Saugeen Shores to file Free­dom of in­for­ma­tion re­quest

Shoreline Beacon - - News -

The Town of Saugeen Shores will file a Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion re­quest to get re­sults of acous­tic test­ing done this spring of oper­a­tions of the Uni­for wind tur­bine at its Fam­ily Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­tre in Port El­gin — a tur­bine some area res­i­dents and elected of­fi­cials be­lieve is not in com­pli­ance with its op­er­at­ing agree­ment, and is caus­ing health is­sues.

The Town’s on-go­ing frus­tra­tion with Uni­for and the lo­cal Min­istry of En­vi­ron­ment and Cli­mate Change (MOECC) was ev­i­dent at the Aug. 18 com­mit­tee of the whole meet­ing when coun­cil­lors called for the FOI af­ter re­ceiv­ing an Acous­tic Im­mis­sion Au­dit Up­date from the MOECC District Manager. It was in re­sponse to Saugeen Shores’ July 11 let­ter de­tail­ing con­cerns about in­suf­fi­cient data to make a de­ter­mi­na­tion of com­pli­ance, and with Uni­for’s re­fusal to share any re­sults with the Town.

In the most re­cent let­ter, MOECC District Manager Rick Chap­pell con­curred with the Town’s re­quest to re­in­stall mon­i­tor­ing equip­ment in two lo­ca­tions with con­tin­ued mon­i­tor­ing at a third.

“It is the min­istry’s ex­pec­ta­tion that a full and com­plete re­port for all three lo­ca­tions be sub­mit­ted as early as pos­si­ble in the fall of this year so a full assess­ment by the min­istry can be com­pleted in ac­cor­dance with the Min­istry’s Com­pli­ance Pro­to­col,” Chap­pell wrote.

Saugeen Shores Deputy Mayor Luke Char­bon­neau sug­gested they send an­other let­ter to the Min­is­ter ask­ing that the acous­tic test­ing be made manda­tory, and to en­sure one of sites tested is one where a com­plaint was lodged.

“If they don’t re­ceive [test re­sults] this fall, the Min­istry should or­der the [tur­bine] shut down, per­ma­nently, be­cause they have to make [test­ing] manda­tory and they have to put that back­stop on it or they’ll never get re­sults — I think that’s clear,” Char­bon­neau said, adding the Town needs to file a FOI re­quest to get what­ever data is avail­able of tur­bine oper­a­tions and to get all cor­re­spon­dence be­tween Uni­for and the Min­istry about the tur­bine that has been in op­er­a­tion for six years.

In sup­port of the FOI re­quest, Coun. Dave Myette said it is time, or even over­due, for the Town to

“get ag­gres­sive on this file and in­sist, as op­posed to re­quest, that the com­pli­ance is met and prom­ises are kept, and there be con­se­quences, se­vere as they may be, at­tached to fail­ure to com­ply...” Myette said.

Coun. Neil Me­nage said maybe they should thank the Min­istry as Chap­pell wrote “The Min­istry re­quests that all data col­lected to date be sub­mit­ted to the min­istry so it can de­ter­mine of there is suf­fi­cient data to as­sess com­pli­ance or de­ter­mine if mit­i­ga­tion should be im­ple­mented un­til a full com­mis­sions au­dit can be com­pleted.”

“That sounds to me like about as heavy lan­guage as they can pos­si­bly get out of that [MOECC] of­fice, telling them ’cough up the in­for­ma­tion you’ve got now ’ ... . and if there’s enough in­for­ma­tion we will fol­low through.” Shouldn’t we be thank­ing then for that?“Me­nage asked.

Mayor Mike Smith noted Uni­for has de­nied Town re­quests for the test data, and asked “why do they have to keep it se­cret?”

CAO David Smith said the Town is an­tic­i­pat­ing the MOECC “may” refuse to share the test data, hence the need for the FOI re­quest.

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