Representatives from Samsung-Pattern told councillors and an audience of concerned citizens that a computer program error was to blame for inaccurate information provided by the company on the Armow Wind Project.
Samsung-Pattern’s Jody Law made the claim at a Nov. 21 meeting of council, following a delegation by Scott Duncan of the Armow Concerned Citizens Group that called for action after a Nov. 12 open house for the Armow Wind Project revealed Samsung-Pattern had reported industrial wind turbines to be further from homes than they actually are.
Duncan, who has been a citizen representative on the Multi-Municipal Wind Turbine Working Group for about two years, also pointed out the report released by Samsung-Pattern was not authored or reviewed by engineers registered with the Professional Engineers of Ontario (PEO).
“I would like to point out that I am not a professional engineer,” Duncan said. “But as I was surprised to discover, it turns out neither is the author of the document, nor are either of the individuals who approved it. Their backgrounds are in engineering, but neither are registered with the Professional Engineers of Ontario.”
The PEO requires the seal of a registered engineer in matters related to work related to life, health or public welfare. Duncan continued that endorsement by a professional engineer would include an obligation to adhere to a code of ethics, which he claimed were not being followed by the report.
“An engineer will act at all times with ‘fidelity to public needs,’ and that they will ‘regard the practitioner’s duty to public welfare as paramount,'” Duncan said. “If this document was sealed by a P.Eng, know a complaint would have been filed with their ethics board.”
Duncan also said representatives from Samsung-Pattern admitted the reports provided at the project’s final open house on Nov. 12 included information that was out of date, and their calculations of sound output may have been undervalued by at least 3 decibels for each receptor.
“The noise calculations should be based on a noise emission of 106dB(A) for each turbine,” Duncan said. “This would increase the calculated noise levels for most of the receptors above MOE (Ministry of the Environment) Noise Guidelines.”
Duncan also claimed a receptor included in the project was listed by Samsung-Pattern noise impact assessment as being more than 800 metres from the nearest homeowner, though measurements sanctioned by the Armow Concerned Citizens Group concluded the turbine was in fact less than 400 metres away.
“This problem repeats itself multiple times,” Duncan said.
Duncan called for council to “demand” action from Samsung-Pattern.
“Council must act proactively and with diligence and scrutiny to ensure that past mistakes are not inflicted on residents here in Armow,” he said. “The Enbridge project, for all of it’s failures and repercussions on our community, is your ultimate justification in holding Samsung/Pattern to the most critical and thorough professional scrutiny, in order to avoid propagating another such disaster on this Municipality’s citizenry.”
Duncan proposed council demand a new sound impact assessment bearing the seal of a registered professional engineer.
“It should also include a statement that guarantees that this project will have no adverse health impacts on the residents within the Municipality,” he said, adding the new document must then be presented and a new 90 day review period must commence.
Duncan also asked the Municipality of Kincardine to conduct an independent peer-review of the new document, with expenses paid for by Samsung-Pattern. The municipality would also notify the renewable energy approvals (REA) board and inform them a new 90-day review period must commence.
Duncan urged council to include a clause in their Memorandum of Understanding with Samsung-Pattern whereby a Dispute Resolution Protocol is clearly defined “to the satisfaction of the Municipality.”
Duncan’s delegation drew a mixed response from councillors.
Ron Coristine, who also sits on the Multi-Municipal Wind Turbine Working Group, said the recently-discovered inaccuracies have prompted him to wonder if additional mistakes had previously gone unnoticed.
“Given that there were inaccuracies, I think its only fair and just that we have another open house,” said Jacqueline Faubert. “The final open house needs to include accurate information. That’s absolutely crucial.”
Ken Craig said he was waiting to make an assessment on the situation until he had heard from Samsung-Pattern.
“As with every good debate, there are always three sides, at least,” he said.
In his subsequent delegation, Law said the inaccuracies were limited to Appendix F of the report, with results in that section having been formulated by a computer program.
“You can imagine the complexities of a sound program interpreting data,” Law said, prompting Coristine to walk out of the municipal chamber.
“All of those maps show correct turbine locations and labels,” Law continued, adding the errors in the report “had to do with the way these tables are formatted.”
Law also said the revised report would be made available online in about a week, and would be public information. He also fired back at claims the project would automatically continue after a 90-day review period, calling the interpretation “absolutely not true.”
“This is not a case of ‘this table is wrong, so everything else is wrong,'” Law said. “We’ve been investigating this as soon as we heard comments from Scott and his group.”
Law said Samsung-Pattern remains excited to be involved in the community, and cited sponsorships including Kincardine Scottish Festival and Bluewater Summer Playhouse as examples of their local involvement.
Craig responded to Law’s assurance that reports are subjected to many peer-reviews by urging him to pursue another one. “It’s doing all you can to satisfy citizens’ concerns,” said Craig.
“We can look into it,” replied Law. “I can’t say yes or no, but if it’s important to the community, it’s worth looking into.”
Law also addressed Randy Roppel’s inquiry as to why Samsung-Pattern does not address the municipality’s policy in terms of boundaries between homes and wind turbines.
“Never did we come in and say we wont respect the policy,” Law replied. “At no time did we say we were going to ignore it.”
Deputy Mayor Anne Eadie endorsed the idea of a new third-party review of Samsung-Pattern’s report.
“We need to be assured,” Eadie said. “Our community needs it.”
Mayor Larry Kraemer was cautious about demanding Samsung-Pattern fund new studies.
“If we’re going to ask them to fund a sound study, are we going to accept it? It’s not fair to ask for that if we are not,” Kraemer said.
“I think the question should be asked of Samsung,” Roppel replied. “Are they going to accept it if it’s not in their favour?”
Councillors agreed they would accept the results of an additional study if Samsung-Pattern agrees to the process
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