It appears the developer of the North Kent Wind farm was able to carry out construction activities on Sunday, despite being denied an exemption to Chatham-Kent’s excessive noise bylaw.
The Chatham Daily News was contacted by Chatham Coun. Michael Bondy, who said he received calls on Sunday about work taking place at a turbine construction site for the North Kent Wind project, including at night with bright lights being used.
The Daily News reported earlier this month that the developer was denied an exemption to the noise bylaw, due in large part to well over 100 residents who expressed opposition to having construction be carried out overnight as well as on Sunday and holidays.
Pattern Energy, which is developing the project with Korean industrial giant Samsung Renewable Energy, told The Daily News, in a previous email, the exemption was only being sought in case the construction schedule was delayed.
“But, we have remained on schedule, so there’s no need for evening work,” the email added.
When contacted on Monday, Pattern Energy said it was contacting the site team and would respond later in the day. A response was not received by press time.
“If they’re working anyway, why did they bother applying for an exemption that was denied?” Bondy asked.
“Frankly, it’s more of an insult to the rural community,” he added.
Paul Lacina, Chatham-Kent’s director of building services, told The Daily News on Monday, with respect to working on Sundays, the municipal noise bylaw states: “The operation of any construction equipment, in connection with construction, is prohibited.”
The Daily News asked if noise complaints come to his office and Lacina said, the police enforce the noise bylaw.
The Daily News contacted Chatham-Kent police regarding the number of noise complaints it received about turbine construction activity on Sunday.
An email from public information officer Const. Kelly Helbin indicated two noise complaints were documented. The first was at approximately 11 a.m. on Greenvalley Line and another at 11:54 a.m. on Bush Line.
Helbin also noted in the email that “police received numerous complaints on that date and many individuals seem to be under the impression that all work on turbine sites is prohibited on Sundays, regardless of the amount of noise being produced.
“However, the noise of the trucks moving site-to-site is not excessive and workers were allowed to continue.The bylaw does not prohibit all activity on the worksite.”
Helbin noted the incidents are no longer being investigated, but added the reports have been forwarded to the CKPS Community Mobilization Unit.
Water Wells First spokesperson Kevin Jakubec said he received several calls from members of the grassroots citizen group about construction happening at four sites.
“You could hear it,” said Jakubec, adding he personally attended two sites to take pictures and some video of construction taking place that included two cranes being used to lift large sections of a wind turbine.
“If you work, especially this nature of work, you generate noise,” he said.
Jakubec said he also spoke with a resident in the area who could hear transport trucks backing up along the long laneway to a turbine site located two concessions over.
“It was road traffic, which is noisy,” he said.
Jakubec said several residents are aware of media reports about North Kent Wind being denied an exemption to the noise bylaw, which has prompted many to be more aware of what’s happening at the turbine construction sites.