The acceptance of Ministry of Environment (MOE) noise regulations by an Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) panel in Kincardine will not deter Amaranth resident Paul Thompson in his fight against a second transformer at the Canadian Hydro Developers substation.
Mr. Thompson, one of a handful of residents living near the substation, is a party to the scheduled Sept. 11 Amaranth OMB hearing.
At Kincardine, Hearing Officer J.P. Atcheson preferred the evidence of Enbridge Inc.’s consultants to that of opposing information, including testimony from a Mr. Brownell of Amaranth and neighbours of wind farms in Nova Scotia and near Goderich.
As well, the Board accepted the MOE information that noise levels from the turbines comply with ministry guidelines.
Mr. Thompson said he had also reviewed the OMB decision to approve zoning for Enbridge’s 181.5 megawatt wind farm, and having not found any reference to transformer opposition, surmised that residents are not opposing substations because they don’t live anywhere near them.
The Kincardine decision might have been a partial victory for both sides of the issues. Whereas Enbridge had sought zoning for a total of 154 turbines between Kincardine and Saugeen Shores to the north, Enbridge voluntarily withdrew from the 22 for Saugeen Shores, leaving 132 for Kincardine.
At the end of the OMB hearing last week, the total number of turbines for Kincardine was reduced to a maximum of 110.
Although the Board delivered a favourable decision, it said it “will withhold its final Order pending notification from the Municipality that the Board’s directions have been completed.”
Those directions include amendments to the bylaws to reduce the number of turbines, and to draft a “dispute resolution protocol,” among other minor things.
Perhaps of significance to the upcoming Melancthon II hearings, the Board made it clear that its role is primarily to ensure that (the wind farm) would be good landuse planning. It said in effect it does not have the power to override provincial guidelines.
In respect of noise, the Board said the test before it had to be whether or not the wind farm would be constructed “in such a manner than one can reasonably expect that a Certificate of Approval for noise can be secured from the Ministry.”
In Amaranth, Mr. Thompson has been adamant that the transformer noise at his nearby home exceeds the guidelines from time to time.
His appeal to the OMB is of the zoning for a second transformer at the substation.
By Wes Keller
26 July 2007
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