Residents fume as Windsor Hum drones on again
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.”