Calling on gov’t to follow noise guidelines

By Ellwood Shreve, Postmedia Network

 

Citizen groups continued their effort to convince the Ontario government to ensure wind farm developers abide by the latest noise modelling guidelines.

Residents from Dutton-Dunwich in Elgin County, Wallaceburg and North Stormont in eastern Ontario enlisted the support of their Progressive Conservative MPPs – Jeff Yurek, Monte McNaughton and Jim McDonnell – deliver a petition with more than 3,000 signatures to Queen’s Park on Monday that demands new wind power projects follow Ontario’s new wind turbine noise guidelines.

Bonnie Rowe, spokesperson for Dutton-Dunwich Opponents of Wind Turbines (DDOWT), the MPPs all delivered the same petition from their constituents.

“We tried to the make the point that it was a widespread issues, it wasn’t just a few NIMBYs (Not in my backyard) around Dutton-Dunwich,” Rowe said.

She believes they got their point across, but admits it’s “rather frustrating.”

Rowe said the petition is related to the creation of “transition provisions” by the MOECC in the Renewable Energy Approval process, which allows wind power developers to ignore new noise modelling guidelines.

“The MOECC recognized that the previous requirements for turbine noise modelling were inadequate and they revised them,” Rowe said.

She added the noise modelling requirements are important to protect the health and safety for people living near turbines, “but now, the government has allowed the developers for the new projects to used the old ones – we think that’s wrong.”

Speaking in the Ontario Legislature on Monday, Yurek, who represents Elgin-Middlesex-London, raised the issue of Dutton-Dunwich surveying residents before declaring the municipality as a non-willing host with 84 per cent of the community against wind turbines.

Noting the survey and report were shared with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Control, Yurek said, “unfortunately, the government chose to ignore the people of Dutton-Dunwich and move forward with the project.”

In January, DDOWT filed a notice of application for judicial review in the divisional court in Toronto against the MOECC alleging the ministry has allowed companies promoting at least five large-scale wind projects to ignore new government guidelines with respect to limiting the amount of noise any residence in the area should have to tolerate.

The legal action is being supported by members of the Wallaceburg Area Wind Concerns group and Concerned Citizens of North Stormont and Save the Nation in eastern Ontario.

WAWC member Denise Shephard said, “these power generators emit a range of noise and can be very disruptive for the citizens forced to live near them.

“We believe regulations set by the government to protect citizens should be followed,” she added.