On March 27, 2008, a Director with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment gave the green light to the Wolfe Island Wind Project. The Canadian Renewable Energy Corporation plans to build 86 wind turbines on Wolfe Island, near Kingston, Ontario.
While there is almost universal support for wind power within the community, the specific locations of a small number of the turbines have fueled significant controversy. A number of residents and volunteer organizations, including Waterkeeper, presented expert opinion on the "siting" issue over the last year. Collectively, we have offered alternative solutions and offered to attend mediation with the proponent in order to allow the wind power project to proceed while still protecting critical habitat.
Wolfe Island is one of the most precious natural areas on the Great Lakes. It sits at the end of Lake Ontario and the beginning of the St. Lawrence River. It faces Canada to the north and the United States to the south. Wolfe Island's unique location makes it an important area for migratory birds. It is also home to some of the last naturally productive fish habitat on Lake Ontario. The recent State of the Great Lakes: 2007 report notes that Lake Ontario has the worst coastal wetland health on the Great Lakes. The incredible loss of habitat elsewhere on the lakes makes Wolfe Island especially vital to the future health of these shared waterways.
Research by a number of independent experts suggests that better siting of the windmills would help to protect rare raptors and grassland birds. They also suggested turbine shut-down in the event of impacts on birds or bats. The Corporation, in its management plan, indicated that it was not willing to shutdown any of its turbines, even in the case of environmental impacts.
Listen to Living at the Barricades.