Below is a sampling of public comments made by Ontario government authorities contrasted by public comments from an Ontario families suffering adverse health effects of wind turbines and substations being placed too close to their homes. Although there have been at least 25 Ontario families province wide who have spoken out publicly about this serious issue, only a few have been captured here. There are also many who cannot speak out due to non-disclosure contracts. It is now June 2011, the provincial government still denies…… why?
“But don’t say, ‘I don’t want it around here.’ … NIMBYism will no longer prevail,” he added, using the acronym for “not in my backyard.” ~Dalton McGuinty Toronto Star February 2, 2009
Ernie Marshall at first supported the wind farm that was placed near his home near Goderich, Ont. However, he also says that once the turbines got rolling, his health began to suffer. “I had problems with my heart, with my eyes, my digestive system,” Marshall told CTV News. “It traumatizes your whole body.”…. “Everyone was calling me a liar,” Ernie Marshall said. (Ernie Marshall, Goderich Ont.) Acoustic Ecology Institute
There’s no evidence of negative health impacts from industrial wind turbines… so there’s no need for a moratorium on wind projects in Ontario, Premier Dalton McGuinty said Wednesday.
Wind turbines have been used for decades to generate electricity without any serious health implications, so Ontario won’t postpone or delay new projects, said McGuinty. “It’s not reasonable in the circumstances,” he said. “We’re going to have to make some new electricity, and I think one of the best ways we can do that — as long as we do it responsibly — is by harnessing the power of the wind.” Ontario has “the most rigorous standards in North America and some of the toughest in the world” for wind turbines,” said McGuinty. CP24 News April 28, 2010
“Each day is a struggle with excessive stress, anxiety, depression, headaches, and ear and stomach problems,” says Roger Oliviera, who lives on Seventh Line in Melancthon. “I rarely get a full night’s sleep, and have become dependent on prescribed sleeping pills to fall asleep. The sound comes right through my walls, I can no longer open my windows.” He says his symptoms became “very clear and persistent” about a month after turbines became active. His house is surrounded on all four sides, on adjacent properties. The closest turbine is about 480 metres away and the farthest about 600 metres. He too has filed complaints against the wind farm, which he firmly believes is to blame for his sleeplessness and anxiety. (Roger Oliviera, Melancthon, Ont.) Orangeville Banner
“There are no real easy decisions in all this. We’ve decided it would be a good thing to get rid of coal…It makes our kids sick and contributes to global warming,” McGuinty said. Toronto Star April 29 2010
“We have taken three-year-old Keiara to the emergency room 10 times with problems and Dr. McMurtry said my daughter shouldn’t be there (at their home in the Ripley Wind Project). Melissa as well because she is pregnant,” said Kent Wylds. “My daughter has had earaches with screaming at night and not being active at all. Since we’ve been in Kincardine she’s been a totally different kid.” (Kent Wylds, Ripley Ont.) Lucknow Sentinel
After broadly extolling the virtues of his Green Energy Act, Mr. McGuinty stumbled through an acknowledgment that he hadn’t really given this specific issue much consideration. “You’ve raised something which I’ve not thought about,” he said. “I’m glad you’re not in opposition.” Globe and Mail
For over a year we have been trying to convince the wind farm developer and the government authorities of our personal situation regarding wind farm noise (sound pressure/vibration) without success… And, yes, depending on wind direction and wind speed, the impact of the cyclical noise can be extreme. Believe me, I have tried to “get used to it”- alas, it doesn’t work. (Bert Seeliger, Clear Creek Ont.) Acoustic Ecology Institute April 9th, 2010
Minister of Energy George Smitherman (in bold)
(Smitherman left office November 2009 – Replaced by Brad Duguid Jan 2010.)
“I think anywhere there is a new electrical (project), there will be people who oppose it,” Smitherman said. “We listen carefully to people and take heed of their (health and safety concerns). People see things in different ways.”Kincardine Independent April 8, 2009 – At a ribbon cutting ceremony for an Enbridge Wind project in Kincardine
The strobe effect gave her a pounding headache, Ms. Fraser said. “One day after 45 minutes I went to the basement — the dog beat me there. I thought the top was coming off my head. I was holding the sides of my head, my eyes were running, I was sick to my stomach.” Beyond the physical symptoms, Ms. Fraser recalls a feeling of uneasiness. “You can’t get that anxious feeling out of yourself; feeling like you’re in an Alfred Hitchcock movie. It upsets your equilibrium.” In 2007, on their thirty-fourth wedding anniversary, the Frasers moved into a house in the nearby town of Shelburne. The company had made them an offer and, after talking to the grown children, all living in Toronto, the couple decided to take it. “It was heartbreaking when we sold that house,” Ms. Fraser said. “Just heartbreaking.” (Helen Fraser, Melancthon Ont.) Barton Chronicle
“If they’ve elevated their opposition to the point of outrage, then I think they’re getting themselves worked up into an artificial lather.” Toronto Star Feb 12, 2009
“I am angry, helpless, and disappointed our government would let something like this happen. I am appalled at their ignorance and lack of compassion. It saddens me to watch my family and friends suffer from the same [health] effects of the turbines. “I spend as much time as I can away from my home, away from my son who is also sleep deprived. We are exhausted and miserable. I often seek refuge with friends, often falling asleep minutes after I arrive. I feel like a gypsy. “What was once a beautiful place to live has been destroyed.” – (Tracy Whitworth, Clear Creek, Ont.) UWO News
“We passed a law, and the law does not create an opportunity for municipalities to resist these projects just because they may have a concern,” he said. “The Green Energy Act creates strong motivation to enhance renewable energy projects in the province of Ontario.”
…..“This is a profoundly strong statement, and Ontario is a real leadership role in North America,” Smitherman said. “Our goal is to be a green jurisdiction and to reap the environmental and economic benefits associated with that.” Cold Lake Sun Sept 6, 2009
“You might think that if a group of 11 victims reached out to the Premier of the province, the highest elected Liberal official, in a faxed letter, not once, but, four times that that would be enough to get intelligent, unbiased, scientists to investigate and help. But you would be disappointed. That is what I tried and my Premier or his Ministers didn’t and don’t care about rural Ontario taxpayers being harmed by wind projects,” said Sandy MacLeod. (Sandy MacLeod, Ripley Ont.) Lucknow Sentinel
While there may be unanswered health questions related to industrial wind turbines, there’s no doubt about health risks associated with coal burning power plants, Smitherman’s press secretary Amy Tang said. Owen Sound Sun Times October 10th, 2009
“There’s been no scientific studies on the impact of human beings surrounded by wind turbines,” said Johnston, who has resorted to sleeping in a trailer at her son’s home near Langton. “Nobody’s looking at the effects these wind turbines have on us.” Johnston and two other residents at the meeting followed Timm* outside the council room and pleaded with him to get his company to do something…..Johnston told Timm living near the turbines amounts to a form of “torture.” (Stephana Johnston, Clear Creek Ont.) Simcoe Reformer
Minister of Energy Brad Duguid (in bold)
Energy Minister Brad Duguid and Environment Minister John Gerretsen also dismissed the concerns of the protesters and said there was no scientific evidence to suggest wind turbines cause health problems. CP24 News April 28, 2010
It was another restless night in a long string of interrupted sleep. Amaranth’s Leo Mendonca didn’t feel quite right, like something was wrong, but he didn’t know what, or why. When he got out of bed, he was struck by a wave of nausea…“I couldn’t function or leave the house,” he says, suggesting the feeling that overwhelmed him that May morning had been building for months. “I gave up. I had a breakdown. … I was afraid to be alone.” Part of that fear, he acknowledges, stemmed from not knowing what was causing him to feel as he did. At the time, he didn’t know others living near turbines reported similar experiences. (Leo Mendonca, Amaranth Ont.) November 12 2009, Orangeville Banner, By Richard Vivian
Blatant double standard – Commenting on a proposed 5 kilometer setback for offshore turbines. (land based turbines have a 550 meter setback)
“I think it sets to rest the concerns of some moderate people who were concerned that if they go to the beach, they could be looking up at a huge wind turbine,” he said in an interview. Toronto Star June 25, 2010
“From our dining room table, they are there. When you wake up in the morning and you look out your window, they are there. When we go outside they are there. When we drive in and out of the community they are there. They are always there. They don’t go away.” The noise, he said, was a constant whooshing-type sound, and there was a physical sensation associated with it. “When the blade passes by the post, air and sound is compressed. And you feel this, in association with the sound. It’s a really strange feeling and sometimes I would feel like my heart rate was altering, going a little bit faster. (Nicholas Schaut, Melancthon Ont.) Owen Sound Sun Times
Mayor Taylor says he discussed the setbacks and the township’s lack of control over turbines that would extend into East Gary from the Belwood Wind Farm with Minister Duguid. In an interview, he quoted the minister as responding, simply, “Get used to it.” Orangville Citizen Aug 26th 2010
Thompson introduced evidence at the hearing showing that the transformer station noise was audible within the house with the windows closed. He described the noise as a “nightmare” and a constant nuisance that not only affects his day-to-day activity, but also impacts the sales value and marketability of his property. In reaching its decision to cut his assessment in half, board member Marques wrote, “The Board finds that the constant hum alleged by Mr. Thompson does exist and significantly reduces the current value of the subject property. (Paul Thompson, Amaranth Ont.) January 9, 2010 Bob Aaron Yourhome.ca
Minister of the Environment John Gerretsen (in bold)
(Left position August 2010 after Eco Fee fiasco and replaced by John Wilkinson)
With Ontario’s requirement of a 500-metre setback from the nearest homes, noise from the turbines isn’t an issue either, said Gerretsen, who can see about 60 of them off shore from his Kingston home.Wellington Times January 15, 2009
“We live 600 meters from the wind turbines and in the beginning were supportive,” said Mrs. Horton. “That was until we started to have health problems.” According to Mrs. Horton, those problems included not sleeping, whooshing in the ears, and vibrations that go right through the body. “It is hard to explain, but I swear you can feel the vibrations in your bones,” said Mrs. Horton. “We are planning to spend thousands of to soundproof our home.”Mrs. Horton also pointed out that when their family is away from the turbines they don’t experience the symptoms. (Nikki Horton, Port Alma Ont.)
“If you live next to the 400 series highways in Ontario, you will be subjected to a lot more kinds of noise than you ever will from wind turbines, from my own personal perception and from the studies that we’ve done,” said Gerretsen.CP24 News April 28, 2010
There’s this horrible hum and vibration in our house. It just drives you mad. It’s been there for the last six days. I’m sorry. It comes and goes, but it’s so loud you can’t sleep, and it’s coming through the walls. The buried cable transmission lines go up the side of our property-we’re on one acre-and I don’t know if it’s electrical coming through the ground in our house or what it is. We’re looking for a rental now because we can’t stay there… This hum and vibration is not covered in the guidelines. There are no guidelines for interior noise in our house. When the winds are whipping up, and we can’t sleep for days and days at a time, there’s nothing. You phone the MOE and I cannot tell you how many times I heard, “We’re in compliance. We’re in compliance.” They’re in compliance. They’re in compliance….. Barbara Ashbee – Deputation at Green Energy Act Standing Committee Hearings in London, Ont. April 15th, 2009
Carol Mitchell MPP Huron-Bruce (in bold)
Smitherman said the ministry of energy and infrastructure is working with the ministry of the environment to look into the complaints from residents. He said Mitchell has been excellent in reporting her constituents complaints to the ministry and both groups are working to find the best solution to the problems.Kincardine Independent April 8, 2009
“We had a 30 minute meeting with Mitchell on Feb. 13, 2009. She stated that she knew all about us and the project. When asked if she would like to live in Glen’s home to experience the harm, she fired back and asked if we would rather live near a pig barn or grain mill,” said John MacLeod, Ripley Ont. Lucknow Sentinel
Note: None of the complaints have been resolved in over 3 years.
Chesley ward Coun. Stacy Charlton expressed concern that supporting the bylaw and fighting wind energy projects would hurt the municipality’s chances of getting provincial grant money. He claims MPP Carol Mitchell told him at an event in Chesley last fall “that those who don’t support green energy projects must not need government money either.”Owen Sound Sun Times June, 2010
In 2010 Carol Mitchell was appointed a cabinet seat by Dalton McGuinty. She is now Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Former Minister of Environment MPP Laurel Broten
Ms. Laurel C. Broten at the Standing Committee hearings April 15, 2009 in response to Sandy MacLeod and Glen Wylds plea for help. (Their MPP is Carol Mitchell): Thank you for your presentation today. I am sorry that the wind farm has caused you these health issues and has caused grief for your families……
Ms. Laurel C. Broten: Sorry, I just want to make one comment with respect to the importance of having Ms. Mitchell on the committee. I represent a riding in Toronto. Mr. Tabuns represents Toronto-Danforth. It is really important to have an MPP such as Ms. Mitchell on this committee, to have the ability to reflect the reality and the circumstance in her own community. I think- ……..
Ms. Sandy MacLeod: Okay, just a minute. Let’s think through this clearly. If Ms. Mitchell was going to give the Ontario Legislature, and thus the rest of the province, the best information possible, the best way to do that would be to solve the problems within the farms that are in her constituency right now, take that information back and use it appropriately and prudently so that the harm that has come to us will not be experienced by any other families in this province.
Dr. Arlene King, Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health
She replied: “Yes. In fact, we have been having ongoing discussions with the Ontario Agency for Health Protection. I actually met with them earlier today about this issue. What we’ll be doing, when time permits … is having a thorough discussion with all of the medical officers of health in this province about the existing information we have on any possible health effects related to wind turbines and determining whether any additional research needs to be done…. Lorrie Goldstein, Toronto Sun
Shortly after the release of Dr. Kings seven month literature review, Dr. Hazel Lynn Medical Officer of Health Grey-Bruce and Dr. Ray Copes director of environmental and occupational health at the Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion, who were on the team of consultants had this to say:
“The whole section that a couple of us really wanted in there on community health and community disruption went. It’s not in there. I suspect politically she can’t criticize another ministry, so I was a little disappointed,” Lynn said.
Copes said there are “really important and quite legitimate” questions about wind farms that he and Lynn thought should be discussed, but “I guess the CMOH’s report wasn’t the place for it.” Owen Sound Sun Times
“There are no direct links between wind turbines and adverse health impacts,” King said in an interview. “This variety of symptoms can be caused by a variety of different factors. It is important if individuals have symptoms or concerns (that they) be assessed by their physicians.”… The review concluded the sound level from the turbines is “not sufficient” to cause hearing impairment or other direct health issues, “but it may annoy some people”. Toronto Star
After an underground line failure and winter winds, severe health problems forced Glen and Brenda Wylds to purchase and move to another residence in Kincardine. More recently, in April, Kent, Melissa and their daughter Keiara Wylds have been billeted in a Kincardine motel by the oil company/wind developer. Today, two families have, at their own expense, been forced to modify their residence. Those who continue to reside in their homes continue to experience symptoms on a regular basis.
Compiled by: Barbara Ashbee, Orangeville, Ontario