of Canada’s largest wind-power projects has forced them out of the community and they’re in the process of moving off the island into a home they’ve bought northwest of Kingston in Camden East.
“It’s ironic that the very thing that’s supposed to be green has had such a negative impact on us,” said Dawn Wallace.
“It’s a green project without a green process.”
The couple lived at the corner of Baseline Road and 5th Line – at the heart of the construction zone – where dozens of trucks moved past their house daily on their way to and from a quarry that supplied stone to build the access roads and cement foundations for the wind turbines.
As a result, the Wallaces spent this past summer wearing earplugs and avoided spending time at home.
The noise and dust from dozens of trucks and heavy pieces of equipment moving past their property, at times starting as early as 4 a. m., made life almost unbearable.
They didn’t even cut their lawn until Thanksgiving weekend because of the dust.
“I have one word for it: hell,” said Wallace, a high school teacher.
The couple has documented the dust and noise by posting video footage on YouTube, which is available by searching the online site using the keywords Wolfe Island wind.
To get some relief from the noise and dust, they called the Township of Frontenac Islands, the Ministry of the Environment and the company building the wind plant, Canadian Hydro Developers Inc.
But the Wallaces say they got no relief. The trucks kept coming.
“It was very difficult to get help,” she said. “At the end of the day, it was unbearable and we got no support.”
That wasn’t completely a surprise for the Wallaces, who watched as tension grew in the community between those who supported the project and those who had concerns about the location of the wind turbines. Angry disagreements occurred at public meetings.
“[Opponents] had to endure such terrible, painful social pressures from certain members of the community for speaking out about certain aspects of the process,”Wallace said.
“What was once a community of solidarity that we contributed [to] and benefited from has become a community divided, which is very painful.”
It all became too much for the Wallaces, whose departure comes just as the project’s first turbines are being erected.
Mammoth and pre-eminent on the rural landscape, the 125-metre-high turbines are visible for miles along the western portion of the island. The giant machines tower high above what were once dormant farmers’ fields.
In the coming months, workers will be using giant cranes to erect a total of 86 turbines along the western side of the island. The project is anticipated to be up and running by April 1, 2009.
By Jennifer Pritchett
Whig-Standard Environmental Reporter
Proposed Wolfe Island Cement Factory 20m from Lake Ontario
link to construction phase
Wind turbine noise – Suncor wind farm Ripley