Did you know turbines are near schools public trustees ask province

A giant hand-drawn map by Ingrid Willemsen of WAIT shows five wind turbines around Aberarder Line, within sight of the local elementary school.

A giant hand-drawn map by Ingrid Willemsen of WAIT shows five wind turbines around Aberarder Line, within sight of the local elementary school.

It’s a good first step.

That’s the reaction from one member of We’re Against Industrial Turbines in Plympton-Wyoming after hearing  the Lambton-Kent District School Board is writing to provincial leaders about turbines near schools.

There are two large wind projects on the books in Lambton County which would place turbines near Aberarder Central School in Plympton-Wyoming and at Bosanquet Central School on Northville Road in Lambton Shores. Suncor Energy plans five turbines near Aberarder and NextEra plans four near Bosanquet. The closest turbine, according to Director of Education Jim Costello is 1.2 kilometers from the schools, double the provincial limit which requires turbines to be 550 meters from buildings occupied by people.

Trustee Jane Bryce convinced fellow trustees that Premier Kathleen Wynne, as well as the Education and Health Ministers should be aware the turbines are so close to the school saying they are not likely aware of the location of the turbines.

“I guess I was just thinking of myself as trustee…talking to fellow trustee…we sometimes say ‘did anyone call you about’…and the other will say, ‘no, I never heard about anything.’ So I thought, maybe I should make sure the power above us…is aware of it,” says Bryce adding she’s not aware of any other jurisdiction where the turbines are so close to schools.

The trustee didn’t want to pass judgement on whether the turbines could cause health problems for children, as anti-turbine activists say, but she says that was part of the reason she suggested the letters. “Mr. Keith Douglas (a Plympton Wyoming resident) in his presentation to board two weeks ago…said something about it could be up to 20 percent of population which could be affected by wind turbines…and if it we were talking about the school and the water would affect up to 20 percent of our students, would we be silent? And I thought oh yeah, you just kind of wonder…we may not be able to do anything about it but I want them (the Premier and the ministers) to be aware there are people out here that are concerned that wind turbines are going up around elementary school.

“I don’t want anyone to come back and say nobody told us there were elementary schools there,” says the trustee adding “If we were going to build a school we wouldn’t build it in the midst of wind turbines.”

Ingrid Willemsen of WAIT-PW was “thrilled” to hear the trustees sent the letter even though it didn’t really take a stand against the project. “It is absolutely least we could do is notify the authorities…that this could be a concern,” says Willemsen. But she adds this is an issue WAIT plans to raise in the future.

The school board will also be talking about it again. It plans to have Chatham-Kent Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Colby speak at a coming board meeting on his research into wind turbines which was used by that municipality before it began courting wind projects.

– Heather Wright