Wind turbines in question

A local city councillor says a proposal to put wind farms in the waters off the Scarborough Bluffs will have a negative visual impact on one of Toronto’s most beautiful spots.

Toronto Hydro has proposed up to 60 large turbines to be placed two to four kilometres off the shores of Lake Ontario, and is trying to determine if there is enough wind in the area for the project.

A proposal of put wind farms off the shores of Scarborough Bluffs has left some people concerned about the negative visual impact.
A proposal of put wind farms off the shores of Scarborough Bluffs has left some people concerned about the negative visual impact.

But Ron Moeser, Scarborough East councillor, says he has always supported the idea of wind farms only if they were in the right location.

“One of the premier views in Ontario is the bluffs,” he says. “And what you’re going to do, if they proceed with this, is take away the visual beauty of what the bluffs are.

“It’s a unique waterfront that we’ve tried to protect over the years.”

An information meeting was held in late October concerning wind power but it was cancelled because 400 people showed up while the venue was at capacity by 200 people.

Toronto Hydro will be hosting another information session on Nov. 24 at Sir Wilfred Laurier Collegiate Institute from 6 to 9 p.m. to address comments on the project.

The proposed wind farm would generate about 100 to 200 megawatts of electricity (each wind turbine can produce 1.5 to two megawatts each, enough to power 250 to 600 homes).

Moeser says there are number of concerns with the plan.

“Depending on how many you have, there is noise involved with it and if it carries over the top of the water then […] people who live along the bluffs could be impacted, I could tell you that right now, for sure,” he says.

“To me, that’s something I know that’s been expressed.”

There are also potential problems involving wildlife.

“Hopefully it doesn’t impact the migrating birds either. The blades, they found in some cases, they have a fairly high rate of loss of wildlife,” Moeser says.

Toronto Hydro will need to determine whether there is enough wind at the bluffs for wind power.
Toronto Hydro will need to determine whether there is enough wind at the bluffs for wind power.

The Scarborough Bluffs was chosen because of the shallow reef from Ajax to the Leslie Spit.

While a local resident also says the view could be affected, she says it is difficult to venture an opinion on the visual impact until it actually happens.

“I think anything that is going to benefit the environment is a positive thing,” says Michelle Mears, who works at Bluffer’s Park Marina.

Mears, a Guildwood resident, says people in her neighbourhood have been voicing their concerns about the wind farms and she is quite aware of it.

“I guess the only disadvantage would be the view and just a boating hazard,” she says. “That’s all. But […] it’s not like it’s this little tiny thing in the middle of the water. I’m sure you can boat around it.

“Anything that can reduce and save the planet is all good. I’m happy about that,” Mears says.

The first stage of carrying out the idea is to put an anemometer – a device to measure wind speed and direction – out in the lake to find out if the bluffs are a suitable location.