In September local residents undertook the mammoth task of proving to a tribunal that wind turbines are impacting their health and the environment.
Further toughening the task was the fact they were only able to argue on the amended application to the HAF Wind Energy Project — which was filed in February after residents discovered four of the five industrial wind turbines were built closer to property lines than regulations stipulate without the required reports or agreements. Anne Fairfield and partner Ed Engel, who live on Sixteen Road and in her words are “surrounded by the project”, filed an appeal to the original renewable energy approval shortly after it was granted in June 2013. That appeal was filed on the grounds the project will impact residents’ health, its impediment on rights granted to Canadians under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and its impact on air traffic and water wells.
When they again appealed the Ministry of Environment’s approval of the amended application — which included the property line setback assessment required when turbines will be constructed closer than the hub height to the neighbouring property line, which in this case is 95 metres — the original appeal was deemed null and void. This meant at the tribunal, Fairfield and her team of witnesses could only argue how the inclusion of the property line setback assessment and removal of a post-construction raptor monitoring requirement will impact human or environmental health. The Charter issue was also included in the hearing. The Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) can only assess the merits that an undertaking will have on health — both human and environmental.
“Quite frankly, we didn’t expect to be here,” said Deb Murphy, co-chair of the West Lincoln Glanbrook Wind Action Group, who represented Fairfield in West Lincoln council chambers. “We expected that the Ministry of Environment would not approve the amendment. We were stunned when they did and once again, we are in a situation where we have to prove harm to health or harm to the environment.”
Murphy, who recently became a paralegal, said in her opening statement to adjudicators Heather Gibbs, ERT vice chair, and Justin Duncan, that by the end of the hearing they would “have no choice but to alter the decision” of the MOE and to order the turbines down.
Scott Stoll, who was representing proponent Vineland Power Inc., however, argued the appellants had no evidence to prove either change in the amendment will harm health.
“I’m quite sure the appellant will not be able to prove anything,” said Stoll in his opening statement, adding the appellant’s allegations are “wrong and offensive” to his client and to the ministry and concluded the appeal should be dismissed.
read more: Grimsby Lincoln News By Amanda Moore