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CAW in spat over Port Elgin turbine plan; Neighbours fear it will be noisy and dangerous

Town residents near the proposed site of a wind turbine on the CAW’s conference centre property are gearing up for a fight, saying it will be noisy, costly and dangerous.

“We’re shocked. We absolutely don’t want it to happen. There’s a whole long list of reasons why,” said resident Paul Krane. “We’re scared for our health and our property values.”

Construction of the 76-metre tall turbine near the Family Education Centre is scheduled to start Friday. The union plans to feed the energy generated by the turbine into the power grid under the province’s feedin tariff program to help offset energy costs at the centre, which is about 325 kilometres north of Windsor and used for conferences, board meetings and training.

The Town of Saugeen Shores originally rejected the CAW’s zoning application, but the Ontario Municipal Board overturned council’s decision in 2007. The project received approval from the Ministry of Environment before the passage of the Green Energy Act, which means it’s exempt from the act’s requirement that turbines be at least 550 metres away from residences.

The anti-industrial wind turbine movement is gaining steam in Ontario.

Concern over the province’s push to build more became a major issue in October’s provincial election. Some residents living near wind turbines complain of deteriorating health, flashing lights, noise and declining property values.

Dean Fowler, the director of the Family Education Centre, said residents have nothing to worry about.

“We feel comfortable with it, with the government giving us the blessing. That’s what we’re basing it on,” he said. “We’ve done our studying and our homework and we’re pretty confident.”

Fowler said the OMB and the Ministry of the Environment approved the location of the turbine based on the most up-to-date information available about the possible effects on human health. Even though the turbine is closer to residences than the Green Energy Act allows, he said it still meets its stricter standards for noise volume.

Fowler said the turbine can’t be any farther away from residences because the property is too small.