by Rolly Ethier Northwest EMC
HASTINGS – A woman who has taken on the role of crusader against the installation of mammoth wind turbines as part of Premier Dalton McGuinty’s Green Energy Act came to Council Chambers here to issue a grave warning to the Municipality of Trent Hills.
“I am very concerned about the possible adverse health impacts,” pointed out Debbie Lynch of Asphodel-Norwood in her presentation. “The possible negative impact on property valuesyou could also think of this as decreasing the assessment valueand the possible harm to the environment.”
Currently, a controversy rages over Energy Farming Ontario’s bid to launch the Wind Farm Collie Hill project proposed for the Asphodel-Norwood area. However, because of the significant public outcry over the attempt to ram through the erection of the proposed 459-foot-high structures, the Township of Asphodel-Norwood has approved a moratorium on Industrial Wind Turbines (IWTs) until a study of their impact on human health is carried out by an independent third party.
Ms. Lynch said she became involved in the opposition to wind turbines a little over a year ago after attending a public open house in Grafton.
“I started out as a fan of the Green Energy Act and began asking simple questions,” said Debbie. “Those in charge never gave straight answers and I went home that first night thinking something was a little fishy. I’ve been investigating the wind turbine issue ever since and am now even more skeptical.”
In her presentation, she told council “keep in mind that there have not been any independent epidemiological studies regarding the health impacts of industrial wind turbines. The fact that the studies do not exist in no way implies therefore that there are no health impacts from IWTs.
“Years ago we thought asbestos and cigarettes did not cause any health issues. We now have scientific studies that have proven how false those beliefs were,” she noted in her written submission.
“Within 15 kilometres of where we are now,” pointed out Debbie, “we have a family who had to leave their home due to the adverse impact the turbines were having on their health. This family had to sign a ‘non-disclosure form’ as a condition of the wind energy company buying them out and relocating them.”
Ms. Lynch offered some advice for council. She mentioned a Toronto Star article about the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation dropping the assessment on one house from $255,000 to $127,000 because it was located near a noisy hydro substation. The plant serves a nearby wind farm producing “clean” electricity.
“Is the municipality of Trent Hills prepared for such an eventuality? And can you afford such a substantial decrease in assessment? If industrial wind turbines are proposed for your municipality you need to prepare for exactly that happening.
“You need to consider that the Green Energy Act did not strip municipalities of their ability to set permit fees. The Building Code Act allows you to set fees, and those fees must not exceed the anticipated reasonable costs of the municipality to administer and enforce the Building Code Act.”
Ms. Lynch said time is of the essence in the matter of IWTs and she strongly encouraged council to join with other municipalities across Ontario which have placed a moratorium on the turbines until full and complete independent epidemiological studies have been completed.
Councillor Camille Edwards was critical that the provincial government passed the green legislation but then the municipalities are left to deal with the fallout of an unpopular issue that failed to get the proper amount of public scrutiny initially.
A leading expert, Michael Trevilcock, Professor of Law and Economics at the University of Toronto, summed up the controversy as follows: “The Green Energy Act represents a poor example of democratic renewal.”
Ms. Lynch was asked what the anti-wind turbine lobby could expect to achieve.
“If they (provincial government) don’t listen to the concerns of people they’ll pay a heavy price at the ballot booth in the next election.”