Thunder Bay

Horizon poll shows majority of residents want wind farm

Horizon Wind is releasing its latest survey of public opinion around its wind farm plans near Thunder Bay.

Thunder Bay survey shows opposition comes from those living closest to planned turbines

Survey results broken down by wards in Thunder Bay. Margin of error: +/- 10.8 per cent (Pollara)

Horizon Wind says its latest survey shows two thirds of Thunder Bay residents support wind turbines located just outside of the city.

The survey also shows opposition is coming from those who live closest to the proposed site, said Lucas Marshall a spokesperson with Pollara, the company that did the research.

"When it comes to land use issues, it's sometimes difficult to understand what real public opinion is when there are a lot of loud voices that might not represent the majority," Marshall said. "That was certainly the case in Thunder Bay."

Marshall noted concerns about the proposed wind farm are mainly unrelated to health or wildlife.

"It's really couched in terms of concern for location and proximity issues so, for lack of a better term, it's a NIMBY issue," he said.

Protected watershed

The spokesperson of the Norwest Escarpment Protection Committee said it only makes sense that the people closest to the wind farm have the most concerns, "unless you know of the project and take the time to learn."

Irene Bond said the people surveyed might not be familiar with the exact location of the proposed wind farm.

"So if you said that two thirds are in favour of the wind park outside of Thunder Bay, you've got to question, do they know exactly the location? How much do people know of the land, of the project itself, of the history of this area? This has been protected watershed for more than 100 years."

The Ministry of Environment is still studying Horizon Wind's renewable energy application that is required before the wind farm can go ahead.

Pollara surveyed more than a thousand people in the region in December.

The margin of error for the survey varies  from +/- 4 per cent 19 times out of 20 for some questions, to +/- 10.8 per cent 19 out of 20, for others.