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Protest against CAW turbine now April 21

A protest against the CAW’s wind turbine in Port Elgin, originally planned for March 3, is now planned for April 21, Karen Hunter, a spokesperson for STOP, confirmed Tuesday.

STOP – the Saugeen Turbine Operation Policy – plans to follow the same format proposed for the rally cancelled due to extreme wind warnings. It includes a parade of tractors, farm equipment, pickup trucks and other vehicles from Hwy. 21 and Doll Rd. beginning at 1 p.m.

The cavalcade, complete with a police escort, is to proceed south on the highway to CAW Rd., where marchers are to join the group as it makes its way to the gates of the CAW Family Education Centre. The protest is slated to run until 3 p.m. with Dale Goldhawk, a broadcaster and consumer advocate, among the speakers, Hunter said.

The CAW has erected a 76-metre turbine in Port Elgin. Angelo DiCaro, a union official, said Tuesday the unit is ready to go online pending a connection with the electricity grid.

“It looks as though the turbine will be operational sometime in mid April. Don’t have an exact date yet,” he said in an e-mail. The turbine, rated for 800 kilowatts, will be dialed down to produce 500 kWs of energy.

The union is going ahead with the project despite the objections of the municipality and many Saugeen Shores residents.

“We can only hope” the CAW reverses its decision to operate the turbine, Hunter said Tuesday.

“That’s our objective, to keep it in the public eye, to keep the pressure on the CAW and we can only hope with time that they will do the right thing, because we’ve certainly pointed out to them the issues associated with health and with safety relative to the closeness to people. They continue to ignore the evidence placing a turbine that close to people is harmful,” she said.

STOP says about 100 homes are within 550 metres of the turbine, which is the minimum setback set out in the province’s Green Energy Act.

The CAW turbine is exempt from the act since approval was granted before it became law. The union also says the Green Energy Act does not require a setback for a turbine that operates at below 102 decibels at its source and “the union made a conscious decision to constrain the power output of its turbine. As a result of this constraint, the source-point noise levels fall below the 102 db threshold.”