Chatham-Keny MPP Rick Nicholls wants moratorium on wind turbines during Health Canada study
Opponents of wind turbines cheered last week when Health Canada announced it would study the effects turbine noise may have on human health.
Turbines in Essex and Chatham-Kent counties in southwestern Ontario have become a fact of life.
In Chatham-Kent alone, for example, there could be more than 500 turbines turning by 2014.
But not if Chatham-Kent Progressive Conservative MPP Rick Nicholls has anything to say about it. He and his party want a moratorium on the development of wind farms while Ottawa completes its study.
“When I heard [Health Canda] decided to conduct a study, I was very, very pleased. It tells me there is more to local issues with regard to health,” he said. “When the federal government decides to look at it, I believe there is something more serious out there than we’ve known to exist in the past.”
Nicholls said, “turbines are popping up everywhere” in his riding.
Pattern Energy is part of a joint venture with Samsung, a company Ontario’s Liberal government renegotiated a $7-billion green energy deal with two years ago. Pattern plans to errect another 124 turbines in Chatham-Kent within a year.
The project would mean jobs for Windsor, where CS Wind would build the towers for turbines to be used in the project. CS Wind employs more than 200 people.
The wind farm would also mean a cash injection into Chatham-Kent. The municipality gets $12,000 per turbine errected. It’s the same fee that applies to a grain elevators and other similar structures. The money goes back into the building department’s budget.
Nicholls, though, isn’t sold on the efficiency of wind power, number of jobs the industry creates or the safety of wind turbines.
Nicholls said he’s flooded with calls from complaining about health issues they say are caused by wind turbines.
Beth O’Brien, community relations manager for Pattern Energy, insists her company hasn’t received any complaints about its 30 projects in 10 years.
“If we had an operating project where people complained to us about having some problems, we absolutely would investigate and do everything in our power to rectify the situation. We do not want to create any harmful impacts on people,” she said. “We don’t believe our project will create any type of health concerns. But, we’re open to the federal government studying it.
“We want this project to be a win-win for the community and everyone involved.”