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

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