Amaranth council is still waiting for a reply to a letter it sent Environment Minister John Wilkinson in April that called for an end “to any further wind turbine projects until the negative impacts of the current wind farm are corrected.”
The letter, over the signature of Mayor Don McIver, was sent April 5 but released only this week.
In outlining seven issues, the letter said the township has always been in support of Green Energy sources, but the siting of the turbines is adversely affecting the “health and wealth” of neighbours.
“It is not the question of what but where are these projects best located so that they do not negatively affect neighboring residents.” As a means of overcoming problems for five to 10 neighboring landowners per turbine/transformer, their families and their animals, the council said developers of industrial wind farms should be required to purchase, rather than to lease, their development property as well as to compensate any neighbours who might still be affected.
In particular, the council is adamant that TransAlta (although not named in the letter) should be required either to purchase the properties of the three neighbours of the transformer substation or to move the transformers.
On locations of turbines themselves, the council says the five km setbacks from shore of proposed offshore turbines demonstrates that the onland setbacks are too close to residences, property lines and roadways.
“The wind turbines need to (be) relocated onto land purchased by the developer with appropriate compensation for neighbouring families along with greater setbacks.
“For example, the newly proposed Whittington wind farm in the Municipality of Amaranth will negatively impact workers in the neighbouring industrial spinach farm operations. Workers will not work in conditions detrimental to their health,” the council says in its letter.
In other references to such as infrasound and noise, the council is faced with the official stance of the provincial government that the noise levels are regulated within guidelines set by the World Health Organization, and there is no scientific basis for a fear of health risks. Wind farm owner TransAlta maintains that its turbines are in compliance with Ministry of Environment regulations, and has recently begun overnight shutting down of any that are likely not to be.
On the other hand, Wind Concerns Ontario recently released a leaked MoE document that appeared to demonstrate that the ministry does not have control.
Against that background, the council has reminded Minister Wilkinson that the township had requested “human and animal health baseline studies and real estate baseline studies” prior to approval of the Amaranth turbines but the request was rejected, and the project was approved in the Ontario Municipal Board process.
Among other issues, the council concludes that: “It was reassuring to hear you indicate that the views and conclusion of our Municipality will be taken into account in any new proposed wind energy development.
“Given the negative impacts of the current wind farm in the Municipality of Amaranth, it is understandable that this Council does not support any future wind turbine installations (eg. Whittington Wind Farm) until the significant problems with the current wind turbines and transformer are resolved by your Ministry,” the letter concludes.
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