Wind activists want Lambton Shores to take a tougher stand with wind energy companies

Marcelle Brooks, Middlesex Lambton Wind Concerns

Marcelle Brooks, Middlesex Lambton Wind Concerns

Local anti-wind activists are worried Lambton Shores officials are not making tough enough demands nor asking the right questions on the two wind energy projects in the community.

Lambton Shores preparing its comments on the Suncor Energy project (62 turbines) and NextEra Energy (92 turbines) which will be within the municipal boundaries.

The municipality planned to hire a consultant to comb through the binders of questions to be answered but found any firm with expertise in the area was already employed by the wind energy companies.

Marcelle Brooks, spokesperson for Middlesex Lambton Wind Concern, has looked at the municipal response to both projects and has one major concern. In both documents, the municipality states the turbines are equipped with sensors which automatically shut down if abnormal amounts of noise is found.

The sound waves are one of the major concerns of the people opposed to wind energy who say the sound can cause headaches, sleeplessness and tinnitus.

“I question where that information was obtained,” says Brooks.

In fact, in an email to anti-wind activist one of NextEra’s consultants debunks the idea. “The turbines can be shut down remotely but not as a result of achieving a certain sound limit,” writes Derek Dudek in an email. “The 40 decibels is not measured at the turbine but rather at the receptor location (nearby homes.)”

“It’s really important that residents understand that turbines cannot measure sound and they will not shutdown,” says Brooks.

The wind activist is also surprised by the municipality’s stand on the placement of turbines near the municipality’s industrial park in Forest.  The planner wants to see them further away from the park than the 550 meter provincial limit. It’s a demand wind activists have been asking municipalities make for homes. “I’m all for demanding the legislation be changed…the position must be taken for all properties. This demand should be should be made for all residents boundaries not just municipal lands.”

Brooks is also concerned the NextEra project has turbines in the Important Bird Areas. It’s a concern expressed by Ontario’s Environment Commissioner.

Brooks adds the company is continuing its studies on the issue and that leaves the municipality at a disadvantage. “They’re still collecting data on this project; how could the municipality possibly comment on things they know nothing about?

“Lambton Shores needs to express their concerns in the forms that they aren’t getting all the information they need,” says Brooks.

The wind activist admits the municipality is in a difficult spot, trying to evaluate the technical data. “Lambton Shores is not equipped to deal with the technical data – they’re at a tremendous disadvantage,” she says.

“The staff is so busy with doing their day-to-day jobs, and this is a whole full-time job for someone. There isn’t the resources to accommodate this type of review at the municipal level.”

Lambton Shores has already said it would welcome comments from residents who have studied the documents. They’re invited to submit their observations to the CAO.

Council plans to look at the planners comments in the next few weeks.