Wind farm to destroy Canada's first 'dark sky preserve'

In 2013 the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada proudly declared North Frontenac to be Canada's first "dark sky preserve." Now in 2015, NextEra Energy, a US based energy company, is about to turn this nature preserve into a wind farm.

This is one of those sad stories where it appears nothing good is happening except a major, tax dodging corporation hiding profits. Expensive and loud energy is being forced upon residents in a small, rural community struggling to find new revenue sources. The town council, however, wasn't irresponsibly casting about for opportunities and some how landed in this devil's den. They've been working to attract eco-tourism and to a serene and beautiful location! Now they are getting towers and noise, with little hope of attracting tourists.

Clearly, the last thing anyone in North Frontenac wanted was a loud and well lit wind farm in the middle of a nature preserve, especially one touted as the place in Canada to commune with nature and view the stars. All seven members of the town council voted against hosting this wind farm.

Below please find long-time North Frontenac resident, and longtime friend of Boing Boing, Chris Albinson's letter to Ottawa West's Minister of Energy, Bob Chiarelli, as well as the rest of their plea for help!


Protecting Brule lake and the only Dark Sky Preserve left in Ontario! If you have ever, enjoyed looking at the stars at night, we would really appreciate you taking 5 minutes to write an email and share this post. It doesn't have to be perfect, just a heartfelt letter & SHARE this post would be awesome. The more people from all over the globe the better! We only have a couple of weeks to make our voices heard and we need to focus on Min Bob Chiarelli Minister of Energy from Ottawa West.

We need everyone to take the time and write him an email or letter THIS WEEKEND especially people who live in his riding or from Ottawa. All letters no matter where you live are important! Dropping by his constituency to drop a letter off personally is also a great idea if you can.
Suite 201
2249 Carling Avenue
Ottawa, Ontario K2B 7E9

Please copy our awesome mayor Ron Higgins
Anyone who has enjoyed a starry night on an Ontario lake please please take 5 mins to write an email and share this post.

With much appreciation,
Albinson family

Also copy
(i) your MPP (link below)…
(ii) Energy Critic for the PCs
(iii) NDP Leader
(iv) Anyone else you can think might be willing to help

If it helps, I have included the letter we sent tonight below.

Things to focus on:
(1) Township of North Frontenac voted 7-0 of "Not Willing to Host" wind projects in the township.
(2) Concerns about the destruction of the only Dark Sky Preserve in Ontario
(3) Concerns about endangered birds and animals in the Township that would be put in danger
(4) Concerns about the health, environment, and fiscal impacts of the project.
(5) Concerns about a $15B US corporation taking advantage of a vulnerable community like North Frontenac

(Copy of Albinson letter to Minister)

Dear Min. Chiarelli,
Tonight, the Township of North Frontenac voted 7-0 to a resolution to "Not Willing to Host" for a massive industrial wind farm that would destroy the only Dark Sky Preserve in Ontario near Ottawa where many Ottawa West families have had their family cottages for generations.
We have not head back from your office on our earlier letter, and hope to hear back soon.
We were contacted by the media this week and over 12 papers across Ontario covered our concerns. 95%+ of the comments, coming from all over the province, are against Wind project and for protecting our unique Dark Sky Preserve in North Frontenac.
You might want to talk with our Mayor, Ron Higgins about their brave and principled stand against the $15B US corporate giant NextEra who was attempting to bribe the township with $10M of Ontario taxpayer subsidized funds.…/9469-north-frontenac-set-to-r…
The policy seems very broken and the Ministry needs to do detailed investigation following the money and looking at the environmental impacts before anymore of these projects are forced on communities. Best as we can figure out, just in our rural township, is the following:
(i) Ontario taxpayers through taxes and hydro infeed tariffs would pay NextEra $37,500,000 per year in North Frontenac alone (75 turbines*$500,000 per year * 20 years = $750,000,000 )
(ii) NextEra promises "to give" the township first $125,000 per year for a community fund and then ups it to $200,000 when the township expresses concerns. Putting the council in a terrible position.
(iii) The township takes a principled stand "Not willing to host" and NextEra pulls back the community funds (Ontario taxpayer money) and NextEra could still get approved increasing their profits.
(iv) 30% of $750,000,000 is a pure profit and taken out of the province by NextEra.
(v) Our Dark Skies preserve is destroyed, endangered species put a risk, our hydro rates go up and all for what? Ontario has more power than it needs right now and 80% of wind energy is being generated at the wrong time and sold to New York State for a loss. Yet even more taxpayer/Hydro rate payer money going to the US.
We can't understand why this can forced on local communities and destroy the only Dark Sky Preserve in Ontario.
Please let us know what we can do to stop this nightmare.
Thank you for the consideration and any assistance you can give.
Albinson family
Brule Lake, Plevna Ontario

File photo of wind turbines on Wolfe Island, in Kingston Ont., seen from the Frontenac II on route to Wolfe Island in Marysville, Ont. on Wednesday May 27, 2015. Julia McKay/Postmedia Network

File photo of wind turbines on Wolfe Island, in Kingston Ont., seen from the Frontenac II on route to Wolfe Island in Marysville, Ont. on Wednesday May 27, 2015. Julia McKay/Postmedia Network

Notable Replies

  1. Oh, noes, green energy near rich people's summer houses. This is an outrage.

  2. Yep. "When I voted to prohibit fracking, and to dismantle the dams, and to decommission the reactors, how was I to know they were going to build a wind turbine RIGHT WHERE IT BLOCKS MY VIEW???"

  3. NIMBYs attack. Why is this on BoingBoing? And seriously Jason, "expensive and loud" energy? Is this a talking point from a coal industry ad?

  4. LEED professional very concerned about Dark Skies weighing in:

    This is a bullshit complaint. Having been up close and personal with turbines in the middle of the night, they are not loud. Nor are their aircraft warning lights a real danger to light pollution. The amount of lumens escaping up and outward are not enough to even illuminate the ground below these things.

    Do they have a photo of them at night if that's their main complaint? Oh, wait I have one:

    Better take up arms against that pesky moon, that's the real damage there.

    I'll fight to the death to protect dark skies, but this isn't a sword to fall on. How is this "well lit"?

  5. This post is to express just how much I don't appreciate BB broadcasting misinformation about my neck of the woods, even when that misinformation is provided by property owners from my neck of the woods.

    No. Factually incorrect. You are being deliberately misled. It was 1999 that the RASC created Canada's first Dark Sky Preserve.

    Also there is no nature preserve present at the site or adjacent to it.

    There are many sources of information in the world. Choosing to roll with the Toronto Sun without further research/fact-checking is a bad choice that rarely pays for anyone but whoever paid for the article. I'm sure it's true the energy company is tax-dodging & profit hiding, but only because I've yet to see one that isn't.

    <----See my Avatar? The Toronto Sun and it's masters were a big part of getting him elected. Worked out real well too. Here's a defunct blog that for a time collected the best of the worst of their nonsense style. You like laughing at the Daily Mail? You'll feel comfortable laughing at the Sun. They have similar editorial standards.

    As for your friend Chris Albinson, Yes, we do count itinerant residents as residents & value their presence. Even from San Francisco. Love those American Dolla-dollas & people that appreciate Canadian lakes and wilderness. That he would act to protect the area is commendable. But the information in his letter is factually incorrect, from the prospective effect of the windfarm, to the size of the windfarm, to the tax revenue estimations, to the mention of endangered species being put at risk, totally unsubstantiated, it's just something you write in these things, right? Good of him to try and wedge in a bit of the ol' Canada vs the US, but we don't actually hate/disike Americans that visit Frontenac/Ontario, at least I don't. I like them mostly, gotta lotta family there in the US too. This area isn't exactly a bastion of liberal-minded elitists with a hate-on for US policy. Quite the opposite most days.

    The only problem I could have with the Albinsons is with the content of their letter.

    The criticism that this BB post is repeating fossil fuel supported anti-renewable propaganda talking points is spot on. It's in black and white, right there.

    The headline/post title is probably the most incorrect BB title in BB history. Especially that "first", which is just silly.

    Whether or not there ought be a windfarm there is an open question.

    Whether or not misinformation is the way to settle the matter is not an open question... is it?

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