By Sharon Hill, The Windsor Star
The provincial government should place a moratorium on wind farm projects until an independent health study can be done, a Leamington councillor said Tuesday.
“I just really think the province has moved way too quickly on this stuff,” said Coun. John Paterson.
“There’s less information out there than there should be before you start sticking the wind farms up that are going to be here for a long time.”
On Monday Leamington council passed a resolution from the Township of Mapleton which called for the moratorium until a health study is completed by an independent third party. The resolution said the township had received a petition from more than 250 people with concerns about health issues and ground water protection.
Paterson said there are concerns about a proposed wind farm in Lake Erie and an intake pipe for the Union Water System, which treats water for the southeast corner of Essex County.
Neighbouring Kingsville recently supported resolutions from the City of Kawartha Lakes and Grey County that also called for research on possible health impacts such as noise.
Kingsville Deputy Mayor Katherine Gunning said she didn’t want to see projects that are underway halted but wanted a study before new projects move forward.
She said a study could give municipalities and the provincial government a comfort level that there are no impacts or it could help them find ways to mitigate any concerns. She said a study should have been done before the Green Energy Act was passed.
Paterson said municipalities have been “pushed aside.” He said he wants the government to know “we municipalities are not going to sit back and accept what they’re dumping on us for lack of better words forcing on us.”
The Ministry of Environment will establish an independent academic research position to review and research wind turbines and health but is not considering a moratorium, ministry spokeswoman Kate Jordan said.
“Given that there isn’t any scientific evidence to date — so, so far — that does establish a clear causal link between the adverse health effects and wind turbines we don’t believe that a moratorium on wind turbines is warranted at this time.”
She said the research chair at a university could be selected Feb. 12.
Jordan said the ministry is aware of the health concerns being expressed by some residents in Ontario and has established a minimum setback to put turbines at least 550 metres away from homes.