Opponents, supporters argue over proposed wind project
There was a big turnout Monday night for a public meeting sponsored by Toronto Hydro to discuss a proposed wind research project off the Scarborough Bluffs.
The two-year study would cost about $1 million and be situated in Lake Ontario, off the eastern edge of the city.
Toronto Hydro wants to build what amounts to a weather station about two kilometres from shore.
The aim of the project would be to measure wind speeds and could eventually lead to an offshore wind farm of about 60 turbines spread across the lake.
Some local residents are worried about their view being spoiled. Others say property values will be affected, or that migratory birds will be put at risk by the giant windmills.
About 1,500 people filled the auditorium at Sir Wilfrid Laurier in Guildwood Village to hear about the project.
Proponents say the turbines would generate up to 200 megawatts and are needed to help Ontario increase its sources of renewable energy.
Monique Woolnough, 22, supports the idea and told the crowd it's time for "this project to happen. We have an opportunity here to do research, to start finally taking action."
But it was soon clear that there were lots of opponents to the wind farm idea, too.
Vy Hoang said the small-scale project would eventually lead to a large-scale wind farm.
"I need you [Toronto Hydro] to admit to the people of Scarborough — and the people of the surrounding area of Scarborough — that if you had your way, this would be your spot," said Hoang.
But Toronto Hydro's Joyce McLean wasn't quite ready to make that admission.
"Yes, we may propose a wind farm," she said. But, "we can't answer [where it will be] until we do the research."
Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources will study Toronto Hydro's plans and the public comments sometime in January.
If the plans are approved. construction of the research platform would begin sometime in early 2009.