Toronto Star

Ontario court dismisses wind turbine appeals brought by farm families


An Ontario court has dismissed a set of appeals from four families who sought to have provincial legislatio­n related to the approvals of largescale wind farms in the province declared unconstitu­tional.

In a decision released Monday, a panel of three Divisional Court judges ruled against the claims of the families, who were concerned about the potential health effects of living as close as 500 metres to the tur- bines. The families had argued that provincial legislatio­n makes it impossible to scuttle a project on the basis of potential health impacts.

The case was considered the first constituti­onal challenge to the Green Energy Act to reach the appellate court level.

At issue were the proposed $850million K2 Wind project, which would see 140 turbines put up near Goderich, and two other projects: the 92-turbine Armow wind farm near Kincardine and the 15-turbine St. Columban wind farm near Seaforth.

The provincial Environmen­t Ministry had approved the projects, and the companies argued their projects are safe.

In upholding the ministry approvals, the Environmen­tal Review Tribunal decided it had no conclusive proof that turbines pose a health hazard to those living near them.

A lawyer for the families had compared the turbines to new neighbours who might drive you to dis- traction and out of your home because you have no legal way to deal with the situation. The panel of judges, however, found that the tribunal had considered evidence related to the turbines adequately.

“It was clear from the Tribunals’ decisions . . . that they assessed and weighed the evidence of the post-turbine witnesses in light of the expert medical evidence which they heard,” the judges wrote.

Earlier this year, Health Canada reported a study of 1,200 residents in Ontario and P.E.I. turned up no sign of health problems caused by wind turbine noise.

The noise might be annoying but there was no link to sleep disturbanc­es, dizziness, tinnitus, migraines, increased blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes, the agency said.

Critics, however, argued Health Canada had not released details of what they called a poorly designed study and said it had yet to undergo any peer review.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada