The Honourable John Gerretsen, M.P.P.
Minister of the Environment
135 St. Clair Avenue, West, 12th Floor
Toronto, Ontario M4V lP5
Dear Mr. Gerretsen:
I have read your letter of May 29th, 2008, in response to my letter requesting you remove yourself from the appeal process of reviewing the Director’s decision to not approve an individual Environmental Assessment for the Wolfe Island Wind Project.
I continue to be amazed that the focus of this government is to implement renewable energy programs, without the slightest regard to the health and safety of its citizens and the protection of wildlife and the environment!
I have raised a number of health and safety issues with you personally, and each time you acknowledged that I was raising valid concerns, yet no changes to the flawed noise regulation 0.Reg 116/01 have been implemented by your Ministry.
The single most adverse health affect of turbines on people is noise, and it is felt worldwide. Yet this government has made no attempt to have Regional Public Health Units and the medical profession involved in properly studying and developing safe setbacks and proper noise regulations to ensure public safety.
Wolfe Island will have 266 residences within 1 km of wind turbines. All of these residents will exceed the 40 dBA noise limit in reality, as they are at or very close to that limit when the noise levels are calculated under the MOE’s seriously flawed guidelines. In addition, the Ministry is not even following their own guidelines of applying the 5dBA penalty for periodic noise, which will result in 238 residences exceeding even the calculated 40 dBA.
The health and well-being of Ontarians should be and must be paramount over the profits for investors. Yet, the determination of safe setbacks and noise impacts on people, are left to planners, acoustical engineers and MOE to resolve. Not one of these professions is qualified to determine a medically safe distance for the siting of wind turbines. Expertise in medicine, the biologic sciences and epidemiology is required.
The province’s “hands off” approach as well, at the planning and municipal level has been irresponsible. It has created anger, distrust and confusion among residents, planners and Councils. Again, issues I raised with you as the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and in particular, the lack of protection laws for people, when this government (under Bill 51) dismantled the Planning Act and Land Conservation Act, thereby allowing turbines to be built close to communities. These concerns were also acknowledged by you as valid, yet no policy changes by your Ministry were implemented.
One wonders how far your bias for the government’s agenda has carried over into other portfolios under your administration.
Experience is already proving that the current MOE process is flawed and untenable. The need to ensure profits for investors’ compromises the process. This government is deliberately putting people, the environment and communities at risk.
In closing, I must say, I am offended by your reference that as a concerned taxpayer, and citizen raising valid issues and concerns of this government’s lack of wind planning guidelines, setback standards and protection laws for people, you have chosen to label me as “opponents to the wind energy project on Wolfe Island”.
I would say that your choice of words in your letters also inflames the divisiveness of the community and certainly does not help to build “Strong Communities” which is also a supported government directive, in having communities work collaboratively together.
Working together means there is a balanced approach between for profit proponents and people, the environment and wildlife. I trust this is the legacy that the Premier is striving to achieve and leave for future generations.
Lynn Moore, Chair
Wolfe Island Residents for the Environment
3 June 2008
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