Two appeals have been launched against the recent provincial approval for a 15-turbine project by St. Columban Energy LP.
Scotty and Jennifer Dixon, of Beechwood Line and Thomas and Catherine Ryan, of Summerhill Road, will be represented by Julian Falconer in an appeal of the St. Columban wind project, arguing that the Renewal Energy Approval violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Rob Tetu, of Huron East Against Turbines (HEAT), said that while the anti-turbine group is directing the lawyers and pulling together community support and fundraising for the appeal, the two couples have agreed to launch the appeal because “they are the most severely affected and agreed to let their names stand.”
The 20-page notice of appeal, filed July 16, states that the wind project violates the appellants’ right to security since it has a “serious adverse impact on the appellants’ physical and psychological integrity.”
The notice questions the process for granting the REA since it does not require the director of the Ministry of the Environment to consider potential health effects and does not comply with the precautionary principle, “which is a principle of fundamental justice.” As well, the process does not require St. Columban Energy LP to “conduct any form of study to determine adverse health effects on neighbours living in close proximity to the proposed project.”
The notice also points out that the province has not applied the precautionary principle when selecting 550 metres for a minimum setback for industrial wind turbines, “acting in an arbitrary manner” and placing the “evidentiary burden on the appellant to prove that there is serious harm to human health from the project.”
The appeal by the Dixons and Ryans also disputes four terms and conditions of the REA including setback from residents, noise performance limits and compliance with noise emissions acoustic audits and operation and maintenance.
As well, the appeal asserts that the renewable energy project approval will cause serious harm to human health, listing the health effects included under the term “wind turbine syndrome.”
“Research has demonstrated that health effects are likely caused by exposure to infrasound, low frequency noise, audible noise, visual impact and shadow flicker. Serious harm to human health is not limited to direct impacts, but also includes indirect impacts which increase the risk of developing significant disease and health effects. These serious health effects are increased when a residence is within two kilometres of an IWT,” says the notice of appeal.
The notice adds that the MOE has recognized that industrial wind turbines generate noise that causes discomfort to residents in close proximity to turbines with health effects “so substantial that residents have been forced to abandon their homes and that projects owners have also purchased residents’ properties so as to silence their health concerns.”
The appeal also points out that the noise modeling used by St. Columban Energy LP is not in accordance with methods outlined by the ministry and therefore, under predicts the sound levels at noise receptors.
“The combined effect of the errors made in developing the model and applying its results leads to a conclusion that the project will exceed the Ministry of Environment sound limit of 40 dBA. As such, the project will cause serious harm to human health,” says the appeal.
A similar appeal was also launched by the Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group and Harvey Wrightman, the same appellants recently heard at an environmental review tribunal in Seaforth appealing the REA of a 40-turbine wind project in Bluewater and Huron East by Varna Wind Inc. MLWAG and Wrightman will be represented by Eric Gillespie. Their 39-page notice of appeal was filed July 17.
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