Suncor Energy says Plympton-Wyoming’s new noise bylaw will make it physically impossible to operate the Cedar Point Wind Energy Centre.
The municipality has been throwing up roadblocks to try to stop the multi-national energy company from putting 42 industrial wind turbines in Plympton-Wyoming near Camlachie and Lambton Shores. It has already had one bylaw regulating how far the turbines can be from homes and setting high building permit fees thrown out by a provincial judge.
It’s currently trying to stop the project at an Environmental Review Tribunal Hearing.
Recently the municipality passed a new noise bylaw to ease some of the residents concerns about the project. It was the first bylaw in the province to include regulations around infrasound – low-level sound that some experts believe leads to headaches and sleeplessness in residents who live near the turbines.
Those infrasound regulations are a big problem according to Suncor Manager of Development and Engineering Jody Hood.
“If you follow the definition used (in the bylaw) that includes any sound from 0 to 20 range, it is physically impossible not to emit sound in that range,” Hood told councilors. “All of us in this room are breathing and are creating that noise.”
“When have a bylaw that says there is to be no infrasound that is technically impossible,” he added. “That means we would not be able to operate ….it places a hurdle that is physically impossible to get over.
“In our view, we wouldn’t be able to operate the project nor would anyone be able to operate anything.”
Councilor Netty McEwen wonders why Suncor is only bringing this up now, after the bylaw has been passed. “You were aware we passed this bylaw and we thought there was no problems,” she told Hood.
“All of the concerns here were definitely discussed – they were on that draft,” says Hood noting Suncor’s concerns weren’t addressed.
“We thought we had a pretty good bylaw,” says Mayor Lonny Napper noting the municipality worked with environmental lawyers to craft the document.
Suncor will send a written submission to the municipality of all its concerns so Plympton-Wyoming’s lawyers and council can address them. “We wanted to make sure we knew how you wanted to proceed so we will bring detailed concerns to council and move forward from there.”