Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal has turned down a motion to adjourn its hearing into Suncor’s Cedar Point wind project planned for Lambton County.
The tribunal notified the parties in the hearing of the decision Tuesday and said reasons for the ruling would follow.
The hearing is scheduled to continue Jan. 13, 14, 15 and 16 at the Camlachie Community Centre, commencing at 10 a.m.
Lawyers for Kimberley and Richard Bryce, an Aberarder family appealing the province’s approval of the 46-turbine wind project, sought the six-month adjournment to hire an expert to review data in a recent Health Canada study into the health effects of wind turbines.
“The decision is a disappointment, however it was expected,” said Elizabeth Bellavance, a member of the group We’re Against Industrial Turbines, Plympton-Wyoming.
She pointed to comments made in a recent divisional court case in London, by lawyer Julian Falconer, about the system for approvals being flawed.
“If there was ever a reason for a tribunal to grant an adjournment, it was in this hearing,” Bellavance said.
“We need to have unbiased experts access the raw data and provide their expert view.”
Sandra de Jong, a Plympton-Wyoming resident and supporter of the Suncor project, said, “I believe that the speed with which the decision was made speaks for itself.”
She’s participating in the tribunal hearings and was scheduled to make a presentation with her husband, Dean, and Lambton Shores resident John Cook last week, when the motion was heard.
That delayed their presentation until the hearings start up again next month.
“I am not surprised, I am relieved,” de Jong said.
“Now we can get on with the Environmental Review Tribunal hearing.”
The motion was opposed by Suncor, with a company official saying it believed the health summary released by the federal agency is credible, given that it was written and published by Health Canada staff, and a panel of 25 experts.
Suncor’s spokesperson said previously, “We feel that it’s unlikely that a single expert retained by the Bryces will uncover significantly different results than the group that has done this work, especially in the time frame they’re proposing.”
The recently-released study involving 1,238 participants living within two kilometres of wind turbines found no evidence supporting a link between exposure to wind turbine noise and human health. It did find a relationship between increasing levels of wind turbine noise and annoyance.
The Bryce family, and Lambton County, appealed the provincial government’s environmental approval of the 46-turbine Cedar Point wind project Suncor Energy plans to build in Plympton-Wyoming, Lambton Shores and Warwick Township.
The Bryces say they are concerned the turbines will have an adverse affect on their health, and the health of their children, and that the province’s approval of the wind project violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The family’s lawyers pointed to a summary of the Health Canada study released in November they say supports a potential link between health and annoyance caused by turbines.
The motion seeking the adjournment was heard Dec. 18 as part of hearings the tribunal began Nov. 12.
Lambton County’s appeal of the approval for the project raises concerns the wind project’s electricity collection and transmission lines, planned to be built along road allowances, will create traffic safety hazards for the travelling public.
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