I’m no doctor, and I’m not about to play one in this column. But one has to simultaneously wonder about the health effects of wind turbines and feel for the soon-to-be lab rats living in the proposed shadow of 500-foot monoliths.
Invenergy LLC plans to erect 25-35 turbines in the countryside northeast of Guelph. And make no mistake, the project will almost certainly receive approval.
About a year ago, the province made changes to the Green Energy Act and in January, Premier Dalton McGuinty made a $7-billion investment in the green-energy sector. The main focus of the investment is wind and solar electricity. It all makes it easier and faster to approve and build wind farms.
Companies applying for wind farms require only two things: Renewable energy approval from the Ontario Ministry of Environment and a power contract with Ontario Power Authority.
What isn’t apparently required is any sort of health study examining the effects of living beneath several of these behemoths; even though the province openly admits more needs to be known.
‘‘Going forward, the ministry of the environment will develop the science to monitor and measure low frequency noise, as currently there are no established and accepted protocols.” the ministry said on its website. ‘‘In the future, wind farm operators may be required, through conditions of the renewable energy approval, to monitor and address perceptible low frequency noise once acceptable protocols for doing so have been established.”
One has to question why those protocols are not established long before another shovel breaks ground in construction of another turbine? Why are the people of Belwood being asked to play the part of guinea pig?
It’s simply not fair. It’s almost inhumane. To think, taxpaying citizens will be forced into this experiment.
This isn’t simply a case of NIMBY and potentially plummeting property values — although I’m sure those are the main concerns of some.
But they certainly are not the priorities for the likes of vocal opponents Silvana Sangiuliano and Laura Humphrey, both of whom are loving, concerned parents of young children.
Both admit to fearing for their families’ collective health.
Ontario Minister of Environment Brad Duguid recently wrote in a letter to the editor that “currently, there is no evidence to support the correlation between wind turbines and their impact on health.”
Ignorance is no excuse.
Duguid went on to write “we all want to leave a cleaner, more sustainable planet for our children and grandchildren. That is why it only makes sense to invest in green, renewable energy . . . ”
If Duguid and the province truly care so much about the children and grandchildren, wouldn’t it make sense to ensure their safety first?
The province recently appointed a research chair to “examine any new research that may come forward.”
But in the meantime, wind turbines will continue to crop up across Ontario. What if new research does, in fact, find turbines are unhealthy?
Who pays for the removal of those already in existence? Who pays for the ailing health of those having lived beneath them for days, months or years already?
Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott asked a year ago, “why the rush?”
And that’s precisely what Belwood residents want to know, too.
Arnott wants to see controversial wind farm projects placed on hold, pending completion of a study documenting their health effects.
“Before building massive new wind farms, we need to know they’re safe,” he said March 25. “That’s the valid point my constituents are making.”
Too bad the Liberal majority at Queen’s Park is missing it.