Suncor wants much of Plympton-Wyoming’s noise bylaw axed

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A Suncor Energy representative calls Plympton-Wyoming’s noise bylaw “a novel approach” but wants much of the bylaw changed.

Suncor Energy is planning a 43-industrial turbine project around Camlachie. It’s the subject of an Environmental Review Tribunal Hearing. But the town has written and passed a noise bylaw to make sure residents aren’t bothered but low-level sound – called infrasound.

While the bylaw was passed, under the Municipal Act, people can ask for changes for up to a year.

Chris Scott was at Plympton-Wyoming Council recently to outline the company’s concerns with the bylaw which Suncor says “are concepts that are not well defined and not accepted by the general consensus of (acoustical) industry standards.”

While the noise bylaw wouldn’t stop Suncor from building the project, Scott says operating it would be another thing. The bylaw, he says, amounts to an “outright ban on infrasound” and “the testing methods are vague and inadequately defined.”

Scott says everything, including people, emit infrasound, making it impossible to turn on the turbines.

And he suggested it would be difficult to measure low-level noise. Scott says there are instruments to measure the lower limits of infrasound as Plympton-Wyoming’s bylaw suggests, but “they are not typically available…and should be struck from the bylaw.”

And he says provisions which would force companies to pay legal costs if there are infractions of the bylaw go to far. “It says all reasonable costs to get a conviction – there would be no ceiling of costs for that reason it should be struck.”

Mayor Lonny Napper says the list of Suncor’s concerns will be forwarded to the town’s legal team but he’s perplexed what the company wants the bylaw to look like.

“I don’t know what Suncor wants other than giving them a blank piece a paper and writing it themselves.”



4 Responses to “Suncor wants much of Plympton-Wyoming’s noise bylaw axed”

  1. Admin

    I have blogged on the P-W Noise By-law to urge other municipalities
    to do the same:
    What strikes me as laughable in Suncor’s objection is it’s an “outright ban on infrasound” and “industry standards”, which standards are entirely self-serving. Of course, Suncor offers no alternative wording because it wants the by-law axed.

  2. Mark Cool

    In terms of credibility, Suncor Energy appears refusing to recognize & appreciate the expert review by the Standard Director of the Acoustical Society of America – Paul D. Schomer, Ph.D., P.E. The Standards Director said that the recent Copper/Pasific Hydro study conducted in Austrailia proves that there are other pathways, beyond visual, and audible, by which wind turbine emissions can cause some specific effects in some people. It is precisely due to the concepts not being well defined and that require further research that justify all the more reason to enable the Bylaw to err on the side of protective caution. Suncor promotes a ridiculous argument implying that because a sound measuring instrument isn’t typically available, that a lower standard of protection is warranted in the Bylaw. Lastly, provisions which force Suncor Energy to pay legal costs if there are infractions of the bylaw are legally reasonable and customary penalties associated with zoning enforcement actions. Said protocol is hardly something new or an arbitrarily designed hardship.

  3. Abdou

    Well done Lonny Napper and municipality of Plympton-Wyoming. You oiuobvsly have courageous elected officials who are not afraid to stand up for their residents. I hope that more municipalities will follow suit.

  4. B Collier

    I would like to thank our council and Lonny Napper for continuing to forge ahead with our objections to the wind turbines. I do not understand why the majority does not rule in this situation. “Suncor….WE SAID NO”