Presenters offered their concerns about the proposed Armow Wind development during the initial two days of testimony, Dec. 19-20, at the Environmental Review Tribunal appeal hearing in Kincardine.
The majority said they are against the industrial wind turbines, while one offered a viewpoint in favour.
Speaking at the second day of testimony, Dec. 20, Dan Norman said he lives with his wife and two children on the east-half of Lot 5, Concession 9, Kincardine Township, within the Armow Wind project area, and is concerned about the possible health effects and safety because of that proximity.
“There is room for alternative energy if it’s built responsibly and not in residential areas,” he said. “I think Kincardine has done its part, providing clean, reliable energy in the province. We have Bruce Power – the largest nuclear generating plant in the world – and possibly a DGR (Deep Geologic Repository for low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste),and we have 115 industrial wind turbines.”
He said the turbines are eyesores that are destroying the look of the municipality.
“I moved to the family farm to get away from the town and the industrial area,” said Norman. “I admire the beautiful landscape and the quiet of a still night.
“We are stressed about how our lives will change with this Armow Wind project. It has caused tension between neighbours, friends and municipal officials.”
He said if the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE)’s job is to safeguard the health of the public, it should stop this project until all studies, currently under way regarding the health effects of wind turbines, have been completed.
Alexandria Pike, counsel for the approval holder, Samsung Pattern Armow Wind Ontario GP Inc., said various aspects of Norman’s presentation are outside the jurisdiction of the tribunal.
Danielle Meuleman, counsel for the director of the MOE, said she has concerns about material referred to by the presenter and objected to excerpts from that material being allowed into the record.
She also objected to witnesses stating that their opinions are based on articles which have not been allowed into evidence.
Tribunal chairperson Maureen Carter-Whitney noted the concerns and objections, and said the tribunal will be taking them into account.
The next presenter, Matthew Sheridan, also lives within the Armow Wind project area, and said he has growing safety concerns due to evidence of health effects for people living in close proximity to wind turbines.
“I will be directly affected by the industrial wind turbines, with one to be built behind my house less than one kilometre away, and two others less than two kilometres away,” he said.
He moved away from the city due to a strong reaction to industrial noise, and is concerned he will suffer from health effects connected to wind turbines.
“I have a real concern about how this will affect my health,” he said. “I live in the country where I expect peace and quiet. I don’t expect to have a great big ferris wheel next to my house interfering with my space.”
He said industrial wind turbines cause serious health damage when built too close to people’s homes, and that is a criminal act against the public, by the government agencies allowing it.
“Common sense needs to prevail,” said Sheridan. “The onus should be on the MOE and the wind companies to prove people’s health will NOT be affected; and not let big business push people around in Ontario.
“It’s not about money; it’s about my family’s well-being and your family’s well-being.”
Pike again noted several issues in evidence which are outside the scope of the appeal. “But I understand the tribunal will be taking this into account,” she said.
Speaking at day one of testimony, Dec. 19, Elizabeth Bellivance of WAIT-PW (We’re Against Industrial Turbines – Plympton-Wyoming), spoke out against industrial wind turbines because they affect the public’s physical health and mental well-being.
She said the Ontario government knows about the adverse health effects of industrial wind turbines but will continue to allow them, “until individuals stand up and prove serious harm to human health.”
Bellivance said her life has been impacted profoundly since she heard industrial wind turbines would be built in her community.
Jutta Splettstoesser is a cash crop and livestock farmer in Kincardine, and saw her first wind turbine in Germany in 1980.
She lives near the 115 Enbridge turbines, and has toured wind farms in Ridgetown and Grouse Mountain. She has experience with wind energy and travelled to Germany in 2012 to view a 7.6-megawatt turbine.
“I am well aware of the wind energy issues in our community,” she said. “Our farming corporation rents some land in the Armow Wind project area and we will work that land around the proposed turbines. I have no health concerns about the project, and it should be allowed to move forward.”
“You are not a participating land owner in the Armow project?” asked Pike.
“No,” said Splettstoesser.
“The appeal holder has not asked you to come here today?” asked Pike.
“No,” said Splettstoesser.
Asha James, counsel for the appellants, Ken and Sharon Kroeplin, asked how far Splettstoesser’s property is from the Ripley and Enbridge wind projects.
“We are 10 kilometres from the Ripley project,” said Splettstoesser, “and 20 kilometres from the Enbridge project.”
“If you had wind turbines 550 metres from your house, would you have concerns?” asked Meuleman.
“No,” said Splettstoesser.
Dave Fritz told the tribunal that he and his wife live within the Armow Wind project area and are concerned about adverse health effects and public safety.
He has two small turbines (each is two-kilowatts in size) on his property and has had problems with the noise from them in the gusting wind.
“But we can turn them off because we operate them,” he said. “These Armow turbines, we’ll have no way to reach the operator to turn them off if there are problems.”
Fritz said he has visited existing wind turbine sites and been bothered by the noise, as well as the infrasound and low-frequency noise.
He is also concerned about turbine ice hazards near the sideroads in the area of the project.
“We use Sideroad 25, between Concessions 11 and 12, in Kincardine Township, to access our seasonal property year-round,” he said. “No instrumentation can tell you when the ice hazard exists, and closing that road is not an answer.”
He called on the tribunal for a stay of approval on the Armow project until all health studies have been completed.
The Kroeplins’ appeal is against the Armow Wind Class 4 wind facility, a 92-turbine, 180-megawatt industrial wind farm in Kincardine. It received approval from the MOE director, through the REA process, Oct. 9.
The hearing continues Monday, Jan. 6, at 10 a.m., in Kincardine.
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