Township considers sound expert to deal with turbine complaints

West Lincoln committee mulls having technician on retainer

After an exhausting search, township officials have turned up at least one way to protect residents from industrial wind turbines.

Staff was directed by the previous council to undertake a review of township bylaws, as well as those of other municipalities, to determine if any additional regulations can be put into place that would protect residents from wind turbines.

As far as the township’s existing bylaws go, there is little that can be done. But a look to Plympton-Wyoming may have turned up one way to protect residents from the nuisance noise associated with turbines.

The Municipality of Plympton-Wyoming, near Sarnia, Ont., has passed a bylaw that requires an expert in decibel reading to deal with noise complaints. Should a noise exceed the allowable limits of the municipality’s noise bylaw, a fine can be applied. The municipality’s CAO confirmed to township staff they have a sound engineer on retainer to address complaints under the bylaw, should any occur.

The Green Energy Act — the provincial legislation that paved the way for industrial wind turbines in the province and stripped municipality’s of control over the large projects — stipulates that noise levels not exceed 40 decibels.

The township has been in contact with Oza Group, a local engineering company with noise expertise, and were advised costs could range from $650 to $1,000 per inspection under a bylaw similar to the one in Plympton-Wyoming, which also includes low-frequency analysis and spectral analysis which involves specialized equipment and techniques.

The information was outlined for committee in a report received at Monday’s planning and development committee. After discussion, committee requested staff further investigate the Plympton-Wyoming bylaw and report back at a future committee meeting.

Planning director Brian Treble also gave brief updates on the two industrial wind turbine projects in West Lincoln. The appeal against the HAF Wind Energy Project in Caistor Centre held in the summer was lost and that process is now over, he said. He also updated committee that the hearing for the appeal on the Niagara Region Wind Corp. project would be held Jan. 26, 10 a.m. in council chambers.

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