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SOS survey shows strong opposition to turbines

Posted 20 October 2015 at 12:00 am

YATES – Nearly 80 percent of respondents in a survey about a wind turbine project in Yates say they oppose siting turbines that would peak at 570 feet tall in the community.

Save Ontario Shores released the results on Monday of a survey filled out by 421 Yates property owners, asking their opinions about a plan by Apex Clean Energy to construct 60 to 68 wind turbines in Yates and Somerset.

The surveys were mailed to 1,235 Yates property owners and 421 surveys were returned for a 34 percent participation rate, SOS President John Riggi said. Of the respondents, 77.9 percent of Yates property owners say they oppose the project.

The surveys were opened and recorded at a public meeting at the White Birch Golf Course by representatives of the Lumsden McCormik LLP and local residents Russ Martino and Darrel Oakes.

“These results confirm what I have been hearing from hundreds of Yates residents as I have campaigned throughout the town,” said Jim Simon, a member of SOS and a write-in candidate for Yates town supervisor. “As more information is learned about the health, environmental and economic impacts these turbines will have, people have come to realize that they do not belong in Yates. I will continue to use every ounce of energy I have to bring this message to the people and pledge that if I am elected town supervisor, stopping this project will be my first priority.”

Riggi, who is also a candidate for the Yates Town Board, said the survey results should compel Yates and Orleans County officials to go on the record opposing the project.

The Town of Somerset did a survey showing strong community opposition to the turbine project. The Somerset Town Board and Niagara County Legislature have both formally opposed the Apex project.

“I couldn’t be more pleased that the people of Yates have continued the education process and now understand that this proposed project will forever change, in a terribly bad way, the nature, character and appearance of our town and its lakeshore,” Riggi said.

The Yates Town Board is developing a community survey about the issue, working on questions and a procedure for the survey. Wes Bradley, a Yates town councilman, is working on the survey with SOS member Richard Pucher and Taylor Quarles, the project manager for Apex. Bradley said the committee will develop an “objective” survey.

Glenn Maid, a Town Board candidate, said the SOS survey sent a clear message of community opposition to the project.

“The results of this survey reaffirm the comments of citizens posted on the website of the New York State Public Service Commission showing 87 percent opposition, as well as comments that have been made at numerous Town Board meetings since January which have also been 87 percent negative,” Maid said in a statement. “It is time for us to bring this loud and clear message to the state and convince them that the ill-conceived Article 10 law has no place in Yates. Delivering that message should begin with our Town Board unanimously passing a resolution officially putting Yates on record opposing this scheme.”