Friday, July 23, 2010

Orillia Packet & Times letter

Letter to the editor [Orillia Packet & Times]:
re: David Hawke’s article – NIMBY crew hijacks solar power meeting

The bottom line is that solar panels do not belong on farmland. Landowners who buy into the large scale projects that our government is proposing are essentially saying "I surrender". Our government has encouraged and promoted large scale corporate farming in the name of corporate greed. They have made it very difficult for the small local farms to survive. So it isn't any wonder that farmers are struggling. But I am here to say Please, don't give up. We need our local farms for our children's future. Less than 15 % of Ontario is farmland and we will need all of our farmland in tact to feed the world's growing population. People say to me, you have to look at the bigger picture, and they are right. Our Prime Minister is currently negotiating a $16 Trillion deal called the Comprehensive Economic and Free Trade Agreement with the European Union. This deal specifically targets Ontario's Renewable Energy market. If this deal goes through there is no limit to the amount of farmland that may be used up for solar energy. The Ontario Government's Green Energy Act has been put in place to override the people's input. The Green Energy Act has removed our right to oppose these projects at the municipal level. This is unacceptable and unconstitutional. There are many alternatives for solar energy. The representative from Recurrent Energy (Robert Leah) has admitted that he does not know why our government is not installing solar panels on the thousands of acres of already cleared land under existing hydro towers. Small scale microfit solar projects of 10 kw or less are good. They provide solar energy within local communities, and each community can decide if the location and the benefits of the project suit their specific needs.

Corporations are running our government and the underlying message our government is sending farmers is to give up. Farming is a way of life that carries more meaning than any amount of money. It is a disappearing culture. Our consumer society is driving us away from being citizens and toward being fulltime consumers. A process that makes the rich get richer and the poor become poorer. We are going about our day to day business with a false belief that consumerism and money will bring us happiness. We need to fight for the preservation of not only Ontario's farmland but also our children's way of life. It is our children's, and our grandchildren's right to enjoy the connection with the land that their parent's enjoyed. People ask me, " but how can I make a difference? I am just one person." And I am here to say "We can all make a difference. All we need to do is leave our living rooms and tv sets , and walk out the door and attend meetings for AWARE Simcoe. The next meeting is Saturday July 24th at 10am at the Coldwater Community Centre. Aware Simcoe is here to help unite us all, so we can work together to support each other and make a difference. So please attend our meetings and voice your concerns. There is strength in numbers. Together we can send a message to our government that makes them accountable and transparent. We can let them know we are watching, and that they are working for us and our children's best interests. As children of the planet we have a responsibility to take care of it. We can start by defending our own backyards. Together, all of our backyards make up the planet. We must all have a voice for an environmentally and socially just society.

Cindy Hillard, Coldwater

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Support from Garfield Dunlop, MPP Simcoe North

To whom it may concern:

Thank you for the opportunity to offer my opinion on the installation of large-scale and large acreage solar projects on agricultural lands.

To begin with let me make it clear that I do not oppose solar energy and believe there is abundant space available on rooftops and non productive lands such as former landfills and quarries.

I am also adamantly opposed to the system which allows secret deals being made between the landowner and solar farm proponents without the municipal approval process. No other industry or individual has the opportunity to completely change the use of lands without municipal zoning and official plan amendments- where the public has the chance to voice their concerns. Large scale solar farms are in fact an industrial use of the property.

Finally, I think that solar panels on rooftops and small scale and acreage (1 or 2 acres) should be allowed providing the municipalities approve. Large scale projects on productive agricultural lands should not be permitted as I pointed out in the Committee hearings and in the legislature on the Green Energy Act.

Thanks Garfield.

Garfield Dunlop MPP Simcoe North

Comment from Judith Cox, Deputy Mayor of Severn Township

July 14, 2010

I am opposed to solar panel farm installations on Classes 1, 2, 3, and 4 farmland in Ontario

There is such a small quantity of good productive farmland available to grow food in Ontario and farmers only have access to 13% of this private land for producing crops and raising animals. These panels can block the sun and bake the earth under them. They disrupt carbon and nitrogen fixing and create a home for noxious weeds. We need to have plants growing in the fields to enhance the productivity of the soil. We need the plants to remove the carbon from the atmosphere, which reduces greenhouse gases.

I believe that solar generation is a good thing. There are 825 million square feet of corporation roofs in the GTA alone. These would be the appropriate homes for solar panels. Farms are essential to all of us and are the roots and future of this country. Farmers work hard to produce crops and supply us with food. Productive farmland needs to be saved for future generations.

The government needs to be supporting the farmers to keep working on these lands and keep the panels in urban areas.

Judith Cox
Deputy Mayor of Severn Township

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Reply from Noel

Hi Bernard,

Thanks very much, I appreciate it. To confirm, Recurrent Energy is currently proposing 19 projects in Ontario (10 in Simcoe County, six in eastern Ontario and three in southwestern Ontario), as identified at

A total of 184 Feed-in Tariff (FIT) contracts were awarded in April 2010 to large scale renewable energy projects in Ontario, including 76 ground-mounted solar projects. Information on those contracts and the FIT program can be found at

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions regarding these projects.

Best regards,

Monday, July 5, 2010

Note to Noel

Good Afternoon Noel;

At a recent meeting, you made a point of correcting me on the number of solar farm proposals that I had indicated Recurrent Energy had proposed in Ontario.
I told you then and I repeat here, that if I had forwarded incorrect information, or if there was incorrect information on our website, I apologize and upon correction from you, I will remove those numbers from the website and publish the accurate information.

I pledge to only place on the website, the true facts as well as information for your readers.

Once again Noel, thanks for the criticism.