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Turbine 560Hub Staff

Council will be drafting a letter to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) as well as the Ombudsman of Ontario after the acoustic auditing information for the UNIFOR industrial wind turbine has blown past promised timelines.

Council passed a motion following a report by Deputy Mayor Luke Charbonneau, October 11. The letter will address that council is “deeply concerned” about the continuing delays and is calling for a “mandatory audit” before the end of the year. Failing that, UNIFOR would be required to submit results “of all preliminary testing” to the public as well as the Ministry before December 31.

Charbonneau said that council had been promised by UNIFOR through the MOECC that acoustic auditing would take place. In February of this year, members of STOP (Saugeen Turbine Operation Plan) and the Town of Saugeen Shores including former CAO Larry Allison, Mayor Mike Smith, Deputy Mayor Luke Charbonneau and Vice-Deputy Mayor Diane Huber met with the MOECC and were told that acoustic audits would be done in June of 2016, with information gathered being released to the public.

In the report Charbonneau stated that the situation is particularly unacceptable since UNIFOR has had Jade Acoustics conducting preliminary tests since the spring of 2016 and has yet to release any results to MOECC or the public.

Saugeen Shores Hub reached out to Jade Acoustics in Vaughn, Ontario on October 13. When asked how many times representatives from Jade Acoustics had been to Port Elgin to do testing, Acoustics Engineer Dalila C. Giusti would not comment, as the situation is “volatile,” but did confirm that Jade Acoustics had been hired by UNIFOR to do testing.

Charbonneau said he followed up with the MOECC in June. “I was told that there was preliminary testing being done - and had been done in the spring - and that testing was not a formal audit.” Charbonneau added that at that stage they weren't expecting the audit until September.

The Deputy Mayor then followed up again in September and was told that the preliminary monitoring continued but that there had not been an audit completed because of weather, natural wind and turbine down time. The MOECC then informed Charbonneau that the audit wouldn't be completed until March or April of 2017.

Charbonneau then received correspondence from the MOECC on October 5 informing him that the acoustic audit had been pushed back to May or June of 2017.

“A full year later than they had originally promised testing,” said Charbonneau. “A full five years later than MOECC and UNIFOR had originally promised [publicly released] auditing.”

Charbonneau went on to say that he had “virtually no confidence” that the testing dates will stick “since none of the last three dates have stuck.”

Charbonneau said that he is still receiving complaints from residents in the south end of Port Elgin regarding the turbine, which he says is continuing to cause health problems for residents. Information acquired through a 2013 Freedom of Information request conducted by STOP showed that the turbine may be operating in exceedance of allowable noise levels according to its certificate of approval.

“We can’t wait any longer,” said the Deputy Mayor. “There’s no reason why this audit can’t be done now. They're doing preliminary testing, they're on the ground right now. And if they can’t do the audit right now, they can at least tell us what’s happening with the preliminary testing.”

Vice Deputy Mayor Diane Huber requested that the letter be made public, which garnered Mayor Mike Smith’s approval.

See: Acoustic audit or wind turbine

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