The Ontario government’s approval of a four-turbine wind farm near Watford is being appealed.
The appeal of the Zephyr wind farm project was filed by the Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group and the province’s Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) has scheduled a preliminary hearing for Dec. 15, 10 a.m., in the council chambers at the Lambton County buildings in Wyoming.
A hearing is scheduled for Jan. 11 at the same location.
Esther Wrightman, a member of the action group that is opposed to industrial wind farms, said it will be represented at the hearings by Toronto lawyer Eric Gillespie who represented wind opponents earlier this year at an appeal of a Thamesville wind farm project.
The tribunal dismissed that appeal saying opponents failed to show that project would cause serious harm to human health.
“However,” the tribunal added, “the evidence shows that there are some risks and uncertainties associated with wind turbines that merit further research.”
If the tribunal rules a renewable energy project will cause serious harm to human health, or the environment, it can revoke or alter the provincial approval.
Brent Hall, vice-president of strategic planning for the wind farm’s owner, Mississauga-based Green Breeze Energy Inc., said in November that work on the project would continue if an appeal was filed.
Wrightman said group members feel good about having Gillespie helping them with the Zephyr Wind Farm appeal.
“We’re lucky that he keeps his nose to the grindstone on this and keeps chipping away at it,” Wrightman said.
Zephyr Wind Farm is a $22-million, 10-MW project being built near Churchill Line, between Ebenezer and Old Walnut roads in Brooke-Alvinston Township.
The wind group’s appeal will be a
continuation of arguments made in the Thamesville case, Wrightman said.
“The ERT there did say people are harmed by wind turbines, but they said they didn’t know by what extent.”
Wrightman said the wind action group’s arguments against the Zephyr project “will be based mostly on the health issues. On whether people there will be harmed, and just holding the government’s feet to the fire.”
Ideally, Wrightman said, they would like to stop the Zephyr project and have the provincial government “come to the conclusion that these projects are harming people and that they do need to stop and think, and have the studies done.”
The group, and other industrial wind farm opponents, have been pushing the provincial government to place a moratorium on wind farms and commission an independent study of their impacts on human health.
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