Some council ‘minutes’…
Adelaide-Metcalfe Township Council Meeting
Monday, August 10th 2009
The Middlesex Wind Action Group had 20 minutes to speak to council at 8:30 on Monday evening. Over 35 residents were seated, waiting in the chambers for council to wrap up their other business, when somebody said that the TCI Renewables reps were also waiting — outside. This was a little alarming, but not that surprising, being as council has basically relied on the wind company’s sales pitch to help justify this project. Conc. David Bolton asked for a 5 minute break, and we watched our Mayor John Milligan go out into the foyer to speak with the TCI reps. At this point we didn’t exactly know what TCI was going to do, but we suspected correctly that they were there to answer our questions- unfortunately our questions and statements were for our elected council, not for the sales men.
The TCI reps were Brett O’Connor and Mark Gallagher. They also had a ‘noise specialist’, and a ‘bird and bat specialist’ from Golder. These 4 guys came all the way here to speak for 5 minutes to council, I assumed.
Health Issues Need to be Addressed
Harvey Wrightman initiated the presentation with an overview of our group’s reaction to Industrial Wind Turbines in our community, “No person, company or government body has any right to expose the people to excessive risk to health and well-being due to the effects of an installation.” We have had mixed stories from the township, TCI and the province as to what guidelines this project will fall under. To date and most recently, the township claimed this project would fall under the new Green Energy Act. TCI on the other hand has stated 5 times that this project will not go under the GEAregulations, but rather the old township bylaws. The Province agrees with TCI. It would be foolish for the township to accept that the remaining 28 wind turbines fall under their by-law, as they, “expose itself and its ratepayers to unnecessary risk, either physical or financial”.
Harvey then explained who will most likely be susceptible to the effects of the Low Frequency Noise that the wind turbines emit:
1) anyone who suffers from migraine headaches (roughly 10% 0f the population
2) people who get car-sick or sea-sick
3) those who have hearing damage/loss or who suffer from tinnitus (ringing in the ears); typically causes are exposure to industrial or farm equipment.
Read Harvey’s entire presentation to the council here: Adelaide Metcalfe Township Council Presentation
Rose Keunan, a large dairy farmer, made a presentation explaining why we need greater setbacks due to the repetitive noise created by wind turbines and the cumulative sound created by groups of wind turbines. She analyzed a study from the Netherlands of a wind farm that had 5 wind turbines. This Wind Farm was making the residents sick, even though they had followed their suggested setbacks. It was concluded that the cyclic sound created by the swooshing blades, and the cumulative sound produced by more then one turbines in close proximity, were the causes of the problems.
I spoke about the issue of the school, Adelaide W. G. MacDonald School. This school is adjacent to a property that will have a turbine; it will also have 16 turbines in its 3km radius. The Thames Valley District School Board and the school were never notified of the wind farm. This is unacceptable and is discussed later.
Keith Higgins, a resident of this township and one whose house will receive the largest amount of shadow flicker per year of the non-participating residents, expressed his disappointment with the lack of notification. He, like many residents, has put a lot of effort and expense into fixing up his home to retire in. To not be notified about the shadow flicker that he and his wife will have to endure is unacceptable.
After Keith Higgins spoke, I though that perhaps council would comment or speak to us on the presentation, perhaps ask questions. Instead, TCItook the stage with their little list of notes that that they had been busy writing since we started to speak. After Mark Gallagher spoke a few sentences, we caught on to this, and realized they were there to have the last word and pick away at all our comments. This is basically the only reason this meeting got angry, and lasted so long. We had come to speak to council, and hear their comments on the issues we raised. What we were going to get in return was an argument from the wind company, and no comment from council.
We DID interrupt Mark. This happened because we were anxious to hear council, not TCI. I know council can speak- they did so very well with all other delegations that came in before us. Why didn’t they want to speak with us?
School & Notification
I was told that the school HAD been notified of the wind turbines, but the secretary said the principal would get back to him if there were any concerns. This was never noted in the ESR’s communication report, so I doubt the validity of this. Several weeks ago, TCI had said “AET attempted to contact the principal of Adelaide W.G MacDonald School at the commencement of the Project, however AETdid not receive a response…”. This does not fall in compliance with the Ministry of Environments Guide to EA Requirements for Electricity Projects Part A- Overview of EA Requirements:
- A.6.2.4 Mandatory Notification
Re: Notice of Commencement- “ The notice must be mailed or delivered to households in the immediate vicinity of the project and to affected government agencies.”
Others in the crowd expressed dismay at the handling of notification. We were told by TCI that advertising in the Strathroy Age Dispatch is sufficient. As you can see in the above notification, it isn’t. Between 40-50% of households in Adelaide Metcalfe subscribe to the Age, that leaves half of the residents not notified. We also mentioned that we had all received notification of FPL’s open house at the Gemini Sportsplex a couple years ago- self addressed envelopes and all.
Would you live in a Wind Farm?
One lady asked if Mark Gallagher would be comfortable living in a wind farm. His response was that if all scientific research said it was safe, then yes. Unfortunately, we are greatly lacking in the scientific research, as no epidemiological study has been announced by the provincial government. We only know that people have to leave their home farms and move away. When they leave, then their symptoms go away. Many of these victims were supporters of wind turbines initially.
Another man pointed out that no research has been done by council. This is disturbing as we are basically having them represent us with their vote. All the facts that had been supplied to the council were from the wind company.
Dan Wrightmanbrought up the issue oft the poor quality bird/bat studies. All of the bird stations were located right on main highways and roads, not in the woodlots. Much of the infrastructure and the wind turbines surround these woodlots, where the threatened species, the red-headed woodpecker lives. With the noise, vibration and turbulence created by the IWT’s, it’s unlikely that these species will remain in this habitat. TCI says they won’t cut down a single tree. But the trees are only one part of the habitat- animals also need a stable environment without all the other disturbance that IWT will contribute.
A Conflict of Interest
As the hours passed (probably past 10:30PM), the mayor said that the noise specialist would have the last word of the night. We negotiated to have 1 minute after him, if he kept his speech to 2 minutes. When he was done, Daniel asked council if they could raise their hand if they have a child, parent or business partner involved in the wind farm. No hands were raised. So they were asked individually, and here are the results:
- Mayor John Milligan: Denied, says his son is signed up with Suncor for wind turbines and he doesn’t think this is a conflict of interest.
- Deputy Mayor Adrien deBruyn: Raised his hand and acknowledged, once he realized the criteria. We thank him for his honesty- this is much appreciated.
- Councilor David Bolton: Denied, said his Dad hadn’t told him anything about the wind test tower that he had signed on for. Afterwards, he said he will ask and confirm with his father what contract has been signed, and declare conflit of interest if so.
- Councilor Nick Stokman: No conflict of interest
- Councilor Betty Ann MacKinnon: No conflict of interest
Graham Schofield made a closing statement, asking that this township’s residents be able to vote on an issue that will have such a great impact on our lives. This was well received by the clapping crowd.
After the Meeting
I listened and joined in on a conversation between TCI reps and some local ladies. The women were asking very good questions, and the answers were interesting.
“How far are the turbines from the school?”
- 3x the setback for a participating receptor, and 2x for a non-participating receptor. 1200m.
- The response from the lady was “that isn’t very far away, is it?:. TCI didn’t disagree.
“Why did you choose this area for a wind farm?”
- The consistent wind, and the fact that all the good windy spots along the lake have already been saturated with wind developments.
- My response was that they also found a very responsive township council that was easily persuaded.
“A councilor shouldn’t be able to vote on this topic if they have a conflict of interest, should they?”
- Possibly not.
“Are you signing people up along Katesville Dr.?”
- He wasn’t really sure where that was.
“But you are signing up along Napperton Dr….?”
- Yes, there are a couple places.
“If our hydro lines can only transmit a certain amount of power, and you have reached that maximum with the 40 wind turbines, then why are you continuing to sign people up along Napperton?”
- This answer I found interesting. Apparently when/if the coal power stations in Sarnia shut down, it will open up more room in the lines for more wind turbines.
- From this, we can see that the object is to sign up as many people in the area before the issue of health and economics ‘hit the fan’. When/if this line becomes available, they can quickly use these signees from several years ago, even though they may have changed their minds. This is the very dangerous part of the contracts.
“On this noise study map, all the houses are noted with a dot as a ‘receptor’. Why isn’t the school classified as one?”
- There are houses nearby that were tested, so they didn’t need to do the calculations on the school.
“But all the residents of Adelaide Village have dots, and they are piled on top of each other. It looks as if every resident received a dot except the school.”
- That’s right… I guess maybe we didn’t need to have a dot for all the residents in Adelaide Village. Or maybe it was because the children don’t sleep at the school.
- So the school noise level does not need to be tested or evaluated even though it exceeds the World Health Organizations level of noise level for learning. This doesn’t work in my books.