Friday, December 26, 2008


Congratulations!  Your community has been chosen to be the recipient of a vast number of wind turbines!  What can you expect to happen?

Number one.  Don't expect to have any say in the matter if you are not on the side of those who want to turn your community into an industrial electricity-producing wind farm.  The people who want the turbines will collect free money for renting their property to the turbine  company, in our case CREC or Canadian Renewable Energy Corporation.  If you protest too much, you may be arrested or you may merely get a cease and desist order.  Don't use the environment as an excuse, dead wildlife is considered collateral damage.

Number two. Divide and conquer.  It's a war tactic that has worked for centuries and still does. Your neighbourhood will split like an overcooked frankfurter. Families will turn against one another, friends will be at each others throats.  The turbine company loves when this happens.

Number Three.  You will be lied to.  They will hire sweet talkers who will tell you what you want to hear, but when it comes right down to it, they will do as they please.

Number Four.  You will not be able to get gravel for your home improvement projects.  Entities like gravel will be contracted out to the turbine company and no one else will be able to access certain raw materials.

Number Five.  Your town will be inundated with workers.  Your town will be like Times Square on New Year's Eve, and people will benefit from this. These people will need somewhere to stay. People with restaurants, bed and breakfasts, rooms to rent, empty cottages, trailers, will all think they have died and gone to heaven.  

Number Six. These people will be driving large equipment.  Very large equipment that will tear up your roads, stir up dust and dirt, and create potholes the size of a 1951 Mercury.  

Number Seven.  They will fix your roads.  Someday.  Not today, not tomorrow, but when ever this expensive, gigantic project is finished.  Whenever that will be.

Number Eight.  You will lose some of your friends because they will move.Oh sure, you say you'll keep in touch but you won't.  But maybe your friend was wise to get out when s/he did, because what are your property values going to be like when this is all over?

Number Nine.  The Oops factor.  Oops, we accidently spilled a whole bunch of diesel in your water.  Ooops, we didn't mean to cut down quite so many trees.  Oops, we didn't mean to (fill in the blank).  Because there's a lot of Oops factors that you'll never find out.  Isn't Oops a great word!

Number Ten. Don't expect to get a deal on your electricity bill.  If your council is as bright and foresightful as ours is, you will get nothing personally out of the deal.  Sure there will be tax money, but they'll use that on the roads, and sure the landowners will make out like bandits, but they'll all be wintering in Florida.  Never mind that you are doomed to forever look at gigantic turbines every time you look out the window, or that you went through two sets of tires because of the massive pot holes you are forced to drive through every day.  You will still pay premium prices for electricity unless someone makes a deal to keep one of the windmills for the exclusive use of your community.

Once again, congratulations.  Now that you know a few things to expect, (there are many many others) you can make the right choice--do I pack up the family and go now while the going is good, or do I wait and see the community I once loved turned into an electrical plant.


As of today, there are 21 windmills on Wolfe Island--a mere 65 to go.  They are interesting creatures, they standout in the sunshine as light bounces off the blades, but on a cloudy day, they disappear into the mist, appearing invisible to those who do not know they are there.  Because I go to work when it is still dark and return home in the dark, I have not had to look at them.

But a few days ago, I was returning home in the daylight, and forced myself to look towards the windfarm.  Twenty-one turbines overpowering the horizon, I was a bit overwhelmed.  And yet none of the other commuters mentioned them.  It was like looking at someone's dirty laundry--we all know it's there, but it's to embarassing to talk about. No one commented or even acknowledged the existence of these behemoths. They glanced at them, then looked away.  

There are many who stand up for the building of the windfarm. The mayor of Frontenac Islands is one of them.  He wrote a letter to the editor of the local newspaper stating that almost everyone is on board with the project,  discounting anyone who has an opinion to the contrary.  It shows how out of  touch he is with his constituents, he does not mingle with those who disagree with him. Hopefully this arrogance will prevent him from becoming mayor for another term. I know I won't vote for him! 

But no matter who is mayor or who isn't mayor, and no matter who is on the side of green energy and who is on the side of greed energy, the fact remains that the windmills are here to stay, at least for the next twenty years according to the binding legal contract. How are the two sides going to reconcile their differences?  Will neighbours ever again acknowledge one another?  Will the feelings of anger and hatred ever go away?  

Many of us are concerned about our health, our property values, and the survival of the island as a community and not just an industrial park.  But unfortunately, no one can predict the future.  We will continue to stick up for our beliefs, and question those who think they can take advantage of those less gifted than themselves.  And remember, those who do not standup for their convictions, have no convictions.

Friday, November 7, 2008


I was very distressed the other night after our windmill meeting.  Unlike the other liaison meetings of past months. it seemed that there was an inordinate number of windmill supporters in the  house.  "How can that be", I thought to myself, "when I know some of them are too lazy to leave their homes".  My first clue was seeing the chairs stacked in neat rows as if someone was expecting a crowd.  Previously we grabbed our own chairs and set them about in random order.  And on prior occasions, I was one of the first people there, and this time, the hall was almost full even though there was twenty minutes to go until the meeting started.  It was as if they were giving away free beer.
When instead of the concerns that we usually deal with, people started giving props to the corporation that started it all, and I knew something was amiss when they all started clapping their hands for the turbine that was erected that day.
Today, I discovered that the secretary or glorified secretary that works for CREC, took it upon herself, and, company slave that she is, phoned as many supporters of the turbine construction project that she could before breaking a nail.  I guess I consider that stacking that deck. 
What it has probably done, is to alienate even more people on the island and further the toxicity of the social environment.  Way to go Trudy!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


It's up.  Number 19, the first in a series of 86 turbines on Wolfe Island was erected today.  It is 16 days behind schedule, thanks to the winds we've had in the past two weeks--the winds that I pray for each night just to screw up the project.  
The towering monolith is between 5th and 4th Line Road, and although it isn't as close to the road as it could be, it still towers above all.  And for those with an interest in all things mechanical, it is rather fascinating, but for those with concerns about health and the environment, it represents much, much more.  I am curious to investigate the health issues of islanders before, during and after the construction.  Certainly the construction process has taken its toll on the health of those closest to the current sites.  I wonder if people whose eyes have been burning lately realize it is probably because of aggregate dust.  Or those who have a persistent cough or lung congestion; have they linked it to the air they breathe or do they mistakenly believe it is a lingering fall cold?
In our small community, many people are afraid to admit they have concerns about the turbines, afraid it will cause social problems with their friends and neighbors.  They are afraid of creating "Toxic Neighbors".  So they keep quiet, they put up, and they don't attend or speak out at meetings where they might be in the minority.  They let others take the brunt of being troublemakers and radicals, or people who just want to cause trouble.  It's frustrating, and I've been to such a meeting tonight.
It has made me realize that so many people are uneducated, ignorant, close-minded, and just plain mean.  They fail to see, or are unable to see the big picture, thinking only of themselves and the $7,500 per year they will receive for prostituting their land.  I have lost a lot of respect for some of my fellow islanders tonight, and I bloody well despise some of the other ones.  Do they feel the same way about me?  Maybe, but I don't care, because that's how toxic neighborhoods work.
There is a Toyota commercial that sums up the way I feel about the environment, and frankly I don't understand why others are unable to see it this way too:
"The best way to have an impact on the environment is to have no impact at all".

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Matter of Days

It is only a matter of a few days before the first 
windmill will be completely up on Wolfe Island.  
Yesterday, I observed one third of the first turbine 
between Third and Fourth Line Roads on Baseline. 
Today another section was added. Unless it is 
smote by a higher power or hit by lightning, it looks 
like it's finally happening. I feel helpless that I can't 
do anything about it, and I feel angry that it things are
going as planned. Well, more or less anyway.
The Island is at the mercy of a bunch of overpaid 
wind experts. They have monitored the winds in test 
zones,they have carefully calculated the placement of 
each and every turbine so that it works at its maximum
potential (okay, maybe just a couple of them), and they
have hired the best experts in the field of wind energy.
Here I could make a bunch of jokes and comments
about wind experts, but I won't. You have to supply your own.
So. Wind experts. Experts on wind. They know wind.  
They get paid big bucks--big government bucks--to harness
the wind. So I wish one of them would tell me, who forgot
to factor in the velocity of the wind on the river. That
very same river that Gordon Lightfoot sings about in
"The Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald"! The barge
on which the wind experts are bringing their trucks,
their cranes, their apprentice wind experts, cannot
cross the water to the Island when the winds exceed
20 kilometres per hour! Actually, they have modified
this so that it the barge may actually take on 25kph. The
forecast for tomorrow has winds gusting at 55 kph!
This little bit of irony pleases me. Obviously, ignoring
the power of the wind on the water is an expensive 
mistake on their part, and that pleases me too. And
they don't realize that November brings gales that can
make even the saltiest sailor lose his breakfast. And
lunch for that matter. But what displeases me and the
other people who ride the ferry each day twice a day
to get back and forth to work is that when the winds are
too much for the wimpy barge, the trucks, transports and
traffic from the turbine project take the ferry.
It concerns me that such monstrous vehicles will 
hasten the normal wear and tear on the Wolfe Islander,
and create a potentially dangerous situation for those
who rely on the ferry for their livelihood.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


So, in the endeavor to green up the world, on October 1, 2008, one of the workers on the turbine project inadvertently polluted the St. Lawrence River a little more than it was before.  The worker, now an ex-worker, a scapegoat no doubt, transferred an amount of diesel oil from one barge to another, except he sort of poured it directly into the water instead of into the other boat.  I heard of this on my way home, and immediately went out and took pictures before the goons caught on and blocked my way.  I was met by a delightful young man named  Ben, an engineer hired, no doubt, for his abilities to schmooze and downplay serious environmental mistakes.  Fortunately, I have become immune to the kind of charm these people exude.  He explained it was just a small spill--nothing to be concerned about, and it had probably already evaporated into the air. (The AIR, Ben, that's the stuff we breathe..) He said it was harmless to wildlife and other living things, and as he spoke, I played the dumb girl, a part I have perfected over the years, and snapped the pictures included here.

Later that evening, there was a meeting with representatives from four government agencies and the some mid-level management types from the windmill project.  We were told that only 1,500 liters were spilled into the water.  I figure that if they admit to 1,500, it was probably closer to 3,000 liters. And to appease the residents of Hell Island, sorry..Wolfe Island, they told us they got rid of the fellow that made the 'mistake'.  Let's hope they only fired him and he's not in the bottom of one of the windmill holes!

Should you be strolling along the St. Lawrence River in the vicinity of Wolfe Island and come across some dead things, like fish, ducks, geese, otters, and whatever, feel free to call Steve from the Ministry of the Environment.  His work number is 1-416-739-5908, and his cell is 1-416-579-5476.

Imagine This Every Day

No matter how much I speak about the horrors of the construction of the turbines, it still remains true that a picture is worth 1,000 words.  So if that's the case, a video must be worth millions.  This video was made by a friend of mine who is also a filmmaker.  She and her husband are at Ground Zero of the turbine construction.  Despite being two of the healthiest people I know, they are experiencing serious health problems which can only be attributed to aggregate dust, diesel fumes, and whatever other byproducts of so-called "green energy" are polluting the air.
Here is the link to the Youtube video:
If this doesn't work, just Google wolfeislandfamily

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Wind turbines.  Green energy or red herring?  Communities across the nation are being deceived by large corporations into agreeing to host windmill farms, thinking they are doing their part for the environment and the future.  The only future they are safeguarding is the financial future of the multi-million dollar companies who manage to sweet talk the little guy into long time leases.
The community of Wolfe Island, the largest of the Thousand Islands on the St. Lawrence River between New York State and Ontario is one such story.
Wolfe Island has a population of 1500 or so full time residents who live on the island and commute via ferry to nearby cities,  most commonly, Kingston, ON. The population doubles in the summer time, as cottagers and tourists take advantage of the fishing, bird-watching, and the unobtrusive serenity of nature. Well, at least it used to be like that.  These days the island is more reminiscent of a war zone--loud, monstrous vehicles, clouds of dust and debris, and explosions that rattle the bones of the long dead in the island's cemeteries.
What is it about nature that makes people feel they must destroy it?  A wind farm is not a gentle, quiet endeavor.  It is a loud and destructive process that will alter the environment forever. Trees must be cut, limestone must be blasted from the land where it has settled for millions of years, meadows must be torn asunder to allow for roads that will accommodate the colossal machinery needed to destroy the soul of the island.
After it is all done, the profile of the island will be dominated by 10 storey monoliths that look like leftover props from some long forgotten Orson Welles film. The land will have been raped by industrialists.  The soothing song of nature will be replaced by a constant barrage of white noise.
Joni MItchell sang the song, They Paved Paradise They Put up a Parking Lot many years ago. Little did I know then, that it would become an eerie refrain that floats through my mind like a funeral durge.