Jerry Billing and the Gengrowth Wind Farm

In late 2008 the Billing family discovered a company Gengrowth was to build a Wind Turbine Farm in Essex county, north east of the town of Essex. As you can see from the revised location map, one of the intended locations for the 5 planned wind turbines is 900 meters from the end of the Billing family air strip.

History of the Billing Airstrip

Jerry Billing Air Strip 1970

When Jerry retired from the RCAF in 1964 he decided to purchase a plot of land outside his home town of Essex. In 1968 he built the airstrip, followed years later by the hanger and house. The Billing airstrip has been a big part of the history of the town of Essex since then. One example... surrounding schools would do field trips to the Billing airstrip for each student to take a short flight in the Billing Aeronca Champ. When the students would get back to class the teachers would ask them to draw something they saw on the flight. Most of the students would draw pictures of cows, Jerry would always point them out during the flight.





Jerry Billing Air Strip Santa 70'sJerry Billing Air Strip 70'sDuring the mid-1970's the Billings would host the arrival of Santa Claus for the local children. Local vendors would supply gifts and food for the event and Jerry would fly Santa Claus into the air strip.



Jerry Billing Air Strip

From 1975 through 1994 the Billing air strip was a prime spot to witness Jerry practice in Spitfire MK923. People would line the 5th Concession Road ( now Lakeshore Road 211) to watch Jerry put the Spitfire through its paces. (Video of this can be seen in the video gallery.)

  Essex Turbine Map



























Diagrammed above are the revised locations for the wind turbines. Originally, all 5 Turbines were to be in somewhat of a straight line  between the 7th Con. and Naylor side Rd, but due to complains from the residents of Essex, the fifth wind turbine was moved closer to 5th Con RD.

Having an (approx) 125 meter tall wind turbine only 900 meters(approx) from the end of the Billing air strip introduces a large danger factor. This is the complaint the Billing family has with this proposed site for the wind turbines.

 Jerry's whole life has been centred around aviation and flying. Jerry's son Erik and grandson Mitch both share the same love for flying as Jerry, and both use the strip often during the summer months.

According to DOT guidelines their should be a 4KM (4000 meters) buffer zone around all registered private air strips and 10KM (10000 meters) buffer around all major airports. On Feb 09 2009 Lakeshore Council voted 6-2 in favour to go ahead with proposed layout for wind turbines, despite the DOT required buffer zone. Jerry feels his Equal and Civil rights have been ignored by Lakeshore Council in regard to his air strip. Other private air strips in the area were taken into consideration as to the placement of the wind turbines but not his.

Everyone today sees the importance of renewable power, including the Billing's. The Billings are NOT opposed to wind turbines, just the location of the closest turbine for rendering their air strip hazardous.

  Wind Turbine news 2009

                      Wind turbine news 2009 Jerry Billing News March 09                  Jerry Billing News May 09





On April 17th 2009, Jerry sent a letter to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth detailing his dilemma, and received a reply 2 weeks later from Her Majesty the Queen.

 Queens Letter 2009                           Jerry Billing in the News 2009






On April 20th 2009, Jerry received an anonymous letter detailing the writer's disapproval with Jerry's dispute with the location of the Wind Turbines. The writer of this letter directs Jerry to sell his house and air strip and move away.

Although their is no proof of who the letter writer is, in my opinion it is most likely from a person who would loose the most if the Wind Turbine project were to be relocated or scrapped all together. The losers would be the land owners that are being paid to host the Wind Turbines on their property. The land owners would receive $50 000.00 per year for the placement of the five wind turbines on their property.

Letter to Jerry 09






Jerry got a good laugh at the last quote of the letter where the writer says " What if the various Governments decide to bill you for all the equipment you lost " I guess the writer of the letter has forgotten that without people like Jerry that fought for our freedoms they would not be in this prosperous position. 

On May 20 2009, Ontario Environment Minister John Gerretsen put a hold on Gengrowth's wind turbine farm until further studies could be done.

News May 20th 2009