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


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.”