Unifor To Resume Sound Tests Around Port Elgin Wind Turbine

(BlackburnNews.com photo)

Unifor is planning to resume sound testing around its Port Elgin wind turbine this fall, though municipal officials in Saugeen Shores are not optimistic results will be any different.

The union has notified the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change that it was unable to collect enough data this past spring to complete an acoustic audit that has been promised since the turbine went into operation at the then-CAW Family Education Centre in 2013.

Deputy Mayor Luke Charbonneau says he’s not holding out hope this round of sound testing will be any different, pointing out while Unifor promised the testing, it remains a voluntary process as far as the MOECC is concerned, so there’s no legal obligation for Unifor to complete the testing.

Charbonneau says Unifor should be forced to fully complete the testing or else they should have to shut down the turbine.

“I’d like to see some hard timelines put in place with some consequences, like if you don’t get it done, you have to shut [the turbine] off, that seems pretty straightforward to me,” says Charbonneau. “And I’d also like to see the information that was collected from the audit this spring.”

The MOECC has asked Unifor to turn over the results they were able to capture this spring, though Charbonneau says the union refused a similar request when municipal officials asked to see their data.

He says once the information has been received by the MOECC, the municipality will be using a Freedom of Information request to see it for themselves.

“I’ve asked staff to file a Freedom of Information request with the [MOECC], so we can be sure we do get whatever the ministry receives from Unifor on the testing that was done this spring,” says Charbonneau. “We don’t know what results they got, but we’d like to know.”

Charbonneau adds with hundreds of complaints from neighbouring property owners since the turbine went into operation, he’d like to see testing equipment set up on one of those properties where problems have been reported, adding that has not happened with any of the testing done to date.

It’s estimated that more than 100 homes and cottages are located within the 550-metre setback typically required for industrial wind turbines.