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.