Letter: Mirror conducted South Marysburgh polling

Regarding “Support for White Pines greater than politicians say” (Picton Gazette, Aug. 12)…

Further to the recently published letter to the editor, I would like to take this opportunity to provide some background regarding the 2012 community vote about industrial wind turbines.

For several years leading up to 2012, various local groups and individuals claimed that “everyone” was either in favour of or opposed to Gilead Power and wpd Canada’s local turbine projects. As the publisher of The South Marysburgh Mirror since 2011, the fact that no quantifiable information confirming either support or opposition to industrial wind turbines led me to organize a community poll.

Held in Milford Town Hall, the vote took place within Ward 9, the location that had been selected by the developers to install the majority of the industrial wind turbines. All South Marysburgh residents were invited to participate.

Government electoral protocols were followed during the vote that took place on Saturday, July 14, 2012. People who wished to participate were asked to show identification and proof of South Marysburgh residency. They completed and signed a registration form and received a ballot that contained a single question and only two response options: yes or no.

The question on the ballot was: “Do you want industrial wind turbines installed in South Marysburgh like the ones proposed by wpd Canada and Gilead Power for their projects near Milford and on the South Shore?” I alone wrote the question. The only assistance I had with writing it was from a non-county resident copy editor who confirmed grammar and punctuation.

People made their mark in a blind voting booth and brought their completed ballot back to the registration table where they dropped it into a sealed box. All ballots were printed on textured, coloured paper that had been discontinued by the manufacturer. The 500 sheets of ballot paper used for the vote were from the last ream on hand at the local printer.

Importantly, every step of the process, including inspection of the ballot boxes before, during and after the vote; verifying the ballot count to registrant count; and verification of the results was done by the then-minister of Milford’s St. Phillip’s Anglican Church. There was no involvement in the planning, organization, execution or voting process by any special interest group including the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC).

On July 14, 2012 a total of 489 South Marysburgh residents who participated marked “no” on their ballot. A total of 51 South Marysburgh residents who participated in the vote marked “yes” on their ballot. All marked ballots and registration sheets are available for confidential third party verification upon request.

Steve Ferguson

South Marysburgh