Wolfe Island Wind Farms

By Bryan • canada, environment, Kingston, urban planning • 16 Nov 2008

As an Ontario newb, I generally have no idea what is going on in this province and this ignorance presents a rather large liability when studying a profession that is heavily weighted towards local examples.  Take for example an upcoming presentation I am giving on Ontario’s latest sexed up regional ‘smart-growth’ plan.  The region in question is the Greater Golden Horseshoe which is in the vicinity of the Greater Toronto Area…which includes the City of Toronto and many other municipalities.  For someone who has spent less than 24 hours in that part of Canada, getting a grasp on the political geography is rather daunting.  This area is home to many places I have heard of (Peterborough, Durham, Missasauga, York, Brampton etc…) but they remain places with which I have no spatial connection.  When a issue or critique is mentioned…say regarding a proposed transit line linking Markam, say with Oshawa…or whatever…with the critique being that it is a really, really dumb idea – I have no idea what is being discussed because to me the two locations might as well be the same location.

In some ways I feel like the old Colonial masters locked away in their drawing rooms carving up Africa and Asia without any clear understanding of the actual physical geographical reality.

The bright side to this spatial confusion is that it forces one to actually try to learn the geo-relations of all of these municipalities…even if it does involve old-school geography memorizing.

This absence of local knowledge also permeates to the Kingston level.  Take for example the Wolfe Island Wind Farm, which is apparently a very controversial project despite the fact that construction is well underway. I had no idea about this development until I noticed these massive wind towers and associated high-rise cranes popping up on the Wolfe Island horizon.

* For those of you who also suffer from local-lingo voids, Wolfe Island is an rural island in Lake Ontario just south of Kington.

I should probably start reading the local paper.

The controversy seems to be your fairly typical wind farm “the world is ending if you build these here” opposition.

Speaking of NIMBYism’, I picked up a new acronym a few weeks ago that still has me chucking

BANANA – Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything (or Anyone).

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3 Responses

  1. Don’t feel bad about your lack of idea of what is going on in Ontario. I have lived here for all of my 65 years and thanks to you I have found out about Wolfe Island Wind Project.

    There is another controversy with a wind farm near Feversham, Ontario. Why are people so upset about a clean renewable source of power? Is it not in backyard syndrome?

  2. Granpa

    start downloading kids, i have a bunch of toys for you this christmas

  3. Hi Andy – thanks for posting!

    I just have a layman’s understanding of the Wolfe Island Project but I imagine it to be a classic NIMBY example – unlike many other wind farm proposals I’ve read about, the Island seems quite divided over the development, with many in support, but many in opposition.

    I find it hard to form ideas about wind power development because the physical impacts and benefits don’t effect me direcly, as I don’t live there – but I am partial to construction because reality dictates a need for energy…greener is better and wind is only generated in the required amounts in certain areas.

    I suspect what you might see in the future among property/home buyers (at least with me – although I won’t be purchasing real estate for many, many years) is consideration of potential wind projects before purchasing property. If you don’t like these things and the potential for some being constructed where you live is high, then don’t buy.

    I don’t know what the housing situation is like where you are, but there seem to be high numbers of rural properties for sale around Kingston – I think the population is aging rapidly in these areas and there could be a large democraphic swap in the future – or the places might just depopulate – just pure speculation on my part though.

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