Monthly Archives: January 2011

McNaughton on Turbines

Strathroy MyFM

The decision to add wind farms should rest in the hands of the municipality, not the province. That’s what Tory Opposition leader for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex Monte McNaughton told myFM during a visit to Strathroy Friday. McNaughton says currently because of the Green Energy Act even though local councils would like to oppose wind turbine development in their communities, they aren’t able to.

Many in local rural communities such as Adelaide-Metcalfe and nearby Chatham-Kent have been attempting to reverse decisions set by the Ontario government for wind farms in their backyards.

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Turbines on trial as judges hear UWO witness

McGuinty’s government’s energy policy is also in the spotlight

By Jonathan Sher The London Free Press
Jan. 25, 2011

TORONTO – The fate of the billion-dollar wind industry and the future of green energy in Ontario may now rest in the hands of three divisional-court judges.

The province’s Green Energy Act was put to the test Monday before a panel of three Superior Court justices over a clash that has played out in many Ontario communities — are wind turbines a savior of the environment or a risk to human health to those who live in their shadow?

The stakes are huge: Dalton McGuinty has staked his political fortunes and the province’s economic future largely on building a green-energy industry.

But in court Monday. the case likely turned on fine points of law that left non-lawyers with glazed eye in the packed courtroom at Osgoode Hall.

The sum of those points is this: Did then-Environment Minister John Gerretsen over-step his authority when he recommended how far turbines should be from homes?

Lawyer Eric Gillespie, who is representing a Prince Edward County man challenging the Minister, laid out his case:

The Minister didn’t rely on medical advisors, instead using exerts in unrelated fields such as land use planning and acoustics.

The failure to consult doctors was a critical defect because medical professional are not sure if wind turbines cause harm to health. Read the rest of this entry

Wind on trial

by Jonathan Sher, London Free Press
January 24th, 2011

A burgeoning billion-dollar industry and the political fortunes of Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals may turn on a legal challenge by a single man whose day in court arrives Monday.

Ian Hanna lives far away from the corridors of power in Queens Park and Bay Street in a century-old farmhouse on Big Island in Prince Edward County. But Monday he finds himself in the epicentre of a debate that could shape the economic future of the province and the political fate of the ruling Liberals.

It’s a fight over wind turbines that have been rising across Ontario with ever greater frequency, an industry the Liberal government has subsidized with plans to double its energy capacity in this year alone.

But those plans in Queens Park — really the heart of the Green Energy Act — were placed in judicial crosshairs 15 months ago. That’s when Hanna, 58, challenged a provision that creates a buffer of only 550 metres between turbines and homes. Read the rest of this entry

Question & Answer with Ian Hanna

by Jonathan Sher, London Free Press
January 24th, 2011

Last week Free Press Reporter Jonathan Sher spoke with the Prince Edward County man who sought the judicial review, Ian Hanna, and his Toronto lawyer, Eric Gillespie. Below are excerpts of their conversation:

Q Prior to getting involved with wind turbines had you been involved with environmental issues or activism?

Hanna: No to both questions.

Q You never led petitions before, subscribed to newsletters on environmental issues or tried to interject yourself into public debate?

That’s absolutely correct.

Q What things attracted you to move to Big Island from the GTA?

The idea of a more rural atmosphere appealed to us. The openness, the stars, the birds. You have to come here sometime and walk outside on a summer’s afternoon. It’s just unbelievable.

Q What about adverse health effects of wind turbines?

People appear to be emotionally drained, unable to really function on a calm, natural basis. We know people can’t sleep properly at all when they are close to industrial wind turbines . . . They appeared to be very tortured by the effects.

Q Why did you continue to pursue the case even though your home and Big Island no longer in harm’s way?

Because it’s the right thing to do. I have three children who if I gave them nothing else . . . I think I at least gave them the strength or assisted them with gaining the strength to stand up for what they believe in and for what’s right. Read the rest of this entry

Is it beating or swishing?

Today’s Farmer Opinion
Jan. 5th, 2011

The good people at the MOE love to engage in titillating word-play for fun and amusement.

Last summer I had the audacity to actually write the Minister of Energy and the Minister of Environment and put it to them that the MOE was not properly dealing with the “cyclic noise” of wind turbines – you know, the swooshing, swishing, whumping sounds that many residents complain about, especially when it occurs at night and they cannot sleep. If you have a dripping tap, you fix it. But you can’t turn off the wind turbine; and no one else will, certainly not the man in a control room located somewhere in California.

Now there are regulations for just this sort of thing. In Ontario it is Reg. NPC-104 which states that any industrial machine that produces a “cyclic” noise, one that repeats over and over as long as the machine operates, for example, a punch press in a metal stamping plant, is subject to a 5dB penalty to its noise limits.

A 5dB penalty would effectively double current setbacks from wind turbines to over 1,000 metres. It is an important issue. Read the rest of this entry