Airport-area turbines can stay – UPDATED

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Transport Canada has done an about-face, rescinding its order to have eight turbines removed near the Chatham-Kent Airport.

The federal body ordered the turbines pulled down in July, saying they were a safety hazard.

Municipal politicians disagreed, arguing the airport was safe, and that high-rises in Toronto were closer to Toronto Island Airport than the turbines were to our airstrip.

According to Mayor Randy Hope, Transport Canada advised the municipality Wednesday that it will no longer seek to have the turbines – which are owned by Erieau Wind – removed.

Hope said Nav Canada issued a Notice to Airmen, which was replaced with an altered Instrument Approach Chart so pilots are aware of the turbines and can stay away from them.

That move by Nav Canada placated Transport Canada, according to municipal officials.

“We’ve always said the airport was safe,” Hope told The Chatham Voice Wednesday. “This decision only reassures us.”

Chatham-Kent Essex MP Dave Van Kesteren said while the turbines are in violation of federal guidelines, Transport Canada opted to back away from the order.

“It’s a complicated issue. The city (municipality) was aware of where the perimeters were, but somehow the permits were still issued,” he said of how the turbines were built. “Through the course of time, objections were raised. The turbine company argued they aren’t a safety risk. Transport Canada will not be enforcing the order.”

Van Kesteren said wind turbines are springing up across the province, and will come close to other airports.

“Turbines more and more are becoming a reality. We’re looking for a safe co-existence,” he said.

Transport Canada did say no new wind turbines were to be erected near the Chatham airport, inside the Airport Zoning Regulations.

Hope said to his knowledge, no proposed turbines are in the works area anywhere near the airport.

In an e-mail to The Chatham Voice from Transport Canada, the federal entity said: “In July 2014, Transport Canada received a Notice of Objection from the law firm representing the wind farm proponent. After careful consideration, Transport Canada is discontinuing its enforcement action relating to the eight wind turbines near the Chatham-Kent Municipal Airport as it has been determined that it is not in the public interest … Transport Canada recognizes the importance of both aerodromes and wind energy and seeks to promote responsible development for their safe coexistence. The Department is reviewing its policy regarding aerodromes and obstacles and will develop guidance material to ensure consistency in the application of the policy across the country.”

4 COMMENTS

  1. As a pilot I certainly will NOT be coming back to Chatham airport! And I will tell every other pilot to do the same. Lives are worth more than the corporate greed that is behind these Industrial Wind Turbines!

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