WINDSOR, Ont. – Move over Kokomo, Ind.
A month-long investigation by Ontario’s Environment Ministry proved unable to determine the source of mysterious rumblings that have disturbed dozens of Windsor and Essex County residents.
“Our priority was to determine if an industrial source was causing the vibrations,” said Teri Gilbert, issues project co-ordinator for the local Environment Ministry office.
“We were given data and complaints (from residents) and logged that information. We also shared that information with various agencies. It doesn’t seem the source is an industrial one. We have ruled that out.”
For years, experts in the U.S. studied but were unable to definitively determine the origin of the “Kokomo Hum.” Now, Windsor can join the ranks of communities where the source of vibrations and noise remain a complete mystery.
Theories of what was behind the rumblings included activity related to the salt mines, Zug Island, wind turbines, big rig trucks, freight trains, lake freighters or planes going to and from Detroit’s Metro Airport.
The local ministry office since March 22 logged over 120 phone calls connected to the rumblings, Gilbert said.
“We do not believe it is an industrial source and that was our priority,” she said.
“We will continue to accept complaints that are focused on industry. We will also share the information we have with any agency who wishes to look into this further. But at this point we have determined there is no industrial source.”
The Environment Ministry’s conclusions shocked west-end resident Sonya Skillings who was among the first to publicly complain about the noise which she and her husband have experienced at their home in the 3800 block of Poplar Avenue, just east of Windsor Regional Hospital’s Western Campus.
“I’m very disappointed and very frustrated,” Skillings said. “I’m very surprised they didn’t come up with anything.”
Their family home and neighbours close by are still being plagued with noise and vibrations at all hours and in unpredictable fashion, said the mother of two.
“(Industrial-related) would have been my first guess, for sure,” Skillings said. “If it’s not industrial, then what can it be?
“I’ll talk with my husband and figure out what to do next or where this goes. It’s still the talk of the neighbourhood. “I’ll definitely keep pursuing it and won’t give up. It’s really frustrating not knowing what it is.”
The City of Windsor’s 311 service has fielded calls regarding the rumblings, but simply directed them to the Environment Ministry. The number of calls has not been logged, said a city official.
Lyle Hall, who lives on Gesto Road in Essex, was complained to the ministry about the vibrations.
“If they have investigated every known industrial noise where else can they go?” he said on Friday.
“We are still experiencing them. It’s whenever – in the middle of the night, middle of the day. Sometimes the house shakes. There is no set time for them, so that’s what I think is confounding the issue.”
One Amherstburg resident who lives less than a kilometre from a wind turbine on Sixth Concession Road South was convinced Friday that is the source of her woes.
“I’ve been calling and complaining since February,” said Danai Shinas, a married mother of six.
She described the noise as similar to the bass of a loud car stereo.
“That what’s you feel,” she said. “You get a low key sound in your ear and also a constant low buzz.”
Boralex, which operates the turbines close to her home, sent an official to meet with Shinas in April.
“We did meet with them and they talked about stopping one turbine, but that’s yet to be seen,” she said.
She also complained to the ministry.
“I’d like the ministry officials to live in my house for six months – and then we can talk. It’s not something you can experience just by visiting here for half-hour.”
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