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Citizens of North Stormont are preparing for their appeal of the 100-megawatt wind power project, which begins Monday in Finch before the Environmental Review Tribunal

Wind turbine near Brinston, south of Ottawa: citizen reports of noise from industrial wind turbines are unresolved in Ontario [Photo: Ray Pilon]

July 22, 2018

In a bizarre fight which sees ordinary citizens marshalling scarce after-tax dollars to fight the Ontario government’s environment ministry to try to protect the environment (and safety and health), the Concerned Citizens of North Stormont begins its appeal of the 100-megawatt “Nation Rise” wind power project tomorrow, July 23rd.

The appeal goes before the quasi-judicial Environmental Review Tribunal, a panel that is part of the Environment and Lands Tribunals (ELTO) of Ontario.

Almost every single wind power project in Ontario has been appealed, but there have been few victories in a system apparently set up to favour the power developers. Most successful appeals were won on blatant risks to wildlife and the environment, and one on aviation safety (the completely insane Fairview Wind project, planned between two airports near Collingwood).

Despite decisions that note the pain suffered by people forced to live inside wind power projects, the Tribunal has refused to consider any risk to health from the huge industrial-scale wind turbines, that do emit a range of noise.*

The power developer, Portugal-based EDP, is represented by John Terry of international law firm Torys LLP; Mr Terry has also represented the wind industry lobbyist and trade association, CanWEA, in the past. The new environment ministry, now the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks or MECP, will also be represented by a team of lawyers.

The citizens’ group will be represented by lawyers from the environmental law firm of Eric K. Gillespie.

Risks to environment, safety and health

The community concerns filed with the Notice of Appeal include the danger to the area water supply (most of the project is on a “highly vulnerable” aquifer), safety from turbine operations, and health impacts from the noise from the industrial-scale wind power generators/turbines.

Tomorrow’s appearance will consist of Opening Statements, and a series of presenters including mechanical engineer Vern Martin, who will discuss safety concerns posed by the wind turbines and blades.

Tuesday, the themes are noise and health, and public safety, with Wind Concerns Ontario president Jane Wilson presenting data on the thousands of noise complaints lodged with the Ontario government which have not been resolved. Engineer William Palmer will present information on turbine events in Ontario related to debris and ice throw from the turbine blades.

Thursday will see appellant presenters discussing the risk to the aquifer and local water wells, posed by the foundation construction and wind turbine vibration.

The proceedings will take place in the Finch Community Centre and Arena, beginning at 9 a.m., and are open to the public.

Fund-raising for the citizen effort to protect the community is ongoing, please see the Go Fund Me link, here.

contact@windconcernsontario.ca

  • From the report on wind turbine noise by the Council of Canadian Academies, 2015: “Wind turbines are a particularly complex and distinctive source of sound, which can span a wide range of frequencies including low-frequency tones. …The evidence shows a positive relationship between outdoor wind turbine noise levels and the proportion of people who report high levels of annoyance. (“Annoyance” is employed here as a medical term denoting stress or distress. Annoyance is listed by the World Health Organization as an adverse health effect.)
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