PORT ELGIN – The CAW – or Unifor as it’s now known – has no intention of shutting down its wind turbine in Port Elgin after council formally requested it do so a week ago.
Ken Bondy, the union’s national coordinator for health, safety and environment, said Tuesday he’s received notice of the Saugeen Shores resolution, but the turbine will not be shut down.
“Our message is still the same,” he said. “We are doing everything possible to address the concerns of our neighbours, but we have at this time absolutely no intention of shutting down our wind turbine.”
Last Monday, council passed the resolution after hearing from several families who live near the turbine, located at the CAW Family Education Centre. The complaints consist of headaches, vertigo, sleep disruption, high blood pressure and dizziness.
There are at least 100 homes within the provincially mandated setback of 550 metres. Council has long fought against the establishment of the turbine, which began operating in March.
Bondy said the union has been “doing everything possible” to address the concerns from neighbours.
“We do have a complaint protocol in place and we’ve looked at those complaints, we investigate them with our staff immediately, and then those complaints are then forwarded onto the ministry of environment,” he said.
The union has also been working with the manufacturer to see what can be done, he added, like adjusting the speed of the turbine or its hours of operation. He said the turbine is the most technologically advanced that was available at the time.
“It works on a synchronized gear system, which means that there is no real gear box, there’s no big oil concern up there,” Bondy said. “We don’t have any oil in that, where people have said there are concerns about fire. We went to the most latest advanced wind turbine we could buy at the time, and will continue to keep working with the manufacturer to make any adjustments.”
On Monday, members of Saugeen Turbine Operation Policy held a protest in Port Elgin, attracting nearly 300 people. Bondy said union officials did not attend because they were in Toronto wrapping up the convention that saw the merger of the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada.
The union is not interested in engaging in a public relations war, he said.
“Our concern is really addressing any legitimate complaints that our neighbours may have. We are certainly not interested in getting drawn into the propaganda war of this study versus that study and things of that nature. We have to rely on the credible scientific information that we have, and so we’re going to continue to stick with our statement, which is wind turbines are a way of creating clean, renewable energy and is the way to power the future.”
Bondy said the next step will involve reaching out to Saugeen Shores council “and asking them if we could meet with them and discuss this resolution further and any other concerns they may have.”
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding