Plympton-Wyoming’s proposed wind turbine noise bylaw is going where no regulation has gone before.
Council has given first and second reading to a bylaw which regulates the amount of noise coming from industrial wind projects. Council asked staff and the municipality’s lawyers to come up with the bylaw since much of the concern about the project has to do with the potential health effects of the noise coming from the turbine.
Clerk Brianna Coughlin says much of the regulation set out in the bylaw meets standards already set by the provincial government. “We can’t go beyond that,” she says.
But Plympton-Wyoming is going to hold the wind energy companies to a new standard. “The only difference (from the provincial standards) is the bylaw has mention of infra-sound which not regulated by the province right now,” says Couglin.
Infrasound is inaudible for most people but can be perceived by other senses and it is measurable according to some experts says Couglin.
Under the bylaw, if a resident complains about infra sound, the municipality would hire an engineer qualified to take the measurements before laying a charge.
Under the proposed bylaw, fines – if a company is found guilty – can range from $500 to $10,000 per offence and could exceed $100,000 if the offense continues. The municipality could also recoup the cost of the specialized testing under the bylaw.
Plympton-Wyoming Mayor Lonny Napper says that while Suncor Energy (which is developing the Cedar Point project in the municipality) has yet to comment on the inclusion of infrasound in the bylaw, he thinks it is necessary.
“We think it is our obligation to look after the health of the people,” he says. “You just can’t make rules and not cover everything.”
And he believes the proposed fines are appropriate. “It’s no worse than polluting,” he says.
Council will get another look at the bylaw Wednesday. Couglin says council could decide to hold a public meeting to get input or it could pass it without public comment that evening.
Meantime, the municipality also introduced a bylaw which would see Suncor provide a letter of credit for the value of the scrap metal for the turbines instead of providing a deposit.
The bylaw would also see Suncor pay building permit fees of nearly $300,000 for the 27 turbines it plans to erect near Camlachie.