The appellants to the Enbridge Ontario Wind Power Project wrapped up their witnesses and participants at the Ontario Municipal Board hearing last week, with Enbridge and the Municipality of Kincardine kicking off its planning evidence, which continued on Monday.
After the testimony of witness Daniel d’Entremont on May 8, the hearing continued with statements from participants Lynn DiCocco, Janice McKean, Andy Robinson and John Shepherd.
Appellant Kathy McCarrel recapped the progress from last week, along with representatives of the proponents.
DiCocco had questions about safety issues, as well as questions regarding the expansion of the transmission corridor from the Bruce site to Milton.
Municipality of Kincardine representative Steve O’Melia said neither NAV Canada or Bruce Power shared any concerns about the topics.
McKean addressed the OMB in regards to her concerns around the impact of tourism, as she owns a bed and breakfast. She said intensive livestock operations aren’t allowed between Hwy. 21 and Lake Huron and neither should wind turbines.
Robinson put forward his comments about the approval process, in terms of municipal, county and Ministry of Environment approval, which he believes is faulty and not in the best interest of the public.
Shepherd argued turbines would put agricultural land out of service, through the use of construction roads and turbines.
O’Melia said many of the items brought up, were already addressed at the hearing, or through the process. He said most concerns revolved around setbacks, in regards to planning issues, which is what the hearing is based on.
On May 10, participant statements continued with Carol Clark giving general comments about the project, saying the turbines have caused a rift in the community. As a preemptive move, Clark has since closed down her horse breeding business, out of fears the turbines would have negative impacts on them upon construction.
Gary Shepherd, another participant, said it’s a precedent-setting ruling that would impact the shoreline, as well as him as a local pilot. He also questioned the decommissioning of the sites and said a fund should be set in stone to remove the concrete foundations, if the project were to end.
Witness Roy Brownell, a resident who lives 2.5 km from a wind farm in Shelbourne, then took the stand.
Brownell said the noise still impacts him at the distance he lives at, adding that the MOE guidelines don’t address day-to-day impacts of noise and those who live near the projects. He said the way the process is laid out, it doesn’t properly address the concerns of area residents.
Blake Evans, who operates Evans Aviation flight school at the Kincardine Airport, gave a statement as a participant.
Evans said the project will put him out of business, as the turbines fall in his student’s practice area in the fields, which they use for landings. He said he has federal permission to use the lands and that NAV Canada had not properly informed him of the decision.
O’Melia said NAV Canada has given its approval and had circulated information about the project, with no objections raised.
Participant Ron Stephens then commented on the process and approval of the project. Stephens wanted to know if the Certificate of Approval for noise had yet to be approved for the project, would changes be implemented to setbacks, if required.
Participant Peter Sullivan lives at a property next to a proposed turbine site and said he was only recently made aware of the turbines. He said the local newspapers shouldn’t be the only way the public is made aware of the project.
OMB Chair J.P. Atcheson would not make a ruling based on lack of notification, as that was not an issue to be addressed at the hearing.
Witness Ernie Marshall, who lives 500-metres from a turbine at the Kingsbridge project, near Goderich, kicked off testimony on May 10.
Marshall discussed the stress that the project has caused on his life, in regards to selling his animals because of their reaction to the turbine noise. He said he gets so worked up over it, it has had a negative impact on his health. He said fans are needed all through his house to mask the noise of the turbines and claimed stray voltage from the turbines makes his hair stand on end.
O’Melia and said in regards to both witnesses who live near turbine projects, they’re different turbines, different companies and a different concept than what Enbridge has proposed.
Appellant Kathy McCarrel said she was glad the chair allowed the participants to tell their stories, as Enbridge representative Jane Pepino wanted their statements dismissed, or given little weight against the case as “˜lay’ and not professional witnesses.
Later in the day May 10, planner William Pol then began his testimony around the technical and planning aspects of the project. Pol is arguing that the project suits the area, represents good planning and will provide electricity for about 64,000 homes, at its expected potential.
O’Melia said the 110-turbine project conforms with the Provincial Policy Statement and the Bruce County Official Plan, which promote renewable energy projects.
Pepino said Pol continued with his testimony on Monday, after which Bruce County’s Kincardine Planner Leah Andrews will take the stand.
She said after Andrews’ testimony the hearing will adjourn until May 23, when the noise experts will take the stand.
Dr. James Young and John Coulter will give evidence to support the appellant’s cases, while the proponent and the municipality will call Dr. Al Lightstone and Brian Howe, an acoustical engineer, to support their case.
Kincardine News Staff
15 May 2007