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Wind farms are widely recognized as the new movement of change for power supply, which is taking place around Ontario for a greener environment. Lately, there have been heated debates between the citizens of Scarborough and the government of Ontario regarding the idea of putting up a wind farm at the Scarborough Bluffs. Nevertheless, it is obvious wind farms should not be erected at the Scarborough Bluffs if one was to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of the situation at hand.

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Through a thorough investigation on wind turbines and the Scarborough Bluffs, it is evident that there are many reasons to assemble a wind farm, although the consequences of the ruined Bluffs and the complications of wind generators overpower these reasons. Wind farms are a large grouping of wind generators or wind plants, which are located at a site with strong, dependable winds. Wind generators are machines which convert wind into energy from the current of wind hitting the rotor or the blades. They are usually considered to be a leading source for a greener economy or environment.

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This is the movement which is taking place for the future. According to this movement, the future is destined to be green because there will be no more greenhouse gases and the goal is to inevitably stop global warming all together. The Scarborough Bluffs is a high steep bank which is the result of erosion from the last ice age. The Bluffs are located in Toronto, Canada. Although wind farms should not be erected at the Scarborough Bluffs, there are many reasons why if erected; the wind turbines will help Ontario as an overall province.

Firstly, wind turbines are renewable energy sources which are beneficial for the environment: “The use of wind turbines does not generate pollution or radioactive waste like most other forms of electricity generation do. Their construction and installation has less environmental impact as well. “1 It is obvious that if one was to compare wind energy to nuclear energy or any other energy sources, it has less impact on the environment because there is no pollution or radioactive waste being emitted into the atmosphere. The environment will not be damaged from global warming.

The construction and installation also has less impact on the environment. Although the cost to set it up is expensive, maintenance cost is very cheap, and it can be operational in a very short period of time. Secondly, if a wind farm is erected in the Bluffs, there will be more green-collared jobs: “The government hopes its green energy plan will create 50, 000 new jobs and help Ontario meet its goal to close all coal-fired electrical generation by 2014, a deadline the governing Liberals have put off three times. “2 Canada is lagging in the use of renewable energy compared to many industrialized countries.

Canada needs to take action to bridge this shortcoming. Ontario is one of the provinces which needs more renewable energy, and is behind the other provinces in greener economy initiatives. According to Jim Prall, who is an employee at the University of Toronto: “many university graduates that he knows have to leave Canada to find work in the renewable energy sector. “3 If the Scarborough Bluffs invests in a wind farm it will ultimately attract research academics and professionals to work and contribute to the Scarborough region instead of migrating to other countries.

Thirdly, locations of where wind farms should be set up are limited according to Toronto Hydro: “The proposed site of a wind farm off the Scarborough Bluffs in Lake Ontario is the only place in the GTA where wind power might be feasible. “4 This reason puts a lot of pressure on the government of Ontario and the citizens of Scarborough because if they do not install a wind farm at the Bluffs, they cannot put it up anywhere else in the Greater Toronto Area. Therefore, if there is no wind farm erected at the Scarborough Bluffs, the Greater Toronto Area is affected, and will not contribute to the green movement.

In conclusion, people feel wind farms should be erected for many reasons, such as the advantage wind farms provide for the environment, more jobs for green-collared workers and also the Bluffs are the only place in the GTA where wind farms can be erected due to the strategic advantage of the location. The Scarborough Bluffs have been around for millions of years, and have been eroded since the last ice age; this resulted in a beautiful sight, which people all over the world come to visit.

Ed Linhares, a resident from Scarborough, “pointed to one pamphlet put out by the opponents of the proposed wind farm stating that the turbines will be 121 feet high,”5 he also stated that “if they’re built, they’ll rise 30 metres above the lake. “6 This is high enough for people to get distracted from the Bluffs by the tall wind turbines. It will result in a huge loss to the tourist trade because tourists do not want to go the Bluffs to see wind turbines. The view will be ruined for a wind farm which does not have to be there.

Wind farms take up a lot of space, and will cover most of the bluffs due to its vastness. Also, a study has proved that real estate values go down if wind farms are located near their property. “A just-released study commissioned by wind-power opponents concurs, saying that property values have fallen at least 19 percent for properties located near the Energies wind farm in Fond du Lac County and 12 percent for those located near Invenergy’s Forward Energy Center in Fond du Lac and Dodge Counties. 7 The Ontario government has stated that the prices of their property will remain same. Despite what the government says the price will eventually go down a considerable amount. The government should tell the people of Scarborough the anticipated price drop of their properties. The residents are paying for a wind farm which they are not sure of. Lastly, wind farms are relatively new to the energy industry, and there may be many unknown risks which may occur in the future.

“We do not have the advantage of many years of experience with wind farms to understand long term effects. 8 Scientists and others fear that there may be many risks for having a wind farm in water. Cheryl Benson, Guildwood Village resident states she is “worried the bluffs are not rock and stone, and are very much vulnerable”9 and she also “wonders what the vibrations would do to the Bluffs”10. Many fear the wind farm will cause earthquakes or the water level to rise. Therefore, if there was to be a wind farm in the Scarborough Bluffs, there has to be much study and consideration for the historic monument which will get ruined in the process.

The Scarborough Bluffs’ scenery will get ruined due to the height of the wind turbines, the property values will go down and the Bluffs will still remain vulnerable to a safe and secure environment. Environmentalists are generally not aware of the complications which are associated with wind turbines. However, there are many design problems which arise once the wind farm is installed. An engineering feasibility study can evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of wind farms.

One example occurs during thunderstorms: “Wind turbines act as a lightning rod in storms. The National Lightning Safety Institute says that nearly all of the damage caused to wind turbines is lightning. In addition, smaller models used in residential neighbourhoods also prove to be dangerous. They would attract lightning more so than a tree because of metallic components. “11 This is a safety hazard for the water in the Bluffs because the lightning will cause electrical vibrations producing electric charges which can electrocute any living creatures.

It will be a danger for any living creature to walk, swim or boat in the water. There will also be collateral damages to the wind turbines from lightening strikes. This will also result in turbine malfunction. Wind generators near the Bluffs can cause a nightmare to the migrating birds. “But for just as long, massive fibreglass blades on the more than 4,000 windmills have been chopping up tens of thousands of birds that fly into them, including golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, burrowing owls and other raptors. 12 This is a major threat to the water because the water will become impure with all the dead birds falling into the lake. The living creatures in the water will also get contaminated, such as fish, according to Earth justice attorney, Jim Pew: “It’s been estimated that 1/70th of a teaspoon is enough to contaminate a 20 acre lake so that the fish in that lake are not safe to eat. “13 It will be unsafe to eat fish from the Bluffs, which many people do, because of the Bluffs’ sailing club, who catch fish and cook them at home.

There will also be a huge loss in bird industry. This does not make much sense for a wind turbine to be part of the change for a greener environment because it kills so many birds, and is also harmful to humans. Many reasons why wind farms are harmful to humans are not addressed at public forums or press. For example, a man from Nova Scotia who abandoned his home was “claiming noise from a nearby wind farm made his family sick, says a study by an audio expert proves his case-even though a new federal government report concludes the exact opposite.

Daniel d’Entremont and his family left their home in the southwestern Nova Scotia community of Lower West Pubnico last February. D’Entremont says the 17 wind turbines that tower over the community-the closest just 400 metres away-were sending low-frequency vibrations into the house. This inaudible noise, he claims, deprived his family of sleep, gave his children and wife headaches, and made it impossible for them to concentrate. “14 This illustrates the health hazards in living close to wind turbines.

Many people do not realize that wind turbines are the reason for their loss of concentration. According to a survey from CTV news, wind turbines cause headaches, heart palpitations, hearing problems, stress, anxiety and depression. Most people with heart problems, according to this survey, live less than a kilometer away from a wind farm. Scientists blame the low frequency noise for the reason of these heart issues. People who live near wind farms are also believed to be infected with tinnitus. Tinnitus is a constant humming sound in your ears.

If a wind farm is erected in the Bluffs it will continue to be an active source of health problems to the countless residents living close to the wind mills. Many Canadians have the opinion that wind turbines are an economic and clean energy solution for the coming generation. However, they fail to comprehend the enormous complexities of such an engineering feat near the densely populated Scarborough Bluffs. There are many positive aspects related to wind farms such as a stop to global warming and more green-collared jobs, although wind turbines located in the particular location of Scarborough Bluffs are highly dangerous.

The Scarborough Bluffs are recognized as a notable location due to the erosion from the last ice age. Many people feel the scenery will be ruined and the historic ledger will not be appreciated. There are also reasons why wind turbines are dangerous to humans and other living creatures, such as the massacre of birds and the low frequency radiation being emitted. Therefore there are many reasons that are in benefit for a wind farm, although the reasons prove to be a danger human civilization.

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Kylie Garcia

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