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Questions surround wind turbine removal near Chatham airport

More questions than answers remain following Transport Canada’s decision late last week ordering the removal of eight wind turbines from the area surrounding the Chatham-Kent municipal airport.

“It is unprecedented,” says Chatham-Kent-Essex MPP Rick Nicholl. “Nowhere in the province of Ontario has a wind turbine company been told to take down their turbines.”

Nicholls believes concerns over the airport turbines were long standing and he is pleased the issue has been addressed.

“We’re seeing it as a victory, a small victory, but a victory none the less,” says Nicholls.

David Timm, vice president of GDF Suez Canada Inc., says the eight turbines reviewed by Transport Canada are part of a 55 turbine project.

“We received a letter from Transport Canada this morning, late this morning,” says Timm.

He says the order by the federal agency came as a surprise to the turbine owners, three days after the order was issued.

“We’re reviewing the information contained that we received late this morning,” says Timm. “We’ll be seeking the opportunity to discuss the matter with Transport Canada as soon as possible.”

In the meantime, a public meeting is set for 7 p.m. Monday evening at the Wesley United Church on Bloomfield Road in an attempt to drum up support against wind energy in Chatham-Kent.

“In my view I think you’re building a dump in front of my house because you’re decreasing my property value along with health concerns,” says meeting organizer Kyle Marchand.

Organizers are worried if height restrictions were overlooked on the eight turbines being removed, that other regulations may also have been ignored on other standing turbines.

“I hope it’s not the poor farmer who ends up with the bill but it’s a good start and some type of progression on this matter.”

In an email to CTV News, Transport Canada confirmed that the wind turbine company, GDF Suez Canada, is responsible for the lowering or removal of any impeding wind turbines, and not the land owners, or the municipality.