Res­i­dents fume as Wind­sor Hum drones on again

Windsor Star - - CITY+REGION - DAVE BATTAGELLO dbattag­ello@post­media.com

Whether they de­scribe it as non­stop truck idling or noisy wash­ing ma­chine, res­i­dents in west Wind­sor, LaSalle and down­river as far as Amher­st­burg are fired up over the in­fa­mous Wind­sor Hum, which is again grat­ing on their nerves at all hours of the day and night.

“It’s just been crazy,” said Mike Provost, a re­tiree in the 3800 block of Hill­crest Boule­vard. “My wife and I we can’t be­lieve how bad it’s been. It’s af­fect­ing our health. You get more headaches, it can hurt your ears and you have a lack of sleep.”

Provost tracks noise lev­els daily and his find­ings over the last sev­eral weeks, which he re­ports on Face­book, points to the Hum “be­ing crazy.”

He uses a 1 to 10 scor­ing sys­tem and recorded sev­eral in­stances of 10 plus un­der his noise track­ing sys­tem.

Sonya Skillings, who re­sides in the 3800 block of Poplar Av­enue, has also long been im­pacted by the noise and de­scribed it be­ing “hor­ren­dous” over the last few weeks.

“I’ve just be­come used to it, but lately it’s just been so in­tense,” she said. “Things are shak­ing in the house.”

One morn­ing last week, she thought her hus­band had started their wash­ing ma­chine af­ter get­ting out of bed early.

“It was that loud, so I got up, but it wasn’t the wash­ing ma­chine, it was the hum,” Skillings said. “It’s just been aw­ful and has been hap­pen­ing at the weird­est, wack­i­est times.”

Af­ter count­less com­plaints, fed­eral gov­ern­ment stud­ies in 2014 linked the dis­tur­bance to U.S. Steel Corp. op­er­a­tions on Zug Is­land. But an ex­act source was not pin­pointed since the De­part­ment of For­eign Af­fairs and In­ter­na­tional Trade said they were not al­lowed ac­cess to the site across the bor­der.

On the Wind­sor/Es­sex County Hum page on Face­book, one res­i­dent as far away as Amher­st­burg de­scribed last Fri­day night near the water­front as be­ing like a truck idling, “but loud.”

Provost has led let­ter-writ­ing cam­paigns, con­tacted politi­cians at ev­ery level and launched pe­ti­tions.

“Gov­ern­ments are ig­nor­ing us,” he said. “We have sent more pa­per­work to the fed­eral gov­ern­ment than you can imag­ine. They keep look­ing for ways to put this off.

“We would like them to iden­tify the source caus­ing the noise. There is no doubt in my mind they know who they are. If some­thing can be done to re­duce the noise — do it. I don’t want peo­ple to lose their jobs, we just want some sleep and peace and quiet.”

Mayor Drew Dilkens said his of­fice is­sued a let­ter ear­lier this year to U.S. Steel, but has not heard any­thing back.

“We have had dis­cus­sions with our con­sulate in Detroit, but the frus­trat­ing thing with the Hum is that it is not within the city’s ju­ris­dic­tion to han­dle,” he said on Wed­nes­day. “Res­i­dents hav­ing a prob­lem — we have ad­vo­cated on their be­half — but this re­ally re­quires the provin­cial or fed­eral gov­ern­ments to be ac­tive in or­der to see any res­o­lu­tion.”

Au­thor­i­ties on both sides of the bor­der con­tinue to duck the is­sue said MP Brian Masse (NDP — Wind­sor West). He is­sued a let­ter in late June to fed­eral For­eign Af­fairs Min­is­ter Chrys­tia Free­land, but re­ceived no re­sponse.

“We are get­ting com­plaints and this is the time of year it seems to es­ca­late,” Masse said. “We need an in­ter­na­tional agree­ment on this. There is no leg­is­la­tion in terms of (noise) en­force­ment ca­pa­bil­i­ties. Right now, it has to be done out of pro­fes­sional courtesy on the U.S. side. We were told be­fore there would be dis­cus­sions with coun­ter­parts in the U.S., but it just seems to get passed from one (fed­eral) min­is­ter to the next.”

There re­ally is no re­course for res­i­dents other than po­lit­i­cal ac­tion by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to end what has be­come a “ju­ris­dic­tional night­mare” to ad­dress years of noise and vi­bra­tions af­fect­ing res­i­dents on this side of the bor­der, Masse said.

A fed­eral gov­ern­ment spokesman re­sponded Wed­nes­day on be­half of Free­land’s of­fice, say­ing there have been at­tempts at dis­cus­sions with U.S. of­fi­cials re­gard­ing the Hum.

“The Gov­ern­ment of Canada is well aware of the se­ri­ous­ness of the com­plaints from res­i­dents in the City of Wind­sor as a re­sult of the noise,” said John Bab­cock, spokesman for Global Af­fairs Canada.

“We un­der­stand their con­cern. Our of­fi­cials have con­sis­tently raised the is­sue with their Amer­i­can coun­ter­parts and we will con­tinue to en­gage as we work to find a so­lu­tion.”

On the U.S. side, the Michi­gan De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Qual­ity was con­tacted about the is­sue and whether there are sim­i­lar com­plaints across the river, but a spokes­woman in­di­cated Wed­nes­day that MDEQ does not mon­i­tor noise com­plaints and “there­fore does not have the in­for­ma­tion you are re­quest­ing read­ily avail­able.”

Sonya Skillings

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