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City council won't stand in way of wind turbines

Toronto city councillors effectively neutralized a motion that would have asked the Ontario government for a province-wide moratorium on wind-turbine development.

After hours of entreaties from Guildwood residents vocally opposed to the suggestion of wind turbines off the Scarborough Bluffs, executive committee referred the motion to the city's environmental committee until Toronto Hydro's study of the wind's strength in the proposed site is complete. The tests, which will determine whether there's enough wind to go forward with the now-hypothetical turbines, will likely take a couple of years.

Councillor Brian Ashton, who put forward the motion along with fellow Scarborough councillor Paul Ainslie, said the motion indicates how "entrenched" the city's green-power agenda is.

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"You can argue about health impacts, you can argue about the economy. … [But]when you look at it, it just totally destroys the Scarborough waterfront. I think you could still meet your environmental targets for renewable energy without having to destroy the Scarborough waterfront.

"I think it's hideous."

Speaking with reporters outside the committee meeting, Mayor David Miller said global studies of wind turbines have indicated there are no negative health effects associated with them, and residents' concerns about the proposed turbines should be addressed once it's determined whether the project can go forward.

"Citizens have some legitimate concerns about the view and things like fish habitat. I think those things need to be studied. But all that is happening at the moment is a two-year study to determine if there's enough wind. And I think in those two years Toronto Hydro can do whatever work is necessary to address those concerns."

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