Deeply concerned with continuing delays in acoustic audits of UNIFOR wind turbine operating compliance in Port Elgin, and with ongoing citizen complaints of alleged turbine-related health concerns, Saugeen Shores councillors set new deadlines for the release of test results to show how the turbine is operating..
The Town will write the local office of the Ministry of Environment & Climate Change (MOECC), the MOECC Minister and the Ombudsman of Ontario asking for a mandatory acoustic audit by the end of the year, or, at least, the release of preliminary voluntary audit results by that time.
Members of the Saugeen Shores committee of the whole endorsed the action, championed by Deputy Mayor Luke Charbonneau, at the Oct. 11 meeting.
Backed by MOECC March 2013 test results revealing potentially non-compliant noise emissions from the UNIFOR turbine, the Town has repeatedly asked for acoustic audits, only to have test and result release deadlines come and go. Earlier this month, the MOECC advised UNIFOR it expects voluntary acoustic testing to be complete no later than May 30, 2017 and results submitted for Ministry review one month later.
After outlining the chronology of missed dates for testing and results release, Charbonneau said he had “…virtually no confidence that the testing dates that have been given to us at this point will stick…,” and noted the Town continued to receive complaints from area residents about health concerns due to the turbine operation.
With 50 resident complaints about the turbine since February, Charbonneau quoted one Sept. 29 complaint about the turbine’s noisy “thumping pulse.”
Charbonneau suggested the Ombudsman ought to look carefully at the MOECC because “something is broken” in the MOECC system as it doesn’t seem to ever demand results of the long-promised acoustic audit tests.
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