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Protesters gather and grieve at White Pines wind farm

Locals make their way through Milford’s farmland to gather around one of the four completed wind turbines. Along with protest signs, jackets were necessary on a breezy autumn morning. Photo by Allen Steinberg, QNet News

By Allen Steinberg [1]

MILFORD – About two-dozen protesters rallied at White Pines wind farm [2] on Tuesday morning to show their anger at Doug Ford’s 100-million dollar plan to dismantle the Milford wind-powered energy plant.

The protest, led by Prince Edward County resident Jennifer Ackerman and the County Sustainability Group [3], began just after 9 a.m.

The ninth wind turbine site is located on Jennifer Ackerman’s property. Ackerman, a long-time resident of Prince Edward County owns Live, Laugh, Eat bakery in Milford, Ontario. She has received backlash for her stance on the White Pine Wind Farm cancellation. Photo by Robert Champagne, QNet News

Opening remarks allowed for concerned folk to voice displeasure at the province’s intentions to wipe out all 9 wind turbines scattered across Milford’s farmland. Don Ross, who has lived in Milford for almost 40 years, says “Our wind resource here is one of the best in the province. Instead of being known as the 21st century leader for wind energy in Ontario, we will be known forever as the first place in the world to tear down a wind farm.”

The White Pines project would have built nine turbines in Milford with an annual output of over 52 million kilowatt hours. That would be good enough power for 3,000 homes, according to project estimates [2]. Nine turbines were all in separate stages of being built. Four were operating before the province announced their destruction in July of 2018. The first phase of decommissioning started Oct. 18 and is expected to end Jan. 31, 2020.

Protesters stand beneath one of the four stagnant wind turbines. Their “We Support Wind Energy” signs were scattered by the dozen at the protest. Photo by Allen Steinberg, QNet News

As the protest continued, Ackerman led the group down to ground zero; the seventh of the nine wind turbine sights, and the first one the Ontario government plans to dismantle.

At the site, County dweller, Jim Harrison, said “when I think of the 100 million dollars being wasted here, we could have had our new hospital built, we could’ve had highway 49 totally redone.”

Danny Celovsky, Bay of Quinte’s Green Party candidate in the 2019 federal election says that he is in utter disbelief at the Ontario government’s decision, but that he has high hopes for the future.

“It is stunning. Stupid is a good word, too … This (wind farm) is going to be back. It has to be back, because it has to happen, because we have to get off of fossil fuels. This is not the end of the story, this is just the end of one chapter of it,” Celovsky said.

“This (wind farm) is going to be back.” Danny Celovsky has faith that if Doug Ford’s government is not re-elected in three years, the White Pine Wind Farm will rise again. Photo by Robert Champagne, QNet News

The White Pines Wind Project Termination Act is of concern to the many locals in the County for more than just financial reasons. For Angela Lammes, a long-time County resident, the cancellation of the wind farm hits close to home, literally.

“I could see the beautiful turbines out of my kitchen window everyday at dawn and dusk. And I don’t want to see them come down,” she said, barely managing to fight off tears.

However, local opinion is divided when it comes to the project’s cancellation. While several think it is a display of financial and ecological irresponsibility on the provincial government’s part, there are those who say the White Pines project should have never been approved.

In the Letter To The Editor section of The Picton Gazette [4], one angry local shared their outrage with Jennifer Ackerman and her firm outlooks on climate change. The letter [4] said “How dare you Jen Ackerman, Milford, for reprimanding us, the good people of Prince Edward County who have convincingly and overwhelmingly stood to prevent wind factories from being built in our county … The four wind turbines that were erected by White Pines were done so in a hurry, apparently in the hope that once built they would be deployed, even though the incoming government clearly stated they would cancel the project. This was a deliberate and irresponsible waste of money on the part of the builder.”

The protest wrapped up with Ackerman delivering a powerful rant. “This wind farm was giving a lot of people in the area hope for the future,” she said.

A strong gust of wind knocked the script out of her hands as she gave her final thoughts: “The wind should be turning those turbines and they should be creating green energy because it is always windy here … Our own political leaders have continued to drag us in the direction we need to turn away from: The path of environmental catastrophe.”