West Lincoln council asked to collect noise data for huge wind farm

Groups ask council to collect noise data

[Photo: Amanda Moore]

Niagara This Week, January 13, 2016

By Amanda Moore

WEST LINCOLN — With some of the largest industrial wind turbines in North America rising from the rural West Lincoln landscape, two citizens groups are asking the local government to begin monitoring noise.

“We want the township to appreciate the scope of the risk we are about to run with one of the largest wind projects in North America next to such a densely-populated area,” said Mike Jankowski, chair of the West Lincoln Glanbrook Wind Action Group (WLGWAG), which made a joint presentation to West Lincoln’s planning, building and environmental committee Monday with Mothers Against Wind Turbines (MAWT). “There are some risks that aren’t mitigated and we require the township to start collecting data both before and during the turbines.”

Jankowski, who said he has personally experienced health effects related to the HAF Wind Energy project already in operation in West Lincoln, said it’s a matter of when, not if, those living near the Niagara Region Wind Farm currently under development will experience adverse health effects. The groups say the noise data will help establish a clear picture of what residents are dealing with.

“This data can be used for a number of things,” explained Jankowski. “First and foremost, it can be used to aid in a response if necessary. To indicate what people are being subject to.”

What began as a mild ringing in the ear turned into dizziness and decreased mental capacity for Jankowski. His teenage daughter has also suffered debilitating migraines with stroke-like symptoms. The problems have been ongoing for the past year and a half.

WLGWAG and MAWT came before committee with several asks Monday, the main of which was for a commitment from the municipality that it will protect the community.

“The township should act immediately to manage risks by collecting measurement data about noise emissions in our community,” Jankowski said. “We need to monitor full range noise on an ongoing basis to provide an understanding of what people are subject to in their homes.”

The groups are requesting the township immediately look into ways of establishing and collecting noise data, to establish an advisory committee to hear turbine-related concerns and that it presses the government to purchase more sound measuring devices.

Coun. Joanne Chechalk, vice chair of the planning committee, said she was all for collecting noise information but wanted to take the request one step further.

“My concern is that if we do all of this, we monitor all … the municipality can’t do anything, as we all know,” said Chechalk. “There is no mechanism, nothing to say or do. It’s akin to drinking water. After Walkerton happened, we now have policies in place and councils have been trained. So now when water levels are unsafe they are declared that way and we have boil water advisories. There is nothing for wind turbines. If this says that we get to 40 or 60 decibels, what do we do?”

On top of asking for a staff report addressing the concerns of the citizens groups, Chechalk asked that the township request the province to develop and implement a process to handle events where wind facilities exceed the 40 decibel regulation outlined in the Green Energy Act. She also requested the township begin working with opposition critics and establish a province-wide advisory committee, which would pool representatives from municipal governments across Ontario who are dealing with the same issues.

“If it’s a concern, I’m looking for the province to give us a stiff remedy,” said Chechalk. “What happens if it exceeds the levels? Is it safe for humans, for chickens or whoever is in the proximate? We need to know.”

A staff report is expected at the Feb. 8 planning committee meeting which will  outline next steps the township can take.

The groups also encouraged committee to follow on the heels of other municipalities in the province that seek a stall on projects until important questions are answered.

MAWT, specifically, has concerns with numerous changes to the NRWF project currently under development. The Township of Wainfleet has sent a letter to Ontario’s minister of energy questioning why there was no public process on major changes to the project. Both groups pressed West Lincoln committee to send correspondence to that same effect to the province.

“The township should press for answers,” said Jankowski.

Read more here.

Comments

Lynda
Reply

Are there any accoustic technicians reading this blog? Could the actual noise be recorded and saved in a format that could be re-broadcast (loudly) by individuals in other areas of the province as part of a public protest? Perhaps more people would complain about the noise….like those who are getting the benefit of the power without having to live near the turbines. I wonder what it would sound like bouncing off the walls of Queens Park!

Wind Concerns Ontario
Reply

The turbine noise, particularly the inaudible sensation, does not reproduce accurately.

Pat Cusack
Reply

One wonders about the powers that belong to the townships/ counties etc and how they can be recinded by the provincial govt without our consent and where our federal govt is with this. Obviously our rights are overridden and our elected officials nowhere to be seen except for our Mz Wynnes advanced math class. Justin sunny Trudeau is upset about selling arms to the Saudies because they trample the rights of others, do you suppose he could look after our rights. Bernie Cusack

Wind Concerns Ontario
Reply

This is a provincial issue. At the time, over 70 rural municipalities protested the loss of local land use planning powers but the Green Energy Act was passed anyway, with then Premier McGuinty claiming it was the only way to avoid “a patchwork” approach to the much needed green energy plan.

Pat Cusack
Reply

Such a shame to put it mildly! Everything in this country seems to be a “provincial issue” when convenient. Mind-boggling.
Pat Cusack

Pat Cusack
Reply

In the USA they have rights eg GUN Laws, does our constitution not give us some rights as well, one would suppose that our elected officials are there to protect our rights and that federal laws override provincial ones. It certainly seems that provincial laws override township laws so the same must be true for federal ones. While our federal representatives may not wish to step on provincial toes they do have an obligation to do0 so and we need to be on their case.

Lynda
Reply

I believe there is an obscure statute allowing the Feds to step in, but they have never used it and likely never will. As long as the country and the province are bedfellows, we citizens are doomed. …might as well start planning our funerals….HRH and Junior just don’t care. As a teacher and protector of Canadian youth, Junior should be ashamed of himself. The other one just doesn’t have a clue unless the issue has to do with a parade.

Pat Cusack
Reply

The Canadian Bill of Rights 160 guarantees my property rights as well as life, liberty and security of person. Provincial override of local rights contravenes my rights.

Lynda
Reply

:-O Obviously 160 must not be worth the paper it’s printed on or Big Libby needs new glasses. We’re living under dictatorships and travelling down an unknown road at a deliriously high rate of speed to god only knows where and for how long. Is this the beginning of the end of pastoral bliss as we have known it? Perhaps it’s the marijuana that is fogging up the view on the hill.

Pat Cusack
Reply

That’s 1960 not 160

Lynda
Reply

heh heh…good thing you straightened that out!!

Theresa
Reply

Who will collect the data? Then what? Data was collected a few years back in the Clear Creek area. I believe there was a problem with the monitoring. This might be something to look into first. Don’t forget to report to the Action Spills Center 😉

Johana
Reply

Evert so grateful that you still remember the Report of Sound data in the Clear Creek community. One of the recommendations by the technician who set up the data gathering instruments was that “further data gathering was necessary – attended measurement” because the report was based on unattended measurement. AND, the MoE –> MoECC report was disputed by a professional engineer who set up the very same equipment as the MoE AND used the very same protocols as the MoE. He said the Clear Creek/ Cultus/ Frogmore IWTs were OUT of COMPLIANCE ~ 56% of the time while the MoE said the IWTs were out of compliance ~ 16% of the time. BUT, the USUAL NOTHING has been done to unravel the discrepancy.

In the mean time, we escape as many hours away as possible and are constantly alert to the adverse effects the IWTs are producing in our bodies – the loss of balance being one of the worst to cope with.

All the best to all Wind Warriors who still have the presence of body and mind to keep up the good struggle.

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