500 people pack meeting to ask Toronto Hydro:
What about noise, lack of wind along shoreline?
Jan 21, 2009 04:30 AM
John Spears CITY HALL BUREAU
The winds of skepticism gusted through the auditorium of Sir Wilfrid Laurier Collegiate last night as about 500 Scarborough residents gathered to learn more about a proposed wind power development off Toronto's eastern shoreline.
Toronto Hydro is considering a plan to install up to 60 wind turbines in Lake Ontario, on a natural reef two to four kilometres offshore. The turbines would be sprinkled in a band as far west as Leslie St. and as far east as Ajax.
The turbines would produce 100 to 200 megawatts; one megawatt can power about 300 homes.
But many residents who attended the invitation-only meeting have concerns about how the windmills might affect their neighbourhood.
"I'm in favour of wind turbines in the right place," said Dennis Helm. But he is skeptical whether the proposed location makes sense.
Toronto Hydro Energy Services, who is sponsoring the project, says the proposed location is the cheapest place to install turbines because the water is shallow, Helm said. "If Queen's Park was the cheapest spot, would they put it in front of Queen's Park?" he asked.
His friend Allan Mawson was equally skeptical about whether the company will carry out a thorough evaluation of the project.
But Mawson is concerned about more than dollars and cents.
"Anybody who talks about aesthetics is almost scorned," he said.
"But this short stretch of shoreline is regarded as a place of natural beauty."
Critics have said wind surveys of Lake Ontario show the area off Scarborough isn't especially windy.
Joyce McLean of Toronto Hydro said numerous factors play into the decision of where to put wind farms.
Being close to consumers of the power is important, she said.
"The question is: is it a viable spot? That's why we want to proceed with the wind research," she said.
To find out whether there's enough wind, Toronto Hydro proposes installing a device on a single offshore platform to collect data for a year. (??)
The provincial government must grant permission to install the device; if it's granted it would likely be installed this summer.
But many residents remain skeptical.
Arlene Hamilton said she's worried turbulence caused by turbine blades might change the rate at which the Scarborough bluffs erode.
Jack Simpson of Toronto Hydro said the current study concerns only the small wind measurement device that Toronto Hydro wants to place in the lake.
Studying the effects of a large group of windmills on the bluffs would be the subject of a separate environmental assessment ???later if it's found there's enough wind to proceed with such a project, he said.
source: The Toronto Star
Jan 21, 2009 04:30 AM