Posted By SARAH SLOAN , Shoreline Beacon
Saugeen Shores could be the next municipality to halt the set up of wind farms based on the argument Ontario’s Green Energy Act infringes on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Three deputations spoke before the committee-of-the-whole meeting last Tuesday night arguing wind turbines are still causing unrest in Saugeen Shores, bordering towns and other communities in Ontario.
The deputations were presented to councillors from concerned residents about the adverse effects caused by the wind turbines and the lack of compassion from the government.
William Palmer of Paisley went before committee to express his unrest of the deprivation of basic Canadian rights and freedoms imposed in Ontario by provincial government action regarding placement of wind turbines.
Palmer’s presentation focused on the basic right and freedom being attacked; evidence that citizens’ attempts to identify the situation have failed to be acted on by responsible authorities; and supporting evidence of the deprivation of rights and freedoms.
“In Ontario, the right to life, liberty, and security of the person is being deprived by the installation of wind turbines too close to homes, roads, and property where persons have a reasonable right to be,” expressed Palmer.
He said that although the attack on those rights have been determined, there has been no justification put in place for taking away those rights.
As someone who has spent many years of his career securing public safety in relation to the Canadian Nuclear Field throughout Ontario, he said by applying the rules of engineering risk assessment the way wind turbine proponents are considering public safety is very different to other technologies. He explained in the case of a nuclear accident, risk assessment means you assume a resident is present on the boundaries of the facility when the incident takes place, consumes produce from a local garden, eats contaminated fish, or consumes milk from local cows.
“It forces the plant to keep accident rates very low, or risk targets cannot be met,” he said.
“In contrast, proponents of wind turbines calculate risk in a very different manner, in that when the accident happens, they assume that the probability of a member of the public actually being present in the risk area as for example where blades may land (either along the public roadway, or working on their own field adjacent to the wind turbine) is very low.”
He said the risk to the life of a resident at the setback distance approved by the Ontario regulations is in the order of 2,000 times higher than the risk from a nuclear power plant, which in turn is denying the right to life, liberty and security of a person.
Saugeen Shores resident John Mann showed his support for the adoption of a wind-turbine by-law similar to the one enacted by Arran-Elderslie Mann agreed with what Palmer alluded to, and the hypocrisy of the Green Energy Act.
“One injured resident is unacceptable,” he said.
“I keeping hearing from the ‘government’ that there are no studies about ill health effects and wind turbines… I personally know people who are sick from turbines.”
Mann said he knew of one couple that had to leave their home, and that no matter how many studies are conducted it will not change the fact that the wind turbines are causing damage to actual people. He raised the issue to councillors that although the Ontario Government said there are no negative health effects from the turbines, they still require a set back.
“Why?” he asked. “Because they hurt people.”
Mann went on to express the importance of up keeping the landscapes that draw so many people to the area, and how the community has a major investment in protecting its heritage.
“Saugeen Shores is a world-class tourist destination because of its pristine landscape,” he explained.
Mann said residents are lucky to live in the area and it should remain so.
“Saugeen Shores is not an industrial complex. These primitive machines are huge, major league electrical industrial machines. The red lights… need I say anything more”
Mann stressed there are too many people in Saugeen Shores to allow such an invasion that if they come it is only a matter of time before someone gets hurt.
Barbara Ashbee of Orangeville came all the way to Saugeen Shores to advise councillors on the impact existing wind farms are having on Ontario residents, as one who has had to abandon her house.
Ashbee, has had first hand knowledge of the negative effects after having had to abandon her house, uproot her family and relocate.
“I have first hand knowledge and my purpose is to warn you of some of the misleading information and issues many homeowners are experiencing,” she said to councillors.
She explained that there are multiple families in a similar situation as her who no longer live in their homes, after being forced out by excessive noise, low frequency vibration, and electrical problems. She agreed with Mann that there is nothing in the Green Energy Act that offers any protection for the health of the residents.
Ashbee noted there are more than 100 known and reported cases of the detrimental health effects in the province, and not one of the families are being taken care of. She said that the number is higher than what is on record due to stress about speaking publicly about their families, their property value, and who fear that if they do speak up legal action will be brought against them.
Ashbee also explained that when the families did leave their homes for period of time, their symptoms get better.
“Little children are now experiencing terrible earaches and headaches that they didn’t have prior to the start up of the wind farm,” she said.
“When they are removed from their home they get better,”
In closing Ashbee explained that she had been in touch with a number of victims of wind farms across Ontario, who were not opposed to wind energy before the wind turbines were set up. She said that these residents are “genuinely suffering” and the government is well aware, and will not work to alleviate the problems.