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Turbine 560Hub Staff

Saugeen Shores councillors and Town staff continue to pursue a solution to the ongoing wind turbine woes following a subdued response from the Ontario Ombudsman, which prompted Council’s request to invite the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change’s (MOECC) Owen Sound District Office Manager, Rich Chappell, to attend an upcoming council meeting.

The purpose of the face-to-face would be to give councillors the opportunity to present concerns from residents, some of whom have come forward with illnesses they say were caused from the Infrasound that is emitted from the CAW turbine at the UNIFOR site. Infrasound can cause symptoms such as dizziness, vertigo, tinnitus, headache and nausea.

In the letter received from Investigator Yvonne Heggie of the Office of the Ontario Ombudsman news that the long awaited acoustic audit, that was required to take place between 2013 and 2015, had been completed in 2017 and was currently in the hands of the Ministry.

“The Ministry recently advised our Office that it has received acoustical audit data from the proponent, which is currently being assessed by the Ministry's Approvals Branch.” The letter also stated that “an assessment of the results of the acoustical audit is required in order for the Ministry to conclude whether the CAW (now UNIFOR) turbine is operating in compliance with the Ministry’s Noise guidelines.”

During the January 29 Council Meeting Deputy Mayor Luke Charbonneau said his frustration continues and that the Ombudsman did not tell them more than they already knew. “We’re in a Catch-22 where you have to do an audit before you can prove noncompliance, but you have to prove noncompliance before you can do an audit.” The Deputy Mayor later added, “and the Ombudsman didn't say that that was a problem, but that seems like a problem to me.”

Charbonneau looked forward to a future where Saugeen Shores would learn more definitively whether or not the turbine is operating within compliance.

Councillor Dave Myette was looking forward to the opportunity to welcome MOECC’s Rick Chappell to Council Chambers to explain to Council and Saugeen Shores citizens why the actions that have been promised have failed to be completed “and why we continue to have people suffer on a daily basis.”

Before the motion that was written by Councillor Myatt was unanimously passed (Councillor Mike Myatt and Cheryl Grace were absent for the vote), Greg Schmalz of STOP (Saugeen Shores Turbine Operation Policy) presented his feelings on the subject to councillors during the night’s Open Forum. Schmalz said that on his way to Council Chambers he heard the loud noise made from the turbine which sounded like “Chinook Helicopters” and was there on behalf of STOP and those who continue to suffer from illnesses.

Schmalz recalled a promise that acoustic testing would be done during the first two years of operation. “We still do not have a report that can confirm its compliance, but yet we have lots of reports that confirm continuous suffering of our residents,” said Schmalz, calling it a “sad state of affairs” that the residents’ group and Council have had to conduct Freedom of Information searches to access that information.

This March will mark five years of operation for the Industrial Wind Turbine at Unifor (formerly CAW) and over the years the MOECC has changed their regulations which would have prevented the approval of the turbine had it been applied for today.

greg schmalz stopSaugeen Shores resident Greg Schmalz of STOP during the January 29 Open Forum.

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