By Heather Wright, Sarnia This Week
GRAND BEND – Until a few months ago, Lisa Michaud didn’t know who ‘MOE’ was. The Thamesville woman and her family have gotten to know MOE – also known as the Ministry of the Environment – as they deal with the government agency because of the impacts of living beside industrial wind turbines. Michaud, who recently spoke to a crowd of over 300 people in Grand Bend, suffers from severe headaches and vertigo – conditions which started after four industrial turbines were set up by Kent Breeze and Suncor near the family’s rural home.
Her son, Josh, is also affected. He used to work in construction on roofs but can’t anymore because of the dizziness he experiences. “It’s like there is a constant ringing in my ears,” he says comparing it to coming out of a really loud concert.
Michaud says the turbines are also having an impact on the family’s goats, which for unexplained reasons, refuse to go into their shelter at night and don’t sleep. And the animals have had a number of false pregnancies – the first time they’ve had significant problems with their flock.
Michaud says after she became ill, a representative from Suncor came to their farm to talk to her but made it seem “none of this was real and no one else in the province was experience this.”
Michaud asked Suncor to turn the turbines off for a while, so they could determine if the whooshing sounds were actually the source of their health problems. Suncor refused.
The company did offer to help the family find another place to live, saying “special people” will buy properties next to wind turbines.
Even if Michaud would leave, she doubts Suncor could find a place in southern Ontario which isn’t impacted by wind turbines. “There soon will be no place for us to go.”
The Michauds are now suing Kent Breeze and Suncor for $1.5 million for their health problems and are working with wind action groups to make people aware of some of the problems they may face. In Lambton Shores alone there are plans for about 250 wind turbines.
“I wish we would have done a little more when they (Suncor) first came to our area,” says Josh. “Don’t be afraid to speak up,” adds his mother.