Posted By Bruce Urquhart, OXFORD SENTINEL-REVIEW
Intended as an information meeting for township residents, the evening became a series of dire warnings on the alleged adverse health effects of industrial wind turbines.
The evening’s three speakers focused on the symptoms of Wind Turbine Syndrome, a medical catchall of signs that include excruciating headaches, tinnitus, nausea, sleep deprivation and similar debilitating complaints. With a growing number of health-care professionals, researchers and engineers convinced that industrial wind turbines contribute to these symptoms, speaker Carmen Krogh reiterated her position that more epidemiological studies need to be done before further wind-farm developments are approved.
“We’ve got a lot of evidence there’s a problem out there,” said Krogh, a retired pharmacist and the former editor-in-chief of the “Compendium of Pharmaceuticals and Specialties.”
David Colling, an electrical pollution consultant, told the audience about four families that were forced from their homes following a wind-farm development in his hometown of Ripley. Colling’s readings from these abandoned homes suggested the nearby wind turbines were helping create “dirty” electricity that aggravated their symptoms.
“Different families will have different symptoms, depending on the frequencies,” Colling said.
While the organizing Brooksdale Women’s Institute invited industry and government representatives to Wednesday’s meeting, these invitees chose not to attend the session. The absence of a provincial government representative was most glaring during the presentation by researcher Joan Morris, who simply questioned the effectiveness of the guidelines in the new Green Energy Act.
During her few minutes at the podium, Morris pointed out a seeming loophole in the legislation that would allow developers to build turbines closer than the usual 550-metre setback through the successful completion of a “noise study.” She also suggested the legislation’s “safeguards” — including a 40-decibel maximum — had been relaxed or omitted in the months since the regulations were first proposed.
“There seems to be a lot of things that aren’t clear or a lot of avenues that would let developers take a different angle,” Morris said.
Citing “parallel” health scares like the Listeriosis outbreak and the Walkerton tragedy, Morris suggested the provincial government should take a similar approach with wind turbines until further studies are completed to determine the impacts of low-frequency noise and the other wellbeing issues.
“We stopped exposing the people, found out what the problem was and eliminated it,” Morris said. “We’re at the point where we should be doing the research and not making anybody sick.
“We really do need to do the proper studies and we should be doing them before we expose any more rural Ontario residents.”
At a recent information session hosted by the Oxford County Federation of Agriculture, Bart Geleynse of Prowind Canada Inc described Wind Turbine Syndrome as largely anecdotal, saying that no causal relationship between turbines and these symptoms had been established.
The date of the information meeting coincided with an announcement that Wind Works Power Corp., which has a 50 per cent interest in the Zorra Wind Park, intends to submit an application to the province’s “Feed-In Tariff” power purchase contract for $135 per megawatt-hour for a 20-year contract “on or before” the Nov. 30 deadline. According to a Wind Works press release, the “environmental studies are near completion and the project eligible for a FIT application during the Ontario Power Authority launch period.”