CAW turbine in Port Elgin starts spinning
A year after being built, the controversial Canadian Auto Workers wind turbine on the edge of Port Elgin, Ont. is in motion.
Kim Yardy, the Port Elgin representative for the CAW, says the hope is the turbine will offset some of the energy they use and that the union believed it was time for the union to “put its money where its mouth was and to invest in green energy and it’s nice to see that’s finally happening.”
There have been years of appeals and arguing about the turbine, and signs in front of area homes seem to indicate not everyone is happy.
Luke Charbonneau, councillor for Saugeen Shores, says the turbine is “as close as 200 metres from local residents, local houses and that’s too close. And it’s in the wrong spot.”
There are at least 100 homes within the provincially mandated setback of 550 metres, because the CAW turbine was approved before distance requirement.
No one lives closer to the turbine than Nicki Axford, who says she hasn't felt any ill effects in the first three days of its operation, but she is worried.
"We actually haven't noticed a difference, we’re just a bit worried about our daughter and what could happen further along down the road."
Charbonneau also lives close to the turbine and says several of his neighbours took pre-turbine baseline health tests and will be monitoring their health to see if the potential noise or infrasound from the machine is harming them.
It’s only been turning for a few days and he says “We’re already starting to hear some folks talk about about the noise, noise issues at night, keeping them awake at night.”
The CAW says they haven't received any formal complaints yet, but they've set up a complaint box at the base of the turbine as well as online forms that can be filled out.
“We don't anticipate that there’s going to be any concerns, this is one turbine," Yardy says.
Axford and her young family may not stick around to see how the CAW turbine turns out. Their uncertainty may send them elsewhere.
"What can you to do? It’s not like they’re going to stop it or we can turn it off. So I guess the next step would be finding somewhere else to go."