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Stiff opposition to wind turbine project as council defers decision to March  

Public opposition to several wind turbine projects was intense Feb. 11 as Chatham-Kent council chose to defer its decision to March, following a three-hour discussion.

Among the opponents to a proposal from Gengrowth – which wants to erect five wind turbines in the former Township of Dover, as well as in the former townships of Tilbury East, Harwich and Howard – was Paula Grail, who told council that her son Carson has epilepsy and she worries that the shadow flicker associated with the turbines could set off seizures.

“There is a five-year-old boy with the potential for further health risks,” Grail told council.

Grail, who lives at Mitchell’s Bay, said she’s been told by Gengrowth that shadow flicker would be an issue for a few hours every year.

“I am asking that they are to close down during the flicking hours,” she told council.

Another resident of the area, Wayne Conner, told council that he’s already been affected by his neighbour’s wind turbines and is considering legal action.

Property values drop

Conner said the value of this property has dropped by 10% since the turbines were erected, and he said the noise from the rotating blades can be heard every time the wind blows, “which is not often.”

Conner said projects that harness wind energy are being driven by the provincial government, and he acknowledged that it’s “politically correct to be green today.”

Council also heard from a Simcoe-based biologist, Dr. Scott Petrie, who said Lake St. Clair plays a large role in the migrating patterns of many bird species. Petrie said the installation of wind farms could cause those migration patterns to be disrupted.

He said he’s not against the use of alternative energy sources, such as wind
turbines, but their use along Lake St. Clair would do more harm to the environment than good.

Tom Storey, of Storey Samways Planning, said wind turbines must be ordered years in advance, with or without project approval. Gengrowth is expecting delivery in August.

Storey said he has heard of concerns regarding interference with wireless Internet, TV, radio and cell phones.

And some residents have asked for setbacks, should a turbine fall to the ground, he said.

“If it should fall, the worst-care scenario would probably see it land on farmland,” Storey said.

Storey noted that there are many high communication towers, utility poles and trees within urban centres don’t required the same setbacks.

“We do require that they are designed properly and constructed properly,” he said of the wind turbines.

Local lawyer Doug Desmond asked council for a deferral so he could prepare a proper submission on behalf of his clients.

“A lot of information we needed to respond to was not made available until recently,” he said.

Acting chief administrative officer Gerry Wolting suggested that the issue be deferred to a special meeting on March 25.

Each of Gengrowth’s wind projects would generate 10 megawatts of electricity.

Emily Paige

Chatham This Week

20 February 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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