CTV Southwestern Ontario
Date: Monday Aug. 8, 2011 6:07 PM ET
While Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty toured the new Siemens Canada plant Monday, residents from some rural communities say no one is listening to their concerns about wind energy.
The plant is scheduled to start producing wind turbine blades by spring of 2012 and will bring about 300 jobs to the town.
Touring the facility Monday, McGuinty praised the benefits of the technology, which he says will help make Ontario a green energy leader.
“We have come a long way together since the advent of the Green Energy Act here in Ontario, which put us at the forefront in North America. We have gone from 10 wind turbines to over 900.”
A small group of protesters who stood outside the plant say while they are in favour of green energy, they have serious concerns about the possible health issues associated with wind turbine technology.
Protester Stefana Johnston says “I don’t get into a deep sleep, I am constantly just on the verge of waking up. Anything will awaken me.”
But McGuinty argues the province has some of the most aggressive standards when it comes to the placement of wind turbines.
“Our chief medical officer of health for Ontario tells us that wind turbines and solar panels do not compromise our health,” he says.
Nonetheless the debate over the health impact of wind turbines is likely to continue, and could even become an election issue.
The West & East Perth Against Wind Turbines group is holding a meeting Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. at the Sebringville Community Centre to share their views.
Group member Tom Melady says there are many people in rural Ontario who want a different energy plan.
“What wind turbines is doing to rural communities is destroying them,” he says. “We are coming up to the election and it seems that politicians understand the vote and that is what we’re working towards.”
McGuinty was also quick to criticize the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party’s stance on energy, saying they will hinder the progress the Liberals have made to make Ontario a green energy leader.