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Unifor must submit partial turbine noise test results

PORT ELGIN – No word if Unifor met a July 21 deadline to turn over partial test data from the monitoring of operations of its Port Elgin wind turbine to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) as requested.

In a July 14 letter, made public by Saugeen Shores CAO David Smith at the July 24 town council meeting, MOECC District Manager Rick Chappell asked Unifor for all of the data collected to date.

Unifor missed a June 30 deadline and claimed there’s insufficient data from the testing done to date to make a valid assessment in accordance with the Ministry’s Compliance Protocol for wind turbine noise.

“Based upon the data submitted, the ministry will determine if there is sufficient data to assess compliance or determine if mitigation should be implemented until a full immission audit can be completed,” Chappell said in his letter. (Chappell is on holidays until Aug. 8, and at press time, no one in his office had responded to a request for information.)

Since it began operating five years ago, hundreds of noise complaints – mainly health-related – have been lodged with Unifor and the MOECC by turbine neighbours. Faced with the growing list of complaints Saugeen Shores Council appealed to the MOECC and Ontario Ombudsman to push for long-promised noise testing, and to make it mandatory if Unifor does not finally comply.

In his letter, Chappell noted that Unifor proposed to reinstall sound monitoring equipment at two locations in September when ambient noise will be lower with a greater probability of higher wind speeds, and it would continue to collect data over the summer at monitoring equipment located north of the Unifor Family Education Centre.

Two monitoring stations were located south of CAW Rd., but there apparently are plans to move one of the test equip,net sites to a new location north of CAW Rd. near Unifor’s sports fields.

Chappell told Unifor that the ministry expects a full and complete report for all three locations be submitted as early as possible in the fall of this year so a full assessment can be done of the turbine operations.