STAYNER – Clearview Township councillor Thom Paterson says he plans to put a motion before council at its Aug. 13 meeting that if approved would result in Clearview calling on the province to implement a moratorium on wind turbine development.
Paterson said a moratorium on all wind turbine development in the province should be in place until a Health Canada study into whether the structures are making people sick is complete and the findings are released.
Health Canada announced a few weeks ago it was launching a national study into the possible relationship between wind turbine noise and health problems reported by people living near wind power developments.
The study, which the agency says will be complete in 2014, will focus on residents in 2,000 randomly selected dwellings from communities located near eight to 12 wind turbine installations across Canada.
Participants will be interview by researchers and asked to provide blood pressure readings. They will also be asked to wear devises on their wrists for seven consecutive days to measure sleep time and sleep efficiency, and submit hair samples, which contain cortisol, a biological stress marker.
Noise levels inside and outside homes will also be measured.
People living close to wind turbines have reported such negative health effects as nausea, trouble sleeping and a ringing of the ears.
Clearview council has followed the wind turbine issue closely as two companies want to erect turbines in the township.
WPD Canada wants to build eight turbines on land just west of Stayner.
Skyway 124 would like to erect three turbines on property between Singhampton and Dunedin.
“The significant thing about what Health Canada has done is acknowledge what the public has been saying for a long time,” Paterson said. “What Health Canada has now said is no one has studied on a scientific basis whether those claims are true. Health Canada is recognizing those self-reported cases and is going to study it and that’s good.”
An Ontario-government commissioned study conducted in 2010 concluded that there was no health risk posed by wind turbine sound if the structures are located 550 metres away from people’s homes – Ontario’s regulated setback distance.
Paterson said he expects strong support from council members for his moratorium motion.
“Council has supported motions to do the right thing on wind turbines in the past so I suspect they’ll support this,” he said.
And what does he think will happen once the motion is sent to Queen’s Park.
“One request from Clearview? Not much. But I sense this Health Canada study will spark grassroots efforts elsewhere: municipalities, other political parties. Let’s face it too – the sensitivity to [the provincial government] is do they need another issue to soften their minority government?”
* with files from Torstar News Service