By Don Crosby, Owen Sound Sun Times
Bruce County council is throwing its support behind a request from Huron-Kinloss that the Grey Bruce Health Unit study the health effects of wind turbines close to homes.
“I have a lot of people in my community that have been sick since the turbines [have been] up and working. We hope if we pass this resolution around to other municipalities we’ll gain some support. Take this to the health board and hopefully Dr. [Hazel] Lynn will see fit to take it to the next level, whether that’s a health study or whether it’s getting other health units in other counties involved in this process,” Huron-Kinloss Mayor Mitch Twolan said after Thursday’s meeting of the county’s agriculture, tourism and planning committee.”I think it’s very important that no further turbines are erected until some sort of health study is done.”
Twolan said he knows of seven families who left their homes since 38 turbines became operational in the Ripley area.
There are proposals for another 50 turbines in Huron-Kinloss and Twolan said he’s hearing of other people who say they are affected but haven’t said anything.
“There is a silent majority out there that have not come forward to state their concerns because they don’t want it to be public. So in the best interest of all our people in all of our municipalities I think this is very important,” he said.
Kincardine Mayor Larry Kraemer, who has long been on the health unit’s board of directors, said he doesn’t believe the medical officer of health can undertake this kind of study herself, but voted to support the Huron-Kinloss resolution.
Lynn earlier this year called on the provincial government to conduct studies to clear up claims of people who say they are suffering from living too close to wind turbines.
Twolan said there is still too little information available to the general public and municipal leaders, who feel left out of the loop yet take the brunt of complaints.
“We’re told in the Green Energy Act that everything is in order and in place, yet we have people sick in our community . . . I think it’s incumbent on us as leaders at the municipal level to hear their concerns and take it to the next level,” he said.
Twolan said energy companies have tried to solve the problems of the seven families who moved.
“In fairness to them they have tried to rectify the situation, but before we move forward in new proposals let’s have all of the answers in place and these concerns addressed,” he said.
Although Twolan was acclaimed as mayor in the recent election he says concerns about the effects of wind turbines on residents was uppermost in the minds of the electorate.
Residents have given him and his council a second chance, but expect them to do something about these concern, Twolan said.
“As long as you take the message to the next level people will listen. And I genuinely believe in my people. We have issues and we have concerns. The Green Energy Act and these wind turbines are more than just about green energy. There are people out there that are just not happy with this whole process,” Twolan said.
Bruce County councillors voted unanimously to support the Huron-Kinloss resolution.