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Councillor says Health Canada study on wind turbine noise is a significant victory

(KAWARTHA LAKES) Heather Stauble said even 40-degree Celsius temperatures on Tuesday wouldn’t tempt her to put a wind turbine on her property.

“Absolutely not. I’m sitting here in front of a fan,” she laughed.

And, the City of Kawartha Lakes councillor, who represents Ward 16, says there’s something else to smile about, now that Health Canada has announced it will do a study on the noise effects of wind turbines.

“It’s really significant for us,” she said. “It’s not easy to get Health Canada to do a research study.”

Her ward has been front and centre in the debate about wind turbines for at least two years, with the public taking an active part in protesting wind turbines coming to the area.

Coun. Stauble said while the Province has maintained its restrictions on wind turbines are exceptionally tough (especially concerning setbacks), “that is absolutely not true.”

She maintained that while setbacks, such as 550 metres from residences, can be established “they can be reduced at any time.”

Health Canada announced Monday they will, in conjunction with Statistics Canada study the health effects of wind turbine noise. The study will focus on 2,000 homes and will collect data a such as sleep patterns, heart rates, cortisol levels and blood pressure.

The research will be peer reviewed and the results published in 2014.

Coun. Stauble said the comment period is open for 30 days, “but, there is a push to get it extended to 90 days, to give the international experts a chance to take part.”

She noted there have been 11 peer reviews published, including in medical journals in the last year.

She credits the public’s calls to MPPs and MPs with forcing the federal government to commission the study, which she says is now in its design phase. “This is the time for people to contribute their concerns,” she said.

Health Canada noted in a press release that “It is important that this research be done well and include the testing for low frequency noise, infrasound and other suspected triggers and, importantly, conducted at arm’s length from the wind industry.”

Coun. Stauble said Health Canada came close at one point to adopting Ontario’s wind turbine guidelines, and is glad that didn’t happen. She doesn’t believe wind turbines have any value, period – beyond smaller, personal models that can store wind power in their own batteries and used in remote areas.

“The big ones don’t work off the grid. The turbines are getting bigger, the wind power can’t be stored and they require a backup of coal or natural gas when the wind isn’t blowing,” she said, adding the turbines’ efficiency range is only zero to four per cent.

“I think the Province has treated the whole wind industry issue with a ‘gold rush’ mentality. I hope the federal government imposes a moratorium on them…and, if you have health concerns about something, that’s a reason to stall giving the green light.”

Coun. Stauble encourages the public to visit the link to Health Canada and add their comments and concerns.

“The more people take part, the better designed the study will be. I’m very encouraged the federal government is taking this seriously.”

For more information, visit www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/consult/_2012/wind_turbine-eoliennes/index-eng.php