Wind NIMBYs Fight Renewable Energy Project

Not-In-My-Back-Yard groups and environmentalists at odds over wind farm project in Canada.

Published: 11-Mar-2002

It had to happen. The same local groups (NIMBY's) that use to help stop harmful coal, chemical, and waste developments during the the last 30 years of the environmental movement, are now turning their attention to stopping environmentally-sound developments. Environmental groups are asking the Not-in-My-Back-Yarders (NIMBY's) to be cautious when they say "not in my backyard to environmental projects including the installation of renewable energy that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and clean the air. New and large environmental projects are going to be required and fast.

An example of NIMBY's fighting an environmental project can be found in the Beach Neighbourhood of Toronto, Ontario, where they organized in the late 1980's to try and stop the underground construction of a catchment and transfer pond (more like a small lake) that would divert combined storm and sewer water to the Toronto Main Sewage Treatment Plant. It would divert raw sewage overflows during rains from being piped directly into the Beaches water on Lake Ontario. Environmentalists were asked to join the NIMBY fight against the construction. They refused, saying that it was unenvironmental to oppose construction. The NIMBY's argument was that massive diversion project would cause a huge gaping hole during construction, windblow from trucks, and an overload of the Main sewage treatment plant. The NIMBYs were right.

For over a year, the construction was ugly and some trees were uprooted and the large connect concrete pipes had to be dug in and buried along the full length of the Beaches Park. But in the end, today, you can't tell that there is the concrete lake and pipeline network under the park, and the swimming water is so much better. NIMBY's were a negative influence, except to ensure that the job was done right.

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