Crowd of 200 hears warnings about wind turbines in Elmwood

By Mary Golem, Owen Sound Sun Times

With landowners in the area now being approached by wind energy companies to sign land leases, “we need to arm ourselves with as much information as we can in order to make an informed decision,” Ingrid DeVisser told close to 200 people attending a public information session on industrial wind turbines in Elmwood Tuesday evening.

Just how many landowners in the Hanover/Brockton area have been approached is unclear, but DeVisser stressed to those in attendance they need to do “a personal assessment” of the possible risks including health effects from noise and vibration on both human and animal health, the financial implications “and the ethics — is it right?” she asked, “before signing anything.”

A panel of three anti-wind energy experts — an electrical pollution consultant, a retired pharmacist and a landowner forced to vacate her home because of health issues caused by nearby turbines — spent about two hours warning those in attendance about low frequency noise and related health concerns, stray voltage and electrical hypersensitivity, decreased land values and restrictive land leases.

Speaking mainly about low frequency noise, Carmen Krogh, a retired pharmacist who has not only extensively studied the effect of such noise but also suffers from its effects, said “some people doubt that these symptoms occur. I can tell you they are real. Low frequency noise is an annoyance and an annoyance is described by the World Health Organization as an adverse health effect,” Krogh said, adding low frequency noise can cause everything from sleeplessness and problems concentrating to increased physical stress, pychological problems and even heart palpitations. “Also understated is the impact of shadow flicker” caused by turbine blades.

Krogh said there is currently no scientific methodology to measure wind turbine noise “to determine if they are compliant to acceptable noise decibel levels or not . . . there needs to be more research . . . these turbines need to be moved away from residences . . . we need to understand what the impacts are before any more of these are built.”

Ripley-area electrical pollution tester David Colling claims “dirty electricity” or stray voltage caused by turbines “will make you sick.” He said the high frequency voltage on the transmission lines coming from the turbines interferes with the standard power lines leading into homes.

Colling, a former dairy farmer, admitted he signed a lease with a wind energy developer, along with some of his neighbours, in 2004 but urged those at the meeting “not to make the same mistake I did. After I saw what these things were doing to my neighbours and my community, I knew I had to get out,” adding he was “fortunate enough to get out of my lease, which had expired, after three years.”

Colling said he personally knows of five families in the Ripley area who have had to abandon their homes “and are living in motels paid for by the wind companies” because of serious health issues caused by turbines in their area.

“Yet people on the street told these people they were crazy . . . they’re under gag orders by the wind companies not to say anything, but their health concerns are very real. These people were sick,” Colling said, warning those attending the meeting not to get involved.

Describing what he has seen happen to his community since the turbines went up as “horrific”, Colling was emotional when he stated “it will split your community . . . all these turbines do is make greedy people more greedy. Those in favour are driven by greed and the almighty dollar and it will destroy your community. I’ve seen it happen.”

Barbara Ashbee knows full well the health effects caused from living near wind turbines. While she spoke, she played a taped recording of the noise from a wind turbine. After hearing the recording for only a few minutes, many in attendance breathed a deep sigh of relief when the recording was turned off.

“Silence really is golden,” meeting chair Bruce Jacklin commented, as several in the audience nodded their heads in agreement.

When noise decibel levels consistently reached over 68 in their home, Ashbee said she and her husband — both suffering from headaches, nausea, lack of sleep and other health issues — were forced to leave their home.

“It was heartbreaking,” she admitted later, “but we had to. We couldn’t stand it.”

“Once we left our house the symptoms went away. What does that tell you?”

Ashbee says she knows of “several” families across Ontario similarly affected “yet still today our government denies there’s any effect from these things. Ontario families are powerless to defend themselves against these big wind turbine companies.”

“When I hear of other families being affected I can offer them no help, just empathy. I know what they are going through and it’s awful,” she said. “We are all victims of a flawed energy policy.”

Brockton Coun. Anne Louise Gibbons serves as the municipality’s representative on the municipally-driven working group committee, spearheaded by Arran-Elderslie council, which is looking into how area municipalities can prevent any further wind development projects in the area.

“We’re doing what we can to ensure our area is not destroyed by these monsters on the horizon,” Gibbons said, admitting “there’s very little municipalities can do because of the Green Energy Act. “What we are doing is gathering information and with that, we will develop protocols.”

7 thoughts on “Crowd of 200 hears warnings about wind turbines in Elmwood

  1. I believe the IWT industrialists and proponent politicians will try to convince each other that they don’t know about any associated “problems” for as long as they can.

    Surely they know that eventually all the leases and agreements will be subject to courts of law in which their “failure to disclose” these same problems will be paramount in invalidating them.

    I think that they just want to prolong their monitary gain and political mileage as long as they can, all on the backs of the affected rural communities and the province’s citizens at large.

    When the legal repercussions eventually “hit the fan”, I figure they’ll probably just fall back on the all too familiar “But I didn’t know!”, “But the ‘experts’ said” and “I was just following orders.”

    If history is any teacher, maybe when the eventual change of regime attitude occurs, a conspiracy to defraud can be proven and ill-gotten-gains will be confiscated in order to re-imburse victims and their families. What goes around comes around .. ironic turn of phrase!

  2. A heartfelt thanks to Carmen, David, and Barbara for continuing to speak out against the IWTs being slathered across our beautiful countryside. I know I speak for many who are equally frustrated with whats been happening in our province. Keep up the fight! Make up and send out flyers, write articles in you local paper, join an action group. All of these are effective ways to spread the word that we will not sit down and shut up, while our Government goes ahead and invites wind companies into our province to destroy our health, our homes, our land, our income. Together lets show them that we do have a voice… loud and clear!

  3. Hanover/Brockton residents beware! The sales people representing the wind turbine industry do not care for your well being. They will promise you the moon and you end up with the shaft. Their contracts are totally one-sided. To protect yourself (if you are thiking of signing on) you will need legal advice from legal specialists in the areas of real estate law, family law, environmental law, municipal law, to name but a few. The big wind farm companies do not care a RIP for you and all they want is your signature on their 60 pages of fine print which essentially signs over your property to them for at least the next 20 years. Your property and that of your neighbours will be devalued because of the existance of turbines there and you will be ostracized by your neighbours. Think very very carefully about this. The money you will be promised will not be there as the companies promise “up to” certain amounts just like the output of their turbines is “up to” x kWh. This is a very lucrative business for the wind turbine industry subsidized by the Ontario Government which means taxpayers. There is a huge downside for the landowner/lease-holder. The wind turbine sales person will not tell you the truth about that. We have seen what the situation has done in our community and many others across North America. You don’t want to be caught in the middle.

  4. People suffering from wind turbine syndrome are to some people nothing more than collateral damage that must be endured by some for the greater good of IWT installation in Ontario.

    In other words some people are expendable for the greater good of saving planet earth.

    This is why the present government won’t listen to any IWT health related issues. Just pretend that nothing is wrong! Then put out propaganda saying these are only imaginary problems.

  5. The governments knew about worldwide health issues 12 years ago

  6. I really wonder, and “hope” that when these now sitting Provincial leaders are thrown to the curb in October and are out from under the “protective fold” of Ontario’s rather twisted legislation that protects the “grifters” that have been floating around Queen’s Park lobbying their Green Gang” will actually get “charged” with collusion and fraud charges from actions we all know have caused massive ills for honest Onatrians.

    Maybe it’s something else McGuinty and his “henchmen” should worry about while sucking back the Pina Coladas this summer in their “turbine-free” cottage settings?

    We, the PEOPLE will not forget their names and faces no matter where they slither off to after their defeat!

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