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 Windmill Meeting @ Sir Wilfrid Laurier Collegiate Institute 
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Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2008 11:31 am
Posts: 1
Post Windmill Meeting @ Sir Wilfrid Laurier Collegiate Institute
Date: November 24, 2008
Location: Sir Wilfrid Laurier Collegiate Institute, Toronto (Scarborough), Canada
Advertised Time: 6:45 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.


Part of an environmental assessment for studying wind speed, in Lake Ontario.

Using existing funds, Toronto Hydro wants to place a machine, that will measure wind speed, about 2 km, south of Lake Ontario's northern shoreline.

The machine, roughly the size of a refrigerator, would be placed, on a new platform, that would hold that device, about 4 meters above the water's surface, for 2 years.

Results, from this machine, would support or dispute satilite data which showed that wind sufficient, for a wind farm, existed about 90 meters above water, 2 - 4 km, into Lake Ontario.

Toronto Hydro would make a decision, on whether or not to proceed with a wind farm, based on that plus other information.


Actually, Toronto Hydro's windmill dream is an old one.

Years ago, I attended my first 'windmill' meeting, at Metro Hall, and, shortly afterwords, was informed that the "project" had died.

Some Downtown locals were bitterly-opposed to having a windmill located, 'in their backyard'. They hijacked the meeting and wouldn't let anyone else speak or ask questions.

Their big arguments were:

i) A windmill would disrupt the path of migrating birds; and,
ii) Iced-up windmill blades would throw off chunks of ice, during winters, and, thereby, injure people.

Frankly, they were not convincing arguments; no proof of accuracy was offered plus forcing those positions down people's throats, by going ballistic and hijacking the meeting, didn't help.

Soon afterwords, however, the Mike Harris (Ontario) Government decided that Private Sector firms - not the Public Sector - should be exploring windmills. So, shortly after constructing the windmill, at the Pickering nuke plant, Ontario Hydro/Ontario Power Generation withdrew its interest and left Toronto Hydro '[i:abc8090238]standing, at the alter[/i:abc8090238]' (figuratively-speaking).

So, I was surprised to see the Scarborough Mirror newspaper advertising the November 24, 2008 meeting - despite hearing, in the early half of September 2008, that windmills were, again, being considered!

It was my impression, though, that, this time, Toronto Hydro might be partnering with a private consortium.

Following, I think, is useful background information. The excerpts, below, are from: [u:abc8090238]Wind Turbine Environmental Assessment[/u:abc8090238]; Vol. 1; screening document; April 2000; TREC and Toronto Hydro.

"In April 1999, TREC launched the TREC Wind Power Co-operative (WPC). The concept of this co-operative venture is that owners/members receive an energy rebate on their Toronto Hydro bills in return for purchasing an interest in the energy produced by the wind turbine. Toronto Hydro is now working in partnership with WPC on this initiative. The Toronto Hydro Board of Directors viewed this as an ideal initiative that would support their Green Energy Plan that identifies green power as an important component of Toronto Hydro's generation strategy." (p. 5)

"The wind resource of the Toronto region is dominated by the relatively energetic winds incident from the southwest sector. These winds quickly lose their energy as they penetrate inland. As a consequence, the best sites for wind energy generation will be found at or close to shorelines with good exposure to the southwest sector and, ideally, good exposure over low-roughness fetches in as many directions as possible. Strictly based on the wind resource alone, and not on other factors such as airport height restrictions, examples* of sites which meet these criteria are as follows...:

1. Leslie Street Spit
2. Southwest Toronto Island
3. Highland Creek Sewage Treatment Plant
4. East Point Park
5. Ontario Place
6. Colonel Same Smith Park
7. Western Beaches
8. Ashbridges Bay Park
9. Southwest Docklands
10. R.L. Clark Filtration Plant
11. Ashbridges Bay Sewage Treatment Plant
12. TEDCO Property at Unwin and Leslie"

* Please note that the above sites are listed in order of best potential wind resource." (Appendix A; "Siting Report"; p. 5).


The meeting was well-attended (probably over 1,200 people there).

The presentation started, at 7:00 p.m., in the school's auditorium. Every seat seemed filled and many people were left standing or sitting, in the aisles The cafeteria was set up, as a "spill-over" room and it, too, had many people!

Global News, CTV, CFTR 680, CFRB, etc. were there.

Prompted by adults, children carried a banner which read: "It's Our Future!"

I was frequently reminded that Democracy can get messy.

At times, it seemed like a circus!

From a proponent's point of view, however, the evening was probably a success, because the crowd seemed overwhelmingly in support of the proposed windmills.

Some organizations expressing support for the proposed windmills were the steel workers union, University of Toronto (which complained that grads had to go to Europe, for windmill-related jobs), The David Suzuki Foundation, and Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA).

The steel workers union's president said her members wanted the windmills, if built, to create local jobs. After one of the main hydro reps expressed support for that, the audience applauded.

Yet, the wind turbines, if used, will be imported from General Electric (GE), in New York State (Syracuse area). Apparently, GE owns or controls the related patent/licensing and, so, nobody else can build them (at least the ones being considered).

Ward 43 councilor, Paul Ainslie, though, said he opposed the project because he said he had to "protect tax dollars" - a rather hard position to figure, though, given that City Council (of which he was a member) had already "unanimously" approved pursuing such technology.

Ward 44's councilor, Ron Moeser, had also suggested his opposition (Another flip flop!)

From a community point of view, though, the meeting appeared to fail, because there were too many 'outsiders' and they took over the meeting and this didn't give many others opportunity to speak. When the announcement was made that people could get up to one of the two microphones to ask a question or make a comment, for instance, about 100+ immediately lined up, at each, and somebody in the audience yelled "hijacked!" People complained about the 'outsiders'.

Many were bussed-in, from Kennedy subway station. Yes. These so-called environmentalists arrived in a big yellow school bus which idled empty in front of the school, for over half an hour!

The couple, just one seat down from where I was sitting, came all the way, from Yonge & St. Clair. Another traveled to this event, from Oakville!

Apparently frustrated with the lack of opportunity, for locals, one president of a local rate payers association walked out of the meeting, shortly after 8:00 p.m.

I encountered another plus a well-known community worker, leaving, just after 8:30 p.m.

We all agreed that, given the interest, there should have been meetings, at other locations, across Toronto to handle the locals there.

The later president did, however, remark that claims made by people who opposed the windmills were ridiculous. One of those claims was that such windmills, if built, would blow down the Scarborough Bluffs.

Windmills were being considered, for the lake, south of Scarborough, partly because of a natural underwater geographical shelf on which such windmills could stand. A similar shelf did not also exist along the west end of Toronto's shoreline.

TEA's support probably indicates which way Toronto's municipal government, which owns Toronto Hydro, will vote, because TEA, which has close ties to the NDP crowd, at City Hall, strives not to oppose the Mayor - even when it thinks that he is wrong.

In the past, TEA has expressed fear that such opposition would result in City Hall cutting-off TEA's funding.

By 11:00 p.m., Global News reported that the meeting was still underway.

- j

[Copyright © by Dirty Dangerous & Deadly Productions Limited, 2008.]

Tue Nov 25, 2008 12:52 pm
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