Mekker and McRae in their talk spoke about the World Health Organization 2009 report on noise guidelines, and that Health Canada describes noise annoyance as an adverse human health effect. They said studies and data show that for chronically strong annoyance, a causal chain exists – sleep disturbance, sleep deprivation, cascading and deleterious adverse health outcomes, and increased morbidity. “Simply put, the noise which doesn’t stop unless the turbines stop, is an annoyance (leading to serious issues),’’ Mekker said. Mekker and McRae were invited to the meeting by the EOHU.
Two fierce opponents of the Nation Rise Wind Farm in North Stormont on Thursday morning finally got to address Dr. Paul Roumeliotis and the Eastern Ontario Health Unit board.
Ruby Mekker and Tammy McRae during a Zoom meeting told the group in their 20-minute slides presentation that there are adverse health effects for humans caused by industrial wind turbines, and that the EOHU should acknowledge that in a resolution.
But that didn’t happen Thursday.
“This resolution will not be voted on today,’’ EOHU board chair Syd Gardiner said late in Mekker and McRae’s presentation.
Replied Mekker: “No, I agree Syd, we are just bringing it to your attention.’’
Mekker and McRae to conclude their presentation said that the information they had delivered proves that a health hazard exists, and that they want the EOHU to declare the same.
A bit earlier McRae said “everything we have reported are facts. We’re not here to be vindictive or to target anybody.’’
But Gardiner did take umbrage with the approach taken, that has included criticism of the EOHU, and the alleged insufficient action taken.
“Can I ask what the point is here?’’ Gardiner said, interrupting Mekker at one point. Gardiner told the pair that Roumeliotis in 2021 convened a meeting with Ontario Ministry of the Environment officials, Public Health Ontario, the ministry of health and others, and that follow-up report conclusions included the MOE continuing to monitor wind turbines and potential adverse effects.
“We do what we can do (at the local level),’’ Gardiner said. “But at the end of the day we have to work with what (MOE and other) studies show. . .we work on whatever they tell us to work on.’’
He suggested that Mekker and McRae should be directing their report at the Ontario government and the MOE.
Hawkesbury Mayor Paula Assaly, an EOHU director, agreed, a few minutes later saying that presenting to the government and the MOE is a better approach that could affect change, as that more data and information on potential health hazards could lead to future windmill operations being set back further from human population areas.
Said Roumeliotis: “I’ve visited the (Nation Rise) site, I understand there’s annoyance. We’re accepting annoyance. My report has that – I don’t doubt it all . . .we continue to watch over this, we continue to study this, as we are mandated.’’
Mekker and McRae in their talk spoke about the World Health Organization 2009 report on noise guidelines, and that Health Canada describes noise annoyance as an adverse human health effect. They said studies and data show that for chronically strong annoyance, a causal chain exists – sleep disturbance, sleep deprivation, cascading and deleterious adverse health outcomes, and increased morbidity.
“Simply put, the noise which doesn’t stop unless the turbines stop, is an annoyance (leading to serious issues),’’ Mekker said.
Mekker and McRae were invited to the meeting by the EOHU.
Both live in North Stormont, and in mid-June they travelled to Cornwall thinking they would be delivering their presentation, but were surprised to learn once arriving that the meeting had been cancelled.
“We were expecting this might be the case (the EOHU doesn’t) want to address the seriousness of the situation,” said Mekker at the time.
Mekker that morning did speak to Gardiner outside the Sydney St. facility; she told him that it’s an issue of governance, and that “we just want to speak to the board” and should be allowed to do so.
More specifically, Mekker said wind farm opponents have wanted, since 2020, for EOHU medical officer of health Dr. Roumeliotis to retract a letter he wrote several years ago to the Township of North Stormont that included the statement that there are no health risks associated with the wind farm.
The 29-turbine wind farm had construction conclude early in the spring of 2021, and it’s been operational for a year.
The project was allowed to go ahead after lengthy legal proceedings saw the permit for the operation restored after the then-minister of the environment cancelled it due to environmental concerns over the negative effects on local bat populations.
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