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Wind farm hearing in Hagersville underway

Monte Sonnenberg — Simcoe Reformer — May 28, 2012

HAGERSVILLE – Haldimand Wind Concerns and other opponents of the Summerhaven wind farm near Jarvis have their work cut out for them.

In opening arguments before the province’s Environmental Review Tribunal on Monday, project advocates reminded the panel that the threshold for scrapping the project is very high.

“The onus is on the appellants,” Nadine Harris, counsel for the Ministry of the Environment, said in her opening remarks about the 58-turbine project. “The onus is on the appellants to prove that the project will — not may — cause serious harm if operated in accordance with the terms of its approval.”

Harris and Toronto lawyer Dennis Mahony, counsel for Summerhaven LLP, addressed their opening comments to the fact that Haldimand Wind Concerns, the main group opposing the project, intends to call 20 witnesses to testify about their experiences with 10 wind turbine projects elsewhere.

Mahony reminded chair Heather Gibbs that the terms-of-reference for the hearing limit the tribunal to weighing evidence directly related to the construction and operation of the Summerhaven network. Mahony said anecdotal evidence from non-experts about turbine projects elsewhere should carry no weight. Mahony told the panel it had to leave open the possibility that people who say wind turbines make them ill may be suffering from psychosomatic symptoms.

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