Original article by Elliot Ferguson:
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KINGSTON, Ont. -- A proposed 150-turbine wind energy project in eastern Ontario is being called a threat to one of Canada's unique astronomical features.
Opened in the summer of 2013, the North Frontenac Dark Sky Preserve was 10 years in the making and holds hope of being a major tourism attraction for the area.
North Frontenac was the first municipality in Canada to be designated a dark sky preserve by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.
In a letter e-mailed to Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli and others, resident Chris Albinson wrote that asset could be under threat if the new wind turbines are built.
"Seventy-five wind turbines with associated light pollution would destroy the (economic development) objective and the tax base of the township," Albinson wrote. "This a classic case of one arm of the government undermining the efforts of another arm of the government."
NextEra Energy Canada, a subsidiary of Florida-based NextEra Energy, is proposing to build about 150 turbines, about a third to be constructed in North Frontenac.
A company spokesperson told council the project would provide $146,000 in municipal property tax revenue, upgrades to infrastructure and funding for recreation and community projects, along with between six and 10 full-time jobs.
In his letter, Albinson called for the Ontario government to reject the NextEra project. He questioned why a U.S. company was being allowed to possibly build a wind energy project in the area.
"Using Ontario taxpayer funds to subsidize a U.S. company that destroys an Ontario nature preserve seems grossly irresponsible, fiscally and environmentally," he wrote.
When it was established, the dark sky preserve was hailed as an innovative use of something many people would overlook as an asset: a dark sky free of light pollution from urban centres.