There is always a silence that falls over a community when the turbines are being built. Always. Some of it’s shock. Some residents start to question whether they can live with these machines or not – and wonder what they will do next. Then there are those who are hit the worst with sleeplessness, tinnitus, vertigo, massive migraines. People start to quietly pack up and leave. But what about those leaseholders? Where are they in all this mess? Below is a report sent in from a meeting held the other week in Adelaide-Metcalfe. (I have to warn you, there is no apology to the neighbours they affected, yet).
I went to a meeting tonight at the Kerwood Hall. It was packed, not even enough chairs. It’s a new group that had a panel of 6 people who talked to the crowd about getting a feel if the community wants turbines or not and doing ballots and forming an email group (same old same old). They even had a few NextEra leaseholders from the Adelaide and Bornish projects show up and give a few opinions about the company.
An Adelaide NextEra leasholder spoke (for almost an hour) of all the issues he has been having with NextEra and the turbines on his land. He touched on the fact he has not signed off with NextEra yet, and he wont until they fix his tile which they apparently really messed up, and really changed the lay of his land. He said he never got to deal with the same person in the company – he had a stack of business cards. He didn’t like the way they took over the land and where they put the lane, leaving unworkable spots that his equipment wouldn’t reach, and the fact that they built up the area around the concrete to the point where its a big slope around it which makes pools of water in his field.
He said the property had a few natural ponds… which were just filled in one day. The stripped topsoil is missing, and he was concerned about the soil being completely compacted now. He described the access lanes being so poorly made, layers of crap, and they never cared if they drove around his field anywhere they pleased. He said they had all the rights, and he had none. One day two cranes came in, side by side, not one behind the other.
He said none of the workers were local or knew anything about farmland do’s and don’ts. They gave him shit when he tried to spray his crops – they even taped off part of his field when corn was coming up.
Then he said that the payments are not what he was promised. As told by NextEra, they used a larger MW turbine to base the payments on per KW. I believe a 2MW? This was quoted at first, but instead they put up only a 1.6 MW turbines so he isn’t getting what they said he would (he wouldn’t say what he was getting).
When he complained to NextEra about the lane contents spilling over the allotted area of where the road was supposed to be, he was told it would be cleaned up and new good soil would be added all along it. He had gone away and came back a day early and found a worker pushing dirt over the crap. No stripping or replacing. When he asked the guy what he was doing the answer was, “just what I was told to do.” So he called the manager whom then accused the worker of being a dim wit… Overall not a real happy owner.
The young Bornish leaseholder that has five wind turbines complained that NextEra just puts their junction boxes (where the connector line cables are spliced) any old place amongst the fields. He said having 5 turbines and now these boxes in his field is scary and that they will really have to watch out where they are when they are in their field with farm machinery. Ya combine around those when the corn is high…
He spoke in-depth about field tile issues. Pictures were passed around showing the collector lines lying on top of the tiles. Some pictures showed the cable bored under the tile actually making the tile bend over top and pinch it right off! Picture a plastic straw bent over a pencil when you push both sides down. One can only imagine how many more are damaged with the weight of the soil on top. Useless tile throughout entire fields. When they are asked to fix a broken tile they don’t do it gracefully, they don’t care if the field is completely wet, they use the loader bucket and dig blindly into the dirt. Supposedly Next Error promises that they will do some kind of locating to find it underground with a machine. But seems they don’t do a very accurate job in finding the tile like they say.
One picture blew my mind as they had a guy with a measuring tape showing a dug up spot of collector cable, and I swear the collector lines were barely 12” under the topsoil! Umm… so when you go to disc that?! WOW!
He was very unhappy with the tiles now that they are not fixed – that’s a lot of affected land when you ‘host’ 5 turbines. Afterthought for sure. Many areas were waterlogged and he said it took 3 months to get anyone to answer any questions. They simply aren’t there at all to answer or contact.
He too was upset he isn’t getting paid more for the cables and lanes, just the turbines.
This was also sent in, to give a taste of how the community tries to ‘adjust’.
Last week I went to visit my neighbour near the Suncor Adelaide Project. When the turbines started turning in January he said he couldn’t hear them at his place which is 1.5km away from a turbine, but when I showed up last week he told me he could hear them sometimes in his house, so we drove up to the nearest turbine for a listen. I’ve heard the repetitive woosh noise many times before but this time there was also a very loud cyclical bass sound coming off the turbine, like the buzzing of a large transformer, so I went back to the neighbours house and could definitely hear the bass sound inside his house, than I went to my house and I could hear it faintly in the background at the end of my laneway but not in my home (I’m 5.5km from a turbine). My neighbour says when the wind is blowing in a certain direction now he has to sleep with the TV on to get to sleep. His view is that it’s a new noise and he’ll have to get used to it, but like he says his sleep isn’t as good when the TV is on. I guess this is what wind developers and Health Canada would describe as an “annoyance”.