Ont. town approves 148-turbine wind farm

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A southwestern Ontario town council has approved a controversial proposal for what would be one of Canada’s largest wind farm.

More than 100 farmers and homeowners packed the community centre in Comber, Ont., for a three-hour meeting that heard passionate arguments both for and against wind power.

In the end, the town council voted 6-4 in favour of Brookfield Renewable Power, which hopes to win a contract from the Ontario Power Authority to start building its $600-million wind farm next year.

About 111 of the 120-metre-tall turbines would be built in Lakeshore, on the shore of Lake St. Clair, and another 37 would be put up in nearby parts of Kingsville, on the shores of Lake Erie.

The farming community around Lakeshore has generally strongly favoured wind power.

But some farmers, including some who have signed leases that could bring them $10,000 or more a year in payments, say they are now having second thoughts. They worry that the value of their land would rise, leading to increased taxes that would, in turn, eat up much of the revenue from the turbine leases.

By contrast, other residents who aren’t going to benefit directly from lease payments say they were worried their property values will decline within the “view shed” of wind turbines. In relatively flat, treeless Essex County, the giant turbines are expected to be visible for 10 kilometres or more

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