Bruce County seeks wind turbine health study

Huron-Kinloss Mayor Mitch Twolan

By Don Crosby, The Owen Sound Sun Times

Bruce County is calling on the province to study the health effects of wind turbines.

“The province has stated that they are not going to do a health study. We’re going to encourage them with a letter hoping that they will do an independent study for the health concerns that are out there now and possibly down the road,” said Huron-Kinloss Mayor Mitch Twolan.

Twolan’s municipality has about three dozen wind turbines.

He’s heard the concerns of some of the residents in his municipality.

“There are a lot of problems out there and something has got to be done. There’s some pretty compelling evidence and I don’t know who is going to do the study,” said Warden Bill Goetz.

Councillors turned down a suggestion by Saugeen Shores Mayor Mike Smith that the wind turbine industry be asked to share in the cost of a study, saying it could compromise the independence of any study.

Smith agrees with other councillors that there are a number of issues being raised by people who claim they are affected by wind turbines. But for him it’s a question of who will pay for such a study.

Later he supported the rest of council in calling on the province to conduct an independent study.

“The province is setting the policy about where all wind energy should go through the Green Energy Act. I think they have some responsibility to see that these concerns are addressed,” Smith said.

The only wind turbine in Saugeen Shores will belong to the CAW. Approval has been given to the CAW for a wind turbine for its education centre in Port Elgin.

Kincardine Mayor Larry Kraemer, who is the chairman of the Grey Bruce Health Unit board of directors, ruled out having a study done by the health unit. He said he’s spoken with Dr. Hazel Lynn the medical officer of health and she told him there’s no money in her budget for such a study.

The health unit receives 75% of its funding from the province. The rest of its budget is provided for by Grey and Bruce county councils.

Brockton Mayor Charlie Bagnato said he didn’t think a study in Bruce County should be paid for through taxes.

“I don’t see why our taxpayers should pay for something that the province should pay for,” Bagnato said.

Goetz said he would raise the issue at the next meeting of the wardens of Southwestern Ontario to seek their support for Bruce County’s request for a provincial study.

“It’s a provincewide problem,” he said.

Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Murdoch put forward a resolution in the provincial legislature in late October calling for a moratorium on wind farm development until the province’s chief medical officer of health could assure the government that turbines don’t affect the health of people living nearby. It was voted down.