PLYMPTON-WYOMING – A legal challenge from Suncor Energy has prompted town council to back away from a noise bylaw the municipality enacted last year to limit local wind farm development.
Suncor, a developer behind the 46-turbine Cedar Point wind project under construction in Lambton Shores, Plympton-Wyoming and Warwick Township, recently filed a court application to quash Plympton-Wyoming’s bylaw, said town clerk Brianna Coughlin.
The municipal legislation sought, among other things, to limit wind turbine-produced noise lower than 20 hertz — infrasound: the normal limit of human hearing. Wind turbine opponents argue exposure can negatively impact people’s health.
Complying with the bylaw would have made it impossible to operate the 100-MW wind farm, expected to be operational by late 2015, Suncor spokesperson Jason Vaillant said Thursday.
“We are committed to complying with and operating within the limits that are set out for us by the province,” he said, noting noise limits for wind farms are provincial territory. “And we felt that the municipality just didn’t have jurisdiction on this particular matter.”
Based on legal advice that the town’s bylaw would likely not survive a court challenge, council decided Wednesday to repeal it, Coughlin said.
Suncor, Vaillant said, is pleased with the decision and will withdraw its legal challenge.
“Certainly the relationship with the community is important to us,” he said. “We know that this project will be part of the community for 20 years or more, so we want to ensure that we develop and operate the project in a way that addresses the needs and concerns of Plympton-Wyoming.”