The last two witnesses at the Enbridge Ontario Municipal Board Hearing (OMB) gave their testimonies last week.
Enbridge planner William Pol and acoustical engineer Brian Howe, who was involved with Nova Scotia’s Pubnico Wind Farm, spoke on issues already addressed earlier in the hearing.
Enbridge counsel Jane Pepino said Pol kicked off the hearing on June 4, when he discussed the re-definement of the project’s bylaws, with setbacks from homes to be increased by seven metres.
Pepino said he also discussed his ice and blade throw calculations, which the company believes are satisfactory.
Appellant counsel Peggy Hutchison said both sets of bylaws for Bruce and Kincardine Twp. need revisions, including four that are under appeal that won’t have turbines on them.
“Last week’s witnesses were somewhat redundant,” said Hutchison, adding that they did confirm that noise levels could be exceeded at certain sites in the project area.
McCarrel said many of the safety and issues are still under discussion with government agencies.
She said in terms of blade/ice throw, the company confirmed that the “˜risk’ from these issues put roadways within the danger zone. McCarrel said Enbridge’s solution would be to close the roads if problems were to occur, but Chair J.P. Atcheson said he wanted Enbridge to do more work to resolve the issue.
Only two ice detectors are set for the entire project area, which the appellants believe is inadequate. They also wanted to pin-point where the control room would be, as it could be in Alberta, but appellants want to assure safety protocols are clear. Someone local should be able to direct the turbines to be shut down, if issues arise, she said.
McCarrel said they also have no assurance a noise complaint protocol has been finalized, like a 1-800 number to address noise complaints or other issues. She said the chair is also waiting for finalization of the protocol for complaints, which Pol said he wasn’t aware of anything similar existing anywhere.
She said many of the measurements for bylaws have been changed, the text isn’t clear on the new bylaws, which makes them confusing. McCarrel said the chair suggested more revisions be made, leading up to the final arguments this week.
McCarrel said new provincial Ministry of Environment guidelines for noise assessments have surfaced since the hearing began. Along with the ongoing changes and updates, the project has been a moving target that’s hard enough to understand for those involved.
“All this during the course of the hearing,” she said. “It’s just astounding. The general public is not informed at where this project is.”
Late Monday Howe began his testimony, in response to Nova Scotia resident Daniel d’Entremont’s testimony last month, regarding how his family was driven from their home by turbine noise.
Both the appellants and proponents agreed that with the 300-metre setbacks from his home and 10 turbines within a kilometre, a similar project wouldn’t have been approved under Ontario’s guidelines.
McCarrel said the noise readings were 13 db higher than the maximum Ontario standards, which shows that Nova Scotia’s lack of noise regulations had a significant impact on the family. She compared the similarity of the project to Underwood, which will have 18 turbines within two kilometres of the hamlet.
Testimony wrapped up June 5 and the hearing adjourned until June 11, when final arguments from both parties was to begin.
The appellants were to be heard Monday, with Enbridge and the Municipality of Kincardine to be heard Tuesday.
Details will be published in the June 20 issue of the Kincardine News.
Kincardine News Staff
13 June 2007