The Grey-Bruce Medical Officer of Health believes the setbacks for wind turbines should be longer.
Dr. Hazel Lynn told Huron-Kinloss Twp. council at the Aug. 16 township meeting that she would recommend longer setbacks for wind turbines. She said she thinks it’s wrong that municipal councils are unable to determine the setbacks.
Lynn said that, within buildings, Low Frequency Noise (LFN) which comes from wind turbines, could cause health affects, such as inner-ear problems. She said those affects would be less if the setbacks were longer than the provincial setback of 550 metres. She added that symptoms are the same around the world but the problem is that not much is known about wind turbines.
“I think we should stop putting (wind turbines) in until we know more about them,” said Lynn, at the council meeting.
The following day, Lynn told an Owen Sound Sun Times reporter that her comments were misquoted from the council meeting on a local radio station. “What I probably said is we should have longer setbacks, and if you can’t have longer setbacks, well, then maybe we shouldn’t be having them (more wind turbine developments) right now.”
She said European research is ahead of that being done in Canada and minimum setbacks there are between 1.2 and 1.5 kilometers. Europeans are concerned about low frequency sound waves, which are amplified in hilly terrain.
“Basically at this point in Canada, we’re not measuring those things. To say that they can’t hear it so it doesn’t affect you isn’t quite true, probably,” she said. “I suggested to Huron-Kinloss that if I was making the decision – which I’m not – and if I was putting in more wind turbines, I’d want them at least a kilometre or a kilometre and a half distance.”
Also, Huron-Kinloss council was asked to participate in a joint meeting with the Municipality of Huron East and any other municipalities affected by proposed wind farms.
Huron East Council received a request to pass regulations controlling development of wind farms and Huron East was asked to create a bylaw regulating LFN. The Huron East Council is hoping to discuss the feasibility of investigating a LFN bylaw or some other forms of regulations with other municipalities.
Coun. Don Murray said Huron East would take the “test” LFN bylaw to a judge to see if it would stand up in court. He added his support to participate in a joint meeting with other municipalities.
“I agree, we should be participating in these meeting. A low frequency noise bylaw could be a benefit to us,” said Coun. Jim Hanna.
Murray agreed to take part in the meetings. He is also representing the municipality on a Windmill Working Group with Arran-Elderslie. At the July council meeting, Murray and Coun. Anne Eadie was appointed as representatives on the working group. However, since that time, Eadie has indicated she can no longer sit on the committee. Mayor Mitch Twolan agreed to sit on the committee in her place.
Meanwhile, township residents continue to express their concern to council with letters about the Bluewater Wind Power Project that could see 50 wind turbines located between Hwy. 21 and Lake Range Drive.
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