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Wind turbine study comes too late: critics

Health Canada’s decision to conduct a study to evaluate the relationship between wind turbine noise and potential health effects comes too late, says a Lambton County wind energy opponent.

Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq said Tuesday the federal government wants to look at health effects reported by people living near wind power developments.

“The study is in response to questions from residents living near wind farms about possible health effects of low frequency noise generated by wind turbines,” Aglukkaq said.

The study will focus, initially, on a sample size of 2,000 homes picked from eight to 12 locations in Canada. The results are expected in 2014.

“There’s our problem right there,” said Marcelle Brooks, a member of the Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group. “Most of these projects are going to be up and running within the next year, to year and a half.”

Her group opposes a 92-turbine Jericho Wind Energy Centre NextEra Energy plans to build in Lambton Shores and Warwick Township.

The company is holding a public meeting July 17, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., at Centennial Hall in Watford.

“That’s a real problem for us,” Brooks said about the federal study’s timing, but she added it will be “a step in the right direction, as long as it’s an independent survey and they really do look honestly at this issue.”

Part of the federal research is expected to include obtaining medical information, such as blood pressure, from residents, as well as face-to-face interviews and noise measurements from inside and outside homes.

“We have seen so much evasiveness from our governments and industry on this issue that we don’t have a lot of confidence in what they’re doing, frankly,” Brooks said.

Plympton-Wyoming is one of several Ontario municipalities where councils have voted to ask the province to place a moratorium on new wind projects until an independent health study is carried out.

“It’s about damn near time,” Mayor Lonny Napper said about the federal study.

“We’ve been asking for an independent study and I guess Health Canada would be about as independent as you can get.”

Suncor Energy has plans to build a wind farm with up to 62 turbines in Plympton-Wyoming and Lambton Shores.

Suncor’s Cedar Point Wind Power Project is opposed by a citizens’ group calling itself WAIT P-W and it’s holding a town hall meeting July 31, 7 p.m., at the Camlachie Community Hall.

With files from QMI Agency