WATFORD – As the Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal hears arguments against a wind turbine development near Watford, the project is moving ahead.
Green Breeze Energy’s four turbine 10 megawatt project worth about $22 million is under construction now with the concrete forms already poured and the turbines waiting in Windsor to be installed.
But the Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group filed an appeal of the project.
WAG’s lawyer, Eric Gillespie, says the main focus of the hearing will be the “numerous indirect health effects associated with wind turbines such as sleep disturbance, vertigo, nausea, headaches.”
Gillespie and lawyers for the province are waiting to hear the results of the province’s latest attempt to have the appeal dismissed. The tribunal is likely to release its decision this week. If the hearing moves ahead, arguments will begin in Alvinston Feb. 21.
But there is no requirement to stop work until the hearing is complete.
“You will probably see irreparable harm arguments made on other projects around the area of construction but given that the Middlesex Lambton Wind Action’s claim is based on health and that the health impacts don’t appear to be likely to be triggered until operation begins, we’re still in that phase,” Gillespie says.
“At the same time the company is clearly on notice they’re building completely at their own risk because if the appeal is successful those turbines will likely have to be removed.”
Gillespie says if the hearing continues long enough and Green Energy starts up the wind turbines, the wind action group may try to stop it.
“That is an option. At this point, no decision has been made either way,” says Gillespie. “We have indicated to the tribunal that we may make that motion so it is on everyone’s radar.”
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