By Richard Vivian, Orangeville Banner
For years now, two Amaranth families have endured a long list of ailments they claim are caused by “electrical pollution” from the neighbouring transformer station.
With no solution in sight, MPP Sylvia Jones is calling on Minster of the Environment John Wilkinson to step in and help them out.
“It’s gone on too long,” Jones, who made her request to the minister on May 6, said. “The minister must take responsibility and ensure this matter is resolved.”
It appears, however, like a resolution isn’t coming anytime soon — at least not one that satisfies the Kidd and Whitworth families.
Wilkinson insists his ministry has already taken steps to address their concerns and, in a statement provided to The Banner, made no commitment to do more.
“They changed the transformer to a quieter model, implemented acoustic barriers, landscaped the area for additional screening and provided three years of acoustic measurements,” the minister said.
“The transformer is now in compliance with our stringent noise requirements. We have not heard from either family about noise issues in over a year.”
The 10th Line families point the finger for their nausea, headaches, loss of balance, diarrhea and more at the nearby TransAlta transformer station, which connects 137 industrial wind turbines to the electrical grid.
“Finally, somebody is willing to try to do something to help us,” Terry Kidd said of Jones, not giving up hope an end is near. “I hope she’s able to do something.”
So far, attempts by Terry and Theresa Kidd, as well as Ted and Cheryl Whitworth, to find a solution to their situation — they now want to be bought out and compensated — have failed.
Representatives of TransAlta, which purchased the substation from Canadian Hydro Developers, deny any responsibility for the families’ illnesses.
According to Ted Whitworth, they’ve only met with TransAlta once, and all the changes referred to be Wilkinson were implemented by Canadian Hydro.
During the TransAlta meeting, Whitworth said the company presented them with three options: live with it and adapt, sell your homes and move, or file a lawsuit.
The problem is too bad to stay, he said, and no one would want to buy their house given the situation. Nor do they have the money to file a lawsuit against a multi-national corporation.
A consultant hired by the Kidds suggests there is a problem at their home.
“It appears that there is cross contamination of electrical pollution from the wind farm generation onto the electrical distribution system that supplies power to neighbouring homes,” David Colling, who brought in equipment to measure the electricity in the air, states in a reported dated Feb. 8, 2010, but based on measurements taken the previous April.
“What your family has been suffering from is likely electrical hypersensitivity,” it adds.
“You have 10kHz micro surges being introduced into your home, therefore it compares to living inside a microwave oven environment.”
After receiving the report, Terry and Theresa left their home, moving in with family near Dundalk. As a result, they said their symptoms have abated.
The Whitworths, however, have not left their home and continue to experience health issues.
Provincial legislation approved since the station was installed require they have a minimum setback of 500 metres from the nearest residence. The Kidds’ home is 390 metres from the station and the Whitworths’ is 490.
“Their family physician has said there is a problem,” Jones said, noting the doctor has the “added credibility” of being a former medical officer of health for the Region of Peel.
“(Wilkinson) kept bouncing it back to the regional office of the Ministry of the Environment,” Jones added of the concerns raised.
“He can’t continue to put it back onto the civil service.”