Can a new noise bylaw be used against turbines?

By Daniel Pearce, Simcoe Reformer

Residents in the west end of Norfolk are calling on council to use its new noise bylaw to put a stop to the wind turbines next to them that they say are ruining their health.

In a presentation to elected officials Tuesday night, Stephana Johnston outlined the health problems residents, including herself, face due to the constant rotation of the towers’ propellers: headaches, sleeplessness, muscle twitching.

“At times it sounds like a 747 flying overhead. For others it’s a whoosh,” said Johnston, a retired school teacher who has had to rent a room in Delhi to sleep at night. “It’s an invasion of our peace and tranquility. It’s impossible to sell our properties.”

Johnston asked that the county word its new bylaw in a way that can help the residents shut down the turbines.

The county, however, no longer has control over the location of renewable energy projects thanks to the Green Energy Act, which has given all the power to the province, said Mayor Dennis Travale.

As well, the bylaw will only cover noise, not vibrations from the spinning propellers, said Fritz Enzlin, Norfolk’s chief building official.

“If it’s just a vibration, it’s not included in the bylaw,” he said.

The county is developing a new noise bylaw to replace the four others from the municipalities that were merged a decade ago to form the new Norfolk County.

“We want to do what is right. The problem is, ‘What is right?'” Wells said.

Johnston read letters from other residents who couldn’t come to the meeting.

One said “we are suffering a living hell” and the “consequences” of being next to the turbines “are real and debilitating.”

In a letter to council, Virginia and Hubert Seeliger of Lakeshore Road offered a list of homes that have been abandoned or left vacant and their sales prices — most of which are at least 30% lower than the original list price.

“The once beautiful and natural environment surrounding our property has been very negatively affected since the implementation of (the turbines) in the fall of 2008,” wrote the couple, who complained of sleeplessness, headaches, and pressure in the ears.

Council, Johnston warned, is only getting “one side” of the debate, the side of the wind development industry.

She said residents had tried to get the health unit involved but “instead of action we get the propaganda of the Canada and U.S. wind energy associations.”

Council has decided to wait to pass the measure while the public gets a chance to look at it and give feedback.

Port Dover Coun. John Wells said council is in a difficult situation, facing public opinion on the one hand that favours green energy and on the other residents who feel the windmills are hurting them.

Daniel Pearce

7 thoughts on “Can a new noise bylaw be used against turbines?

  1. “Port Dover Coun. John Wells said council is in a difficult situation, facing public opinion on the one hand that favours green energy and on the other residents who feel the windmills are hurting them.”

    No Counc. Wells, a difficult situation is if you are the one that can’t live in your house anymore. That is a difficult situation. Lose the political posturing and help these people.

  2. John Wells; its an easy decision. Men, Women, and children are being hurt by the Green Religion which is based on a distorted self righteous faith and not the full facts. The Green Religion is intolerant of others. Anyone who criticize them are labelled as anti renewable infidels (non believers).

    Stop the madness John. Help your people.

  3. “If it’s just a vibration, it’s not included in the bylaw”. JUST?????

  4. Vibrations = Sound

    Whether we “hear” it or not. Just ask someone who’s deaf. You can feel large vibrations.

    So much so that last night our whole house shook from thunder claps.

  5. Municipalities exist or disappear at the wish of provincial legislation.

    Zoning powers were removed from municipal regulation and now Councils appear to be abdicating responsibility to regulate audible and inaudible vibrations [these fall on a scale from 0 upward beyond human hearing to more than 30 000 Hz].

    Citizens, residents, taxpayers will question the need for a political entity which doesn’t have the power to protect them.

    Just because CanWEA and AWEA repeat in Goebbels-like propaganda that Industrial Wind Turbines [IWT’s] have no direct effect in destroying human beings, does NOT change the fact that the sleep deprivation caused by the IWT’s DOES raise adrenal hormone levels due to stress and subsequently does destroy those people.

  6. Since when does unsubstantiated public opinion trump physical pain and suffering? Why have we become this dispassionate and unfeeling to not stand by our neighbours who need our help?
    Council are our neighbours, they need to reclaim their voice.

  7. So I say once again…..if Municipalities claim they have no power left because of the Provincial Government are over ruling them then what good are they?

    In those exact claims aren’t they basically saying they aren’t required anymore?

    Dissolve your Municipal Council and save an awful lot of money paying for council chambers and useless local politicians.

    All you really need in a Municipality is a Roads Department and that could be handled by local private contractors!!!!!!!!!

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