News

Huron mulls partnership to investigate wind farms

By John Miner, The London Free Press

(File photo)

(File photo)

Derailed earlier this year, Huron County’s plan to investigate health complaints against wind farms could be back on track by fall.

The Huron County board of health is considering teaming up with Wind Concerns Ontario and the University of Waterloo to study complaints that the industrial wind turbines are causing headaches, dizziness, nosebleeds and other sleep ailments for some residents living nearby.

The rural county north of London is home to some of the province’s largest wind farms and hundreds of turbines.

The county had started a study, enrolling people online. But that was put on hold in May with some board members expressing concerns about the costs to the municipality and the possibility the work would duplicate other studies.

At a meeting last week, the health board accepted the fundamentals of collaborating with Waterloo, but now needs details on how much staff time the health unit would be required to contribute to the study, said Bluewater Mayor Tyler Hessel, chair of the health board.

Hessel said there are advantages to working with the university, instead of conducting their own independent investigation.

“There would be a lot more science behind it. We would have an educational institution with us in the process,” Hessel said Tuesday.

Jane Wilson, president of Wind Concerns Ontario, a provincial lobby group critical of wind farm development, said the partnership with Huron County and the university solves problems for all parties.

“We needed someone to collect the reports of citizen problems and they needed someone to do the technical work. It seemed very favourable,” Wilson said.

“I’m hoping they see the benefits,” she said.

If Huron County decides if it doesn’t want to proceed with a partnership, Wind Concerns and the university could look at doing the study in another area, she said.

“There are other municipalities interested in responding to noise complaints as well.”

jminer@postmedia.com

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