(BETHANY) Ward 16 Councillor Heather Stauble says opponents of the recently approved Sumac Ridge wind energy farm near Bethany are determined to “win this case” if the Province grants an appeal.
The group Manvers Wind Concerns (MWC) and the Cham Shan Buddhist Temple filed the appeal on Dec. 23. Coun. Stauble said when five wind turbines for wpd Canada’s Sumac Ridge project were approved in December, the Province virtually ignored the 2,874 comments from the public opposing the turbines.
In an interview on Monday (Dec. 30), Coun. Stauble said she and MWC have received several inquiries from people who said they had not been “properly consulted by the developer” about the controversial wind turbines. The project will include five turbines, but the proposed locations are in direct conflict with the Cham Shan Temple, a potential $100 million project that has been planned for the area for 20 years.
“The irony and tragedy of this is it was supposed to be that the Green Energy Act protected people’s health…now it’s sinking in,” Coun. Stauble said.
She pointed to a provincially appointed study by the University of Waterloo that links sleep disturbance and inner ear problems to wind turbine noise, saying, “It doesn’t matter if it is a direct or indirect link…if people are getting sick, they’re getting sick.”
She said a car seat manufacturer is required to prove the seat is safe for children, but when it comes to wind turbines, “the community is required to prove there are no [adverse] health effects. “It’s backwards.”
She said the impact on the Temple translates to a potential loss of long-term jobs (both in construction and economic spin-off from tourism) and is significant for the Temple, which is designed to mirror the meditation experience of the four Temples in China.
There are four temples, one in Cavan-Monaghan (almost completed) and three more planned in the city. The project is overseen by the Buddhist Association of Canada and could represent an investment of up to $100 million. It is now in jeopardy, as the Buddhists feel the wind turbines would have a negative impact on a temple promoting peaceful meditation.
Sumac Ridge is one of four wind energy farms proposed for the area and is the first to be approved.
Coun. Stauble said the wind energy developers do not have to complete an Environmental Assessment (EA) that is as in-depth as those required by other development projects. Nor, she added, is the Province taking into account the sensitivity of the Oak Ridges Moraine.
“The Province is completely ignoring its own legislation wehn it comes to development near the Oak Ridges Moraine,” she said.
Coun. Stauble said she fully expects the Province will grant the appeal and hopes to know within a couple of weeks. The Province will issue a Notice of Preliminary Hearing to all parties if the appeal is granted.
Those who would like to know more about the legal appeal or would like to make a financial contribution can contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://manverswindconcerns.wordpress.com.
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