Two more Ontario municipalities are Unwilling Hosts to new industrial wind power sites

And why not? Nothing has changed.

Two more municipalities go Unwilling Host to protect citizens from “considerable impacts” of industrial wind power sites. [Shutterstock image]

June 4, 2024

Two more Ontario municipalities have passed resolutions to declare themselves Unwilling Hosts to new industrial wind power sites, bringing the total to date to 157.

Grimsby and North Huron both saw votes on the resolutions at Council in May, 2024.

Both cited problems with existing wind power operations and experiences of people forced to live nearby, and both pointed to the Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks for what they termed “gaps in enforcement” of existing Renewable Energy Approvals.

From the resolutions, these clauses:

“Whereas people living near existing wind turbines report considerable impact on
their lives due to noise
and other emissions from the wind turbines; and
Whereas there are gaps in the enforcement of key terms of the Renewable
Energy Approvals
governing existing projects relative to noise standards and
resolution of complaints“.

Translation: there are plenty of problems throughout the province with wind turbines especially the noise emissions, which result in sleep disturbance and then health effects for some residents living nearby, but enforcement has been, frankly, poor.

There are have been more than 7,000 formal complaints of wind turbine noise emissions in Ontario since 2009.There are likely many, many more, as the Ministry claims it is impossible to perceive wind turbine noise beyond 1500 metres so they do not accept any complaints from people at that distance or beyond.

A “gap” in enforcement of wind power regulations

One of the requirements of Renewable Energy Approvals is for the project operator to provide an acoustic audit of the wind turbines in its facility, to verify compliance with regulations. Wind Concerns Ontario has tracked this and to the best of our knowledge, just 23 out of 48 projects have completed the process to demonstrate compliance. Two, K2 Wind and the Unifor turbine, are non-compliant, two others were non-compliant and saw their Approvals amended to include abatement requirements, and one, Cedar Point filed an audit that was deemed incomplete.

Incredibly, 19 of the total have done acoustic audits which are currently noted as “under review” (as of January, 2024).

At present, the review process in Ontario for industrial wind power projects to confirm or verify compliance has taken an average of 6.1 years.

So, if a project is out of compliance, and people are experiencing harmful levels of noise pollution, they are waiting many years for the situation to be identified and rectified … if at all.

Waiting for more than 10 years

With the wind turbine Gold Rush beginning in earnest in Ontario under the Dalton McGuinty government, so did the problems. It didn’t take long for municipalities to protest the Draconian removal of their land use planning powers under the Green Energy Act, and to complain about the problems.

The Unwilling Host movement began in 2013 and by 2014, dozens of municipalities had made that declaration at Council.

Eleven year anniversary of no change!

Eleven years ago, a group of municipalities sent a letter to then Premier Kathleen Wynne demanding a meeting to discuss concerns. In a report in County Live, news site in Prince Edward County, is an excerpt from the letter sent by Wainfleet Mayor April Jeffs:

Municipalities in rural Ontario continue to ask the government to respect the views of municipalities in decisions related to wind turbine projects. We have seen the problems with the existing operational projects, and for this reason, many municipalities are not willing to host further expansion of the program in their area. Substantial change in the siting rules, as well as the attitudes of wind companies toward addressing problems, are required before more projects receive REA approvals.

The letter quotes comments made by Wynne confirming the government wants willing hosts for wind turbine projects, noting that municipalities saw her comments as an invitation to declare their status. Since, 40 communities have adopted resolutions to be ‘unwilling hosts’ with additional resolutions under way.

The letter also repeats a request for a meeting to discuss concerns.”

More wind power problems on the way?

Municipal land use planning powers were returned when the Ford government repealed the Green Energy Act in 2019. Today, municipal approval is mandatory for any power generation project to go forward.

Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator or IESO plans a new Request for Proposals later this year via its LT2-RFP, which is open to new wind and solar proposals. Meanwhile, there have been no changes whatsoever to Ontario’s inadequate wind turbine setback distances or noise limits.

Add to that, citizens of urban and rural areas alike are concerned about the loss of good agricultural land which is occurring at a rapid pace in Ontario. The provincial Policy Statement dictates protection of prime farmland but the wind power lobby is working to exempt wind turbines from this requirement, claiming turbines use very little land (false) and can “co-exist” with agriculture.

No wonder more communities are trying to shield themselves against industrialization and noise pollution.


Grimsby Unwilling Host Resolution 2024

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