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Wind turbine opponents making their case

The question of whether or not a mother of three autistic children will be called to testify at an appeal of Ontario’s environmental approval of a 92-turbine wind farm in Lambton County is set to be argued Tuesday in Parkhill.

A summons for Sarah Hornblower to testify at Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal hearings into an appeal of the Environment Ministry’s renewable energy approval for NextEra Energy’s Jericho Wind Energy project is the subject of a preliminary hearing Tuesday, 11 a.m., at the North Middlesex Community Centre.

The summons was issued by Sylvan resident Bob Lewis, who is appealing the ministry’s approval for the wind project.

Lewis is being assisted by Lambton Shores resident Marcelle Brooks who declined Monday to comment on details of the summons, but said, “The hearing tomorrow is going to be quite unique, because I don’t believe anyone has ever summoned a witness who has been gagged.”

Last week, Brooks said they had summoned a witness who had agreements with wind companies.

Hornblower, who lives with her family on Ridge Road in Lambton Shores, spoke in public in the past about her concerns that wind turbines planned for the community could impact three of her children who have been diagnosed with autism.

Following Tuesday’s preliminary hearing, the tribunal is scheduled to begin hearings on the appeal Thursday, 10 a.m., at the community centre in Parkhill.

Plans to build additional wind turbines in Lambton County have been opposed by some residents and municipal leaders, along with the Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group and other citizens’ groups.

Lewis said he appealed to the tribunal so objections to the project are “on the record,” and “to let them know we’re not silent, we haven’t given up, we are not giving our consent to this.”

He appealed on the grounds that the wind energy project will cause serious harm to human health and the environment, and he alleges the approval violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Also expected to participate in the hearings are the County of Lambton, Arkona farmer Bill Johnson, and Elizabeth Bellavance, a member of the citizens’ group We’re Against Industrial Wind Turbines, Plympton-Wyoming.

NextEra began construction of the Jericho project shortly after it was approved in the spring.

Suncor is awaiting ministry approval for its proposed 46-turbine Cedar Point Wind project in Plympton-Wyoming, Lambton Shores and Warwick Township.

Lambton County currently has 14 wind turbines in small wind energy projects located in Lambton Shores and Brooke-Alvinston Township.