The Enbridge Ontario Wind Power Project’s Ontario Municipal Board hearing has entered its final week of testimony.
On May 28, Municipality of Kincardine counsel Steve O’Melia said the OMB heard from David Baker, a professional engineer and “wind prospector” who specializes in shadow flicker and wind modeling.
O’Melia said Baker outlined where the wind resources exist within the municipality and reinforced why the specific locations were chosen for the turbines. Baker was responsible for working with acoustical consultants to revise the project area, to conform with changes that have come along with the progression of the project.
Appellant Kathy McCarrel said although Baker was rebutting atmospheric specialist Dr. Jim Young’s testimony last week, regarding turbine noise and how it differs at various altitudes, Baker is a data expert and doesn’t have the same qualifications.
She said both testimony’s saw conflicting views surface, but it’s up to OMB chair J.P. Atcheson to decide what evidence is relevant.
Baker also confirmed that the options to use two-speed turbines, which could slow if noise limits were exceeded, are not available from the turbine manufacturer as they’re only designed for the European grid. He also said he’s never seen a facility to shut down its turbines due to noise, which was another option presented as a solution.
McCarrel said this confirms their claim that larger setbacks from homes is the real key to the noise issue.
She said Young and Baker disagreed on what should be considered the “˜worst case scenario’ for shadow flicker, against 30 hours recommended by Young, as the German standard.
McCarrel said they also questioned the source and reliability of Baker’s wind data, which was taken from only one of three towers in the project area. She said the amount of data they received was also not enough.
One of the main points, she said, was Baker admitting the turbines would occasionally exceed of the Ministry of Environment (MOE) 40 db noise guidelines, although he added they would be infrequent, trivial and not worth pursuing.
McCarrel said no other industry is allowed to exceed guidelines, so neither should Enbridge.
May 29 saw the appellants call Goderich-area resident Wayne Connor, who lives within 478 and 770 metres from two turbines in the EPCOR Kingsbridge project.
Connor described how the construction of the wind project has negatively impacted the enjoyment of his home, along with attributing it to the devaluation of his property, said McCarrel. She said he described the turbines as “˜in your face’ and outlined how the noise has impacted his family. He also outlined his difficulties with the project’s proponent.
Dr. Al Lightstone, an acoustical engineer involved with the planning of the project, was next to take the stand. McCarrel said his qualifications matched that of their witness the previous week, John Coulter.
O’Melia said Dr. Lightstone’s testimony contested Coulter’s interpretations of the data and argued the project complies with all the MOE guidelines. He said a great deal of analysis and modeling has already been done on the current proposal, which should be approved.
McCarrel said the appellants argued the mapping of the project was not accurate, not punctual, had many mistakes and saw many questions come forward regarding the 1983 maps that were used for positioning.
She said if turbines are greater than 1,000 metres away from homes, no analysis is required. She said Lightstone argued the appellants have over-predicted the impacts of noise from the turbines, although nothing was put forward in writing.
Enbridge had planned to call planner William Pol back on Monday, to re-address some of the issues raised by the appellants.
Brian Howe, a noise expert for Nova Scotia’s Pubnico Wind Farm, was also expected to present on Tuesday, in response to witness Daniel d’Entremont, who claimed his family was driven from their home by nearby turbines.
O’Melia and appellant counsel Peggy Hutchison said testimony could wrap up on Wednesday, with the hearing taking a recess to deliberate before their final arguments.
Both parties expect to issue their final statements on June 11 and 12.
Kincardine News Staff
6 June 2007
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