A high-profile witness took the stand against the Enbridge Ontario Wind Power Project last week.
Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) testimony kicked off on May 8 with Daniel d’Entremont, a Nova Scotia resident, who made national headlines when he, along with his wife and six children, were driven from their home by sounds emitted by turbines at the Pubnico Point Wind Farm project.
With Enbridge’s closest turbine-residence ratio sitting at 450-metres from homes, d’Entremont made the journey from the maritime province to share his experience and recommended 1,000-metre setbacks from turbines to homes, in order to prevent similar problems from impacting Bruce Twp. residents.
He said the closest of the 17-turbines sits only 300 metres from his home, with another seven sitting 400, 500, 700 and 800 metres from his residence. The remaining 10 sit at 1,000 metres or more, which he feels is a healthier distance than what is proposed locally.
d’Entremont said he’s by no means against wind power, but said both developers and the government should take responsibility for ensuring turbines don’t infringe on people’s health or well-being.
“Developers should apply proper setbacks, because this doesn’t need to happen,” he said. “I’m doing my best so it doesn’t happen again.”
Municipality of Kincardine representative Steve O’Melia said increasing setbacks to 1,000 km would make it “impossible”for the project to be constructed in this area.
“Then it shouldn’t be here,” d’Entremont said. “We have room all over Canada for these projects.”
His home was the subject of study by audiologist Gordon Whitehead of Dalhousie University, who argued low-frequency noise can affect the health of some people.
Whitehead’s conclusions were that the noises were clearly audible from inside the home. He also determined that low-frequency sounds emitted by turbines have a questionable impact on people, which may not be addressed by engineering or industrial noise guidelines. It also acknowledges the presence of shadow flicker at sunrise and sunset.
Both O’Melia and Enbridge representative Jane Pepino questioned Whitehead’s study, using a report by Brian Howe, an engineer who did an analysis of the property for Natural Resources Canada.
They said Howe’s study also determined the noise was audible from the home and that weather conditions impacted the ability to hear the turbines.
But d’Entremont took exception to many other details in the report, which he said didn’t reflect the day-to-day experiences he dealt with over the year he lived by the wind project.
In the end, d’Entremont felt the proponent, along with the provincial and federal governments failed in addressing his concerns. He wants the government to purchase his home now, which no one will buy because of the proximity to the farm.
d’Entremont said he made the trip as a guest of local appellants, to give general evidence to the OMB in order to give the chair a unique perspective of what he experienced.
Kincardine News Staff
15 May 2007