WPD White Pines first public meeting: an exercise in frustration
[Revised to correct two errors]
Of the hundreds of people who attended the first WPD White Pines public meeting on March 22, 2012, it appeared that the vast majority were (and are) opposed to the project.
The representatives of WPD and Stantec were unable to answer all but the most basic questions. In particular, they didn’t know how many houses (which they insist on calling “receptors”) will be within 1.5 km or 2.0 km of a turbine (a requirement of GEA regulations).
They couldn’t confirm the route of the 29-km high-voltage transmission line that connects the project’s substation to the Hydro One substation north of Picton. BUT they now have Maypul Layn Road pencilled in as the route within the project footprint.
Ian MacRae, the CEO of WPD Canada couldn’t provide any information on the cost to construct the turbines, much less the percentage that would be spent locally. He didn’t know how many permanent operations and maintenance jobs would be created. And yet their information touts “benefits to the community”.
WPD had a PhD (in molecular biology) in attendance from an environmental health consulting firm as their expert on health effects. He suggested that only 10% of the closest residents (exposed to the maximum 40 dBA level) will be annoyed by the turbines, and that this annoyance is mostly psychosomatic, due to being in a situation not within the individual’s control.
Other research indicates that 20% to 40% of all people living within 2 km of a wind turbine will suffer adverse health effects including annoyance (in the medical sense), stress and sleep disturbance leading eventually to heart disease and cancer, the cause being low frequency sound and infrasound.
As far as the project’s impact on the natural environment, WPD has indicated that they may not release their study to the public until 60 days prior to the final public meeting, anticipated this summer. This may give local naturalist groups inadequate time to prepare their reponse.
The comment that I heard most often from people expressing their views at the meeting was: “We don’t want more information; we just want you out of here”.
Attending this meeting was an exercise in frustration. But it was necessary to ensure that WPD and MOE appreciate the extent of the opposition to this project.