SARNIA – Wind turbine opponents say they are hopeful about a pair of upcoming legal challenges.
Ontario’s minimum setback distance for turbines is being challenged this month in court by Ian Hanna of Prince Edward County, and next month an appeal of the approval of a Chatham-Kent wind farm goes before Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal.
“We are really hopeful Ian Hanna is successful,” said Ann Towell, a member of the Dawn-Euphemia chapter of Wind Concerns Ontario.
“It’s encouraging to know someone in Chatham-Kent is stepping up to the plate too.”
Chapter members pledged about $1,000 to Hanna’s legal fund and Towell said members are expected to consider contributing more when they meet this week.
Hanna’s lawyer, Ian Gillespie, spoke at a large public meeting the chapter organized last June in Alvinston, Towell said.
“I guess he’s won many major battles,” she said. “It sounded like he’s a guy who knows what he’s doing.”
Officials with the Sydenham Wind Energy Centre are scheduled to be at Dawn-Euphemia Township council Jan. 17 with a project update, said administrator-clerk Michael Schnare.
After it was proposed back in fall 2008, council asked the province to place a moratorium on wind farms and study their impact on human health.
Since then, approval for wind farms has been taken away from municipal councils by Ontario’s Green Energy legislation.
“If they had their druthers,” Schnare said about council’s current position, “they would still like to see the province undertake an independent assessment to evaluate whether there in fact are any health effects from wind turbines.”
Towell said members of the chapter plan to address township council in February.
“We just want to remind them that we’re not asleep and we’re still concerned about health issues.”
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