Gerretsen admits science is lacking. Harrow project being monitored closely.

Peter Lomoth, a retired Acoustics Consultant recorded sound levels of a local farm last week taking benchmark readings before the Harrow 24-turbine wind energy project becomes operational.

by Andy Comber, Essex Free Press  

Not far away from Colchester Village, a Gore Road resident is preparing for the worst – life among large industrial wind turbines.

For the last three years, Colette McLean has vehemently opposed the 24-turbine Aim Power Gen project, just southwest of Harrow. Unable to halt the project, she is now doing her best to protect her family from any possible harmful impacts.

The McLean family farm sits within the project, with the closest turbine about 600 metres away from the house, nine turbines within three kilometres and all 24 within five kilometers.

“It amazes me how so many people are opposing the turbines in the lake, but they are willing to allow a sea of turbines to be created on land,” Mclean said. “The turbines on land pose many of the same concerns they are opposed to in the water – bird migration, human health, tourism and property values.”

After the turbines were put in place, Mclean started recording sound levels to get “benchmark” readings that could be compared to readings to be taken when they become operational around June.

The Ontario government claims to have created regulations in their Green Energy Act that are protective of human health and the environment, Mclean said. Sound levels are one factor used to determine “safe” setbacks. But a March 10 letter from environment minister John Gerretsen admits some of the science is lacking.

“Currently, there is no accepted procedure for measuring, identifying and separating the noise level from the wind turbines and other noise sources at the point of reception,” stated Gerretsen.

Gerretsen promised to review and amend renewable energy requirements, “should new information come to light.”

Recently, Mclean enlisted some “expert advice” of her own.  Last week, Peter Lomath. a retired Acoustics Consultant with 45 years of experience, brought sophisticated sound equipment to the Harrow site – equipment that is capable of separating different noise sources, even birds singing.

Lomath said he became interested after reading about noise claims from wind turbine developers at other sites, claims that he said “just didn’t make sense.”  “Some of the tricks these guys are playing are just plain wrong,” he said. “By getting some proper data, you’re in a better position to fight,’ said Lomath.

The data taken at Mclean’s farm will be recorded and stored on a computer for future analysis. Viewing three turbines built in a row on the neighbouring property, Lomath had a prediction for Mclean.

“I would say you’re going to have some sleepless nights”