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Turbine turmoil mounts despite delayed investigation

A citizen’s group pushing for an investigation into health complaints and wind farms in Huron County says it isn’t giving up, despite a decision to put the research on hold.

“It’s not dead in the water. We are going to continue to work on it,” Jeanne Melady, spokesperson for the group Concerned Citizens for Health, said Friday.

Melady said the group has meetings scheduled next week with Progressive Conservative MPPs Lisa Thompson, whose Huron-Bruce riding takes in Huron County, and Jeff Yurek of Elgin-Middlesex-London, the Opposition health critic at Queen’s Park.

The Huron County health unit was set to launch its investigation this month, inviting Huron County residents who live close to wind turbines to register online for the research.

Some residents have complained to the health unit they’ve suffered from a variety of disorders, including sleep problems, anxiety and nosebleeds since the wind farms started operating.

Huron is home to more than 250 industrial wind turbines, with more under construction.

In announcing the investigation on its website, the health unit said the project was in keeping with its legislative duty to investigate potential health hazards to the population.

It invited both people with health issues and those without to participate.

But at a meeting last week the county health board voted not to proceed with the investigation until it checks with the Ontario government to ensure it isn’t duplicating other studies.

Bluewater Mayor Tyler Hessel, chair of the health board, said the board needs to be careful how it spends its money.

Melady said it’s a case of politicians and bureaucrats getting in the way of badly needed work.

Melady said the citizen’s group is afraid the delay in launching the study will lead to further delays because of other issues facing the board.

The region’s former medical officer of health, Dr. Janice Ownes, who initiated the project, was relieved of her position by the board in March for undisclosed reasons. Her replacement is only filling in for a couple more weeks.

Discussions are under way to amalgamate the Huron County health unit with Perth County’s.

“Talk about turmoil,” said Melady.