Response to wind turbine letters
Ron Collins recently wrote an editorial letter addressing the comments from Garden Peninsula resident, Fred Bates, by saying that “wind turbines have been operating for two years, not several.” The word of ‘several’ does mean “a few” or “two plus” according to the dictionary. Many people use it to mean around two of anything. So it would be nice if we didn’t nitpick solitary words, as a semantics exercise, and stick to the important things. And I say that while meaning no offense or disrespect to Mr. Collins.
As to Mr. Bates saying: “check out the number of For Sale signs in the (Garden) area. I think that there may be a connection.” (Referring to how houses do or do not sell in wind farm areas), Fred Bates did use what is called a “qualifier”. A qualifier’s intent is to let the readers know that a comment is not a fact. And the word of “may” is such a qualifier.
Mr. Collins said, “A realtor, who doesn’t really care for wind turbines, stated they could find no true connection between turbines coming and a drop in land values or the realty market.” Yet I just heard a different realtor say the exact opposite to that. Maybe the real fact is that none of us really know whether property values and the realty market truly falls or not. That may take years to find out. And by then it might be too late to address this particular part of the issue. So wouldn’t it be wise to act cautiously and proactively on this with protective ordinances just in case?
Ron Collins also said, “The fact is, after awhile they (the wind turbines) become part of the scenery that, despite their size, you can actually choose to ignore if you want to.” That statement is definitely a fact for Mr. Collins but may not be a fact for someone else. Mr. Collins is talking about personal preferences that people have, which differ from person to person. Some people like to look at the beauty of the colorful sky with all its dramatic color and not have industrial wind turbines be a part of that. And that is an equally valid fact for them that they cannot just ignore. So why should we give deference to one preference over the other?
In regards to Garden Peninsula’s Phase Two, Mr. Bates said that there would be 52 of them (meaning wind turbines) being put in south of the village. Mr. Collins responded back that it “could consist of up to 30 turbines, probably less but not 52.” It’s hard to know who is right on this because wind developers have so little transparency on things and also may change their plans later on down the line. I’ve read a number of articles that have said that once a phase group of wind turbines had been installed, the company went back and increased the density or numbers on the wind turbines in an area. And if that truly is the case, then the number of 52 could become a non-fact later on down the line.
As to bird kill, I read that Heritage Wind Developer has a permit to pick up dead birds and count them. Not everyone trusts the “fox in the chicken coop to count the hens correctly.” And is the count correct? Are the bird counters out there all hours of the night, when many predators have learned that wind turbine spots are great feasting sites and have hauled the dead birds away, before these counters do their counting? This ‘haul away’ by foxes, coyotes and others can possibly skew the number of kill counts, thus making the number of four obsolete or incorrect.
It was also said by Mr. Collins that “In 2013 Garden Township received an additional $72,000 in tax revenue because of the wind farm.” When such things are said it is important to include all the information. For instance, it is my understanding that Garden Township won’t be getting the same first year’s amount every year after that because of “true cash value” changes, “trending factors” and depreciation. So instead of getting $504,000 over seven years Garden Township could be getting significantly less in revenue.
Lastly, it has been said that our “friendly community was strained for awhile but neighbors are still friends and for the most part, have figured out how to work past this. “And I have to say Mr. Collins must not be talking to the same people that I have been talking to. I hear many people still trying to be civil and polite with each other. But beneath the surface strained feelings and the need for working things out still exist.