The public has been protesting wind turbines for years now, but a recent story by Global News has revealed government officials failed to investigate, or deferred responding to, the majority of all noise and health complaints lbetween 2006 and 2014. - Colin McConnell Photo
Not that the debate needed any more fuel, but local opponents of wind turbines have been given just that.
A recent Global News story revealed government officials failed to investigate, or deferred responding to, the majority of all noise and health complaints lodged against wind turbine operators in the province between 2006 and 2014.
With that story fresh in his mind, Dutton Dunwich Mayor Cameron McWilliam called on Premier Kathleen Wynne and Minister of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) Glenn Murray, to immediately put a stop to the renewable energy approval process for the Strong Breeze industrial wind turbine project slated for his municipality.
“It is very clear that much more research needs to take place to get to the bottom of the health concerns for the sake of all rural citizens forced to have these monstrosities near them,” said McWilliam, who added he was “appalled at the government’s lack of response to the thousands of complaints put forward to it.”
In addition, the mayor questions how the government could be so negligent in caring for the health and welfare of Ontarians.
Not only is McWilliam saying there needs to be “much more research into the effects on human health from the turbines,” he is also demanding the provincial government put more regulations in place to ensure compliance by large corporations, like the Chicago-based Invenergy, “as we know these companies are also not addressing complaints.”
If the province approved this project, McWilliam said, “Hundreds of people in Dutton Dunwich will be exposed to the effects of wind turbine noises emissions. This is totally unacceptable.”
Of course, the outrage generated by the story isn’t limited to a single mayor.
Dutton/Dunwich Opponents of Wind Turbines or DDOWT — pronounced doubt — is a group of concerned members of the Dutton Dunwich community, and supportive partners, who have been working together since 2012 to oppose the development of Industrial Wind Turbine (IWT) projects in the community.
On May 31, the same day McWilliam was making his case, DDOWT issued its own statement, expressing outrage that incident reports released under Freedom of Information prove the Ontario government is “unable or unwilling” to answer noise complaints from residents living near wind turbines.
DDOWT is also demanding a halt to all approvals to new wind power projects in light of recently released information.
“I’m not surprised at all. We’ve been ignored on every aspect of this from the beginning,” said DDOWT spokesperson Dave Congdon. “It’s heart wrenching to be honest. This recent news that there are thousands of noise complaints, most of which were not dealt with adequately by the MOECC, justifies our concerns.”
Farmer and fellow DDOWT spokesperson Jamie Littlejohn also spoke out saying the Dutton Dunwich community is near Chatham-Kent, where citizens live near hundreds of wind turbines.
“We have heard from many of our neighbours there. They confirm that when they phone in noise complaints to the MOECC spills line, they get very little, if any, assistance,” he said. “This recent evidence that the government is not fulfilling its mandate to help citizens who are suffering is a clear indication that the wind contracts must be cancelled.”
Congdon said he believes there are enough “fact-based reports” around the negative impacts of noise emissions, both audible and inaudible low-frequency noise, that change could finally happen.
If not, however, he quickly added provincial officials shouldn’t expect people to quietly accept more of these projects.
“They are hoping if they ignore us long enough the people will be quiet and go away,” Congdon said. “That’s not going to happen. There are enough people upset about this and we’re in this for the long haul. We’re not going anywhere.”