Property values blown away: Chatham Lawyer

London Free Press

PORT ROWAN – Wind turbines are hurting the economies of Ontario municipalities by driving down waterfront property values and effectively keeping new industry away, says a Chatham-area lawyer involved in the fight against wind power.

Turbines have become so unpopular people no longer buy homes “if they see one anywhere within 360 degrees,” said Douglas Desmond of Ridgetown.

This results in diving property values, which in turn leads to lower assessments and fewer property tax dollars collected, Desmond told a session organized by the group Carolinian Canada Coalition.

As well, communities such as Chatham-Kent — which saw its first turbines go up last fall — won’t have the stock of luxury waterfront homes needed “to court senior management” of companies looking for locations for their factories and offices, he added.

“We need the residential development along our shorelines for the tax base,” Desmond said. “You can really gouge lakeshore people.

“The economic impact (of the turbines) will extend far into the economy of Chatham-Kent.”

Desmond was speaking to a group of conservationists gathered at the Legion here for an afternoon information session.

Opposition to turbines has been growing across Ontario. Residents in communities that host them — including the west end of Norfolk County — say they are suffering from a myriad of health problems caused by the towers’ swirling blades, such as headaches and sleeplessness.

Some say they have had to move out of their homes completely.

The average drop in property values for homes near turbines is 20-40%, said Desmond, who lives with turbines close to his farm.

“My home has lost 100% of its value,” Houghton-area resident Stephana Johnston told the meeting. “I can’t sleep in my home.”

Stricter regulations for new wind turbine projects could be on the way, however, Desmond said.

An Environmental Review Tribunal hearing held this spring in Chatham could call for a lengthening of the mandatory 550-metre setback between homes and turbines to 1,500-2,000 metres, he told the meeting.

Many of the world’s top experts took part in the hearing, Desmond said. “It’ll be an extremely important decision, whatever the tribunal decides . . . They are waiting all over the world for this decision.”

Chatham-Kent now has 203 turbines but plans call for another 430, he said.

Since the first ones went up last fall, complaints from residents have been “coming in fast and furious,” said Desmond.

Town halls are handcuffed by the Green Energy Act, which has allows the province to locate wind and solar projects wherever they want without the say-so of local government, the meeting was reminded.

Desmond called for municipalities to band together and demand the province stop excluding them from the planning process for wind and solar developments.

14 thoughts on “Property values blown away: Chatham Lawyer

  1. And of course there is this line…

    “What defines Ontario? From Thunder Bay to Shirley’s Bay, Hammertown to Hogtown, what makes us who we are? I could sit here and tell you that it’s our ability to lead,” intones McGuinty.

    “But you already know that. You already know that we’re a province of hard workers—not complainers. When we get knocked down, we help each other up,” he continues.

    Unless it was you (McGuinty) that knocked them down in the first place — in which case you kick them….

    http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/999474–ontario-liberals-launch-province-wide-ad-blitz

    Ontario’s governing Liberals have launched a province-wide TV and web ad blitz to set the stage for the Oct. 6 election.

    You must believe….

    Liberal — Heal Thy Self!

  2. Does anyone have any photos of animals who have been injured by stray voltage?

    If so, please post them on the internet.

    • Animals don’t necessarily look like they have been affected by stray voltage. Their health in general just declines, as they don’t eat and drink as much as they want to, or are able to because of the continual little shocks they receive. So some animals are thinner than they would normally be, but there is not a physical symptom which would indicate, Ah, ha, THAT animal has been affected by stray voltage. The biggest one being that the females tend to abort and the males will likely be sterile or can lead to sterility. Bigger animals are more sensitive to stray voltage than smaller animals, because of their size.

      I would in a way compare it to the families who have had to leave their homes due to IWT’s. Their health is compromised because of lack of sleep, inner ear problems, etc. Just a general deterioration in health, which can then lead to other bigger health issues. By looking at them you can not say Oh, they have IWT syndrome.

  3. From what I know about the CCC and other environmental groups, is that they welcome turbine development closer to lakeshores because it essentially halts future housing/subdivision developments which is also a detriment to the fragile habitat along the shores.
    Maybe the lawyer is also a developer wishing to subdivide his farm? It may be worth looking into…

    • And Industrial Wind Turbines are less of a threat to the fragile habitats along the lakeshores than cottages and houses? These eco-nuts are talkin’ thru their Tilleys …

  4. Don’t fall for the old…”Stricter regulations for new wind turbine projects could be on the way, however, Desmond said.” They simply have no redeeming qualities and they don’t belong anywhere!

    • Stricter regulations are on the way which will make IWTs more costly and more costly to operate and maintain. The costs of all this will be passed on to electricity consumers.

      Agreed,they are a waste of money.

  5. Regulation does add to the price…

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/may/30/environmental-tax-threatens-green-energy-research

    World-class research into future sources of green energy is under threat in Britain from an environmental tax designed to boost energy efficiency and drive down carbon emissions, scientists claim.

    Some facilities must find hundreds of thousands of pounds to settle green tax bills, putting jobs and research at risk.

    The unexpected impact of the government’s carbon reduction commitment (CRC) scheme is so severe that scientists and research funders have lobbied ministers for an exemption to reduce the bills.

    Nothing like artificially high energy prices to boost your chances of an economic collapse…

  6. We are holding our breath awaiting the decision of the Tribunal too. This article is filled with “maybe’s” alternating with truth and as such you should be skeptical of what is being said.
    Dalton is a definite threat to Ontario’s economy, Ontarians’ health and to our local environment. We have had enough of him and his policies.
    Who is paying for those bash the opposition ads anyway? Does anyone out there know? If it’s taxpayers money, it’s another nail in the Liberals’ coffin. We need to track this down.

  7. The loss of property value (among other things) for an individual homeowner is real and could be financially catastrophic … however, municiaplities will not be out of pocket as they will just increase the unit rate of tax collected and apply it to the lesser total assessed value. It puts some pressure on tax rates but unless it’s widespread or affects them directly, they probably won’t care. Oh, and then there’s MPAC for the homeowner to deal with …

  8. what is causing the shock to these animals? how is it happening? stray voltage?

  9. Municipalities need people to live in the communities to pay the taxes. Who wants to live in an industrialized municipality? No new homes can be expected to happen next to IWT developments. Existing homes are being abandoned. The loss of future growth is real and municipalities cannot ignore that for long. Municipalities could cease to exist or forced to amalgamate with other municipalities if they don’t care.

  10. Could our legal experts possibly file a class action lawsuit based upon lost property values? If the suit was filed against each wind development company, then I believe the company would have to state the potential lawsuite in their annual reports which might make them look much less attractive to investors.

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