Residents living near proposed wind turbine farms want a moratorium on further developments until the result of a newly expanded Health Canada study about them are revealed, says Mike Francis of the Alliance for the Protection of the Northumberland Hills.
County residents have been protesting against two five-tower projects proposed in the Centreton and Grafton areas by Clean Breeze and Zero Emission People. One of the projects could be in operation by the end of next year if all approvals are received.
“I think it’s absolutely necessary for the government to do more study,” Francis said in an interview this week, “but first they have to stop further wind turbine development.”
Francis lives near the Grafton-area proposal and fellow Alliance member Mark Dejong, who lives near the Centreton-area project, agrees with him.
“The study is great… but we would appreciate a moratorium… until the consequences of the study are known,” Dejong said.
Last July Health Canada announced it would undertake a health study related to wind turbines “because of the nature of the controversy around the turbines and in an attempt to lay to rest the claims that may, or may not, be true,” Northumberland – Quinte West Conservative MP Rick Norlock said in an interview. But it is up to the provinces to determine what they do with those results, he added.
In a media release, Norlock stated the study will provide “a more complete picture of the potential health impacts of industrial wind turbine noise” and that this is important “because the number of industrial wind turbines has been increasing across Canada.”
A public consultation period was held after the health study was announced last summer and more than 950 responses were received and evaluated before the study parameters were expanded.
“Some of the most apparent changes include adding a sub-study assessment of infrasound and consideration for non-noise related effects in the survey instrument. For example, the questionnaire now includes items related to shadow flicker, warning lights and perceived effects on property value,” Health Canada spokesperson Stephane Shank states in an e-mail in response to questions from this newspaper.
Local Tory MPP Rob Milligan supports the study.
“It is refreshing to see Health Canada giving serious consideration to the individuals who took the time to share their concerns,” Milligan states in a media release. “This indicates to me that Health Canada wants to ensure that their study is comprehensive and truly finds answers to citizens complaints of indirect adverse health effects of wind turbines.
“It is discouraging that the Provincial Liberal government refuses to do the same.”
Like members of the Alliance, Milligan has re-iterated his call for a moratorium on wind turbine development until the results of the federal study are known.
“This government’s complacency continues to put Ontarians at risk,” Milligan stated.
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