March 10, 2011

North Gower resident writes a letter

One of the questions we are asked is, how do you know that your community group represents a wider view from the community? Well, aside from the several hundred people who signed the petition that went to the Ontario legislature via MPP Lisa MacLeod, and the 300+ families on our e-mail list, and the 125+ people who come to our information meetings, the countless volunteers working daily on this issue, I guess we don’t know what everyone is thinking.

In the Smith’s Falls EMC today is a letter to the editor from a North Gower resident. She writes:

Dear Editor:

I wish to volunteer my two cents into what is becoming an endlessly revolving argument about the wind turbine farms.

First off, not all of us in the North Gower area are against the Wind Turbine project being proposed for this area. I know from personal experience that wind turbines can perform well here. That being said, if viable scientific evidence can be established into the ill effects of this type of farm, then certainly additional precautions should be implemented – whether it be an increased setback from homes, or possibly smaller or fewer of the turbines.

The Ontario government has illustrated that it can change its mind if such evidence comes to light, as shown by the recent hold on the installation of off-shore wind turbines.

I certainly don’t think that this means that the whole concept or use of wind turbines should be scrapped – this would be extremely short sighted behaviour, given that we do need to stop relying on non-renewable resources for our hydro and energy.

Now is the time to be developing alternative energies to sustain our power requirements – when we can take the time to do it properly, and improve on them.

Debbie Gervais

North Gower

We’re not sure where this resident lives in relation to the proposed industrial wind development, and neither can we know how informed she is, but she has a few facts wrong:

-there is already valid scientific evidence that if the turbines are located too close to people’s homes, people can experience sleep deprivation and then ill health effects

-the Ontario government is standing firm that its 550-meter setback is “safe” despite evidence from around the world in countries that already have turbines, that a setback of 1-2 km is better (note that other countries such as Germany have setbacks between zones, not between the base of a turbine and the centre of a house, as Ontario does). The truth is, the 550-meters is more about geography than health: if we had a 1 km setback, there would be NO turbines in southern and eastern Ontario because of the way the roads and concessions are laid out.

-a proper scientific study is needed to have an evidence-based setback. Ontario now has such a research project ongoing, but it is headed by an expert in electrical engineering, and they plan to take 5 years to come to a conclusion. Ontario will be long done with populating its rural areas with turbines by then.

-industrial wind turbines are a flawed technology–they are intermittent and require fossil-fuel back-up; this is why Ontario is also building natural gas-fired power plants at the same time as it is encouraging wind power development.

-we’re not sure what the “personal experience” with wind turbines would be in this area, given that the Canada Wind Atlas states the area is “poor” to “marginal” for a wind resource. Since we don’t have any industrial-scale turbines here, her experience would have to be with a small wind mill. THAT, i.e., small scale, is an appropriate use of wind power development, NOT 626-foot industrial towers.

-this is industrialization of a rural community that, because of the Green Energy Act, is not getting to have its say. What it could do to property values is expropriation without compensation.

Last, of course everyone wants a clean and effective power system in Ontario. But wind doesn’t work. We don’t see why the people of North Gower have to participate in an experiment that will see no benefits to our community and which is really all about profits going to an offshore corporate developer. “Take the time and do it properly”? WE AGREE!!!!

And, we’re not alone: dozens of Ontario communities have now passed resolutions or motions objecting to industrial wind turbine projects and asking for their planning powers to be returned, AND for independent health studies.

View of turbines at Melancthon, near Orangeville, Ontario.

January 7, 2011

Ontario Liberals play connect-the-dots

On Global TV last evening, January 6, there was a promo for an upcoming news story about how people in the Greater Toronto Area or GTA are very upset about the daily traffic gridlock, and how much time they are spending in their (idling) cars, getting to and from work each day.

We will leave aside any discussion about the transit system, flexible work hours, living close to where one works etc., to make these observations:

-the Ontario Liberals’ voter base is in Toronto

-Toronto is concerned about traffic and air pollution (they are right to do so: Ontario’s air pollution is from cars and to a lesser degree, pollutants coming up from the U.S. due to industry and coal power plants there)

So, when the Liberals defend their egregious subsidies for wind and solar they chant “Coal is killing people” and “Closing the coal plants will be the equivalent of taking 7 million cars off the road.”

Except, it won’t. Economist and university professor Ross McKitrick has observed that: closing Ontario’s two biggest coal power plants won’t make the slightest difference in air quality; our air quality is already pretty good; and last but most important, the kind of pollutants produced by the coal plants and cars are DIFFERENT.

In other words, the only equal to taking seven million cars off the road IS taking seven million cars off the road.

But the Ontario government persists.

While we’re playing with numbers and ideas, here’s another one: rural communities represent about 20 percent of Ontario’s population. So, if only a certain percentage of those people are exposed to industrial wind turbines, and of those if only 15 percent are bothered or made ill, that’s an acceptable risk, politically, isn’t it? Especially when you have three million people in Toronto breathing car exhaust, and being told that closing the coal plants will help with that.

As for the rurals, just get rid of their ability to say or do anything. Thomas Pawlick wrote in The War in the Country, well before the Green Energy Act which removed planning powers for renewable energy projects from municipalities, that “The goal also appears to be to weaken or eliminate the very basis of democracy at its roots; that is to say, at the level of municipal government, where voters have traditionally had the greatest direct influence on and control over their communities.” (p.4) He goes on to quote Roger Epp, professor of political studies at the University of Alberta who says, to government, rural people are simply “in the way.”

Well, we keep gathering by the hundreds to protest the industrialization of our communities, especially when it is clear there is a duplicitous political agenda.


Public meeting in North Gower, Time for the truth about wind,  hosted by three area community groups: January 23rd at 2 p.m.

January 3, 2011

Life with the turbines in Massachusetts

This is an account of living with industrial wind turbines in Falmouth, Massachusetts, in the form of a letter written by a resident. Note that the turbines operating in Chatham-Kent are 2.3 MW and the ones proposed for North Gower-south Richmond are 2.5 MW, and further, we believe what’s proosed for Brinston/Spencerville are more powerful still.

Here is the letter.

What living with industrial wind is like in Massachusetts.

(This letter published with permission from the author)
December 25, 2011
Dear Madam and Sirs,
As I write this, sitting at my desk looking out over my snow-covered woodland garden in the rear of my property, I also have a clear view of Falmouth’s Turbine #1 and the huge red crane that is assembling Wind Turbine #2. Every window on the back of my house has a great view of the Falmouth Industrial Park turbines.
I have a feeling of being overwhelmed by these machines. Nobody deserves to be subjected to this torment. Nearly every waking hour is spent being aggravated by it or aggravating over what to do about it, or medical appointments because of it, or talking to people calling me about it or who come to my house to see it for themselves, or meetings to do with it, or Internet exchanges dealing with it, or seminars and symposiums on it, or reading articles and books about it.  All this on top of my investing nearly $7000 fighting my own town over it.
I want my life back, and I am more than willing to fight for it. Persistence pays. The town sewage odor issue took 20 years. This is no less important to me. This is a matter of basic human rights. I learned one thing with the sewer issue:  that town officials are not forever. Replacements can be seated soon enough, and not all people are mindless.
This is Christmas Day. What is so outrageous about wind turbine nuisance is that it continues each and every day. Christmas, Thanksgiving, every holiday, every special occasion. It takes zero time off from annoying people. It is a negative mood setter. Have friends over for a cook-out:  no one likes this noise.  Some of us are driven insane by it. What otherwise could be a perfect day in the garden becomes a day of resentment and anger towards the town and another fist full of pills taken for depression, anxieties, and hypertension.
Thank you for the opportunity to speak at your Board of Health, December 20th, meeting. I do not agree with one board member’s analogy of wind turbine noise vs. botulism, and how the one affecting everyone and the other only some people makes the wind turbine detriments more complex to deal with.   What about blade and ice throw?  There is a proper, safe distance to setback even though the ice or blade would not hit everyone.
Actually “the hit” of ice or blade would affect fewer people than the noise does. Just because the victim would bleed from the physical hit does not lesson the impact on the victim who is suffering from noise induced anxiety, depression, and pain.
What do you say when you find him hanging on the turbine fence with a .357 round in his head?

You are responsible for the the health of all the citizens of Falmouth, including the ones who are sensitive to the noise, shadow flicker, strobe lights, and whatever other annoyances are caused by wind turbines or anything else in Falmouth. Your list of duties clearly includes noise. The U.S Environmental Protection Agency says that “noise is a significant hazard to public health,” and finds that an absolute noise limit fails to adequately protect the public health.
Many communities have adopted a rule that adequately protects the public health by establishing a relative standard that limits the noise caused by the operation of a wind energy system to no more than 5dBA above the ambient noise level (as measured at any point on property adjacent to the parcel on which the wind energy system is located). The Falmouth boards should have been looking into this back in 2004 when the wind turbine was being proposed. There was plenty of information back then to realize the detrimental effects of industrial wind turbines when sited too close to populations. The wind industry disclosed only the bright side of the picture.  Town officials either had their eyes closed or outright just “hoped” that things would turn out okay.
Not enough research was done, or at least not heeded.  The town took a huge risk, and now the consequences must be faced
You dither around wasting time. You do not need peer reviewed studies from Canada or Denmark or Australia to prove to you the detrimental affects of industrial wind turbines on human beings. You have your own neighbors living right here, in Falmouth, whom you can speak to in person.
  • You can stand by their houses
  • You can look in their medicine cabinets
  • You can review their medical records
  • You can witness their beds moved down to their basements
We are suffering right here in Falmouth in real time!  After every meeting, when the turbine issue is yet again postponed, we hear Neil Andersen and Colin Murphy cry out “What am I supposed to do until then?
I have received several calls from Alfreda Wring, who lives on Dove Cottage Road in Falmouth. She says I described the noise perfectly in one of my (local) newspaper letters, and says how distraught she is over the noise of the wind turbine.
One could not make up her story. She complained to her doctor that she could not sleep because of the turbine sound. He told her to get earplugs.  Then, while she was attempting to put them in, she tripped on her bedspread, fell, and broke her hip.  That resulted in her having to go into a nursing home.
Then there is John Ford, who testified at a Cape Cod Commission hearing how terrible the noise is for him at over 3200 feet from Falmouth’s turbine #1. Look at this list, and think about it:
Larry and Jill Worthington, Brian and Kathryn Elder, Neil and Elizabeth Andersen, Colin and Jennifer Murphy, Richard and Charlotte Nugent, Gyongyi Szabo, Gyorgy Frendi, Kathie and Day Mount, Mark Cool and Annie Hart Cool, Todd and Terri Drummey, Malcolm Donald, Beth Underhill, Chris Alves, Donna Hamblin, Douglas Smith, Loretta O’Brian, Maddi Tunidor, Nicole Mant, Patrick O’Conner, Robert Sagerman, Sue Hobart, Vincent Myette, and Barry and Diane Funfar.
These are all Falmouth people with real problems resulting from the town’s irresponsible turbine siting. We all want our lives back. You are contributing to driving these people out of their minds and out of their homes. You are contributing to diminishing their life, and most certainly their quality of life.

And this list of harmed and suffering Falmouth citizens continues to grow. Turbine 1 is still in its first year of operation and Turbine 2 has not yet begun to operate. And just wait until the actual tax bills are mailed out.  People will not have to be bothered by a medical ailment to claim a tax abatement over the proximity of the wind turbine.  Falmouth will lose more in tax revenue than it gains in electricity generation.
And what has the town figured into their bottom line to offset vandalism? This is a huge problem anywhere these machines are forced into peoples backyards. There is a reason many European countries with more than two decades of experience with industrial wind turbines have now implemented regulations requiring setbacks of 1 to 1.1.5 miles.
It is an obvious fact that some of us are more sensitive to the particular character and quality of the sound generated by the turbine. This has been observed in many studies and been amply re-confirmed by many of us abutters of Falmouth’s wind turbine. If I were the only affected person, I would simply pack up and move away.  But there are many others. We have been clearly violated; our quality of life, our well being, our physical and mental health has been adversely affected.
The town will not alleviate this problem by shutting the wind turbines down between midnight and 3AM, when the wind is supposedly over some certain speed.  This is the town’s mitigation recommendation to date. (Further aggravating this is Acting Town Manager Heather Harper, when she berates us complainers for undermining the financial viability of her pet project.) Fact is, I am bothered in the daytime, others are bothered at night, some are annoyed 24 hours per day.
Severe annoyance leads to all manner of negatives:  stress, anxiety, depression. irritability, anger, migraines, nausea, emotional turmoil, broken concentration, blurred vision, dizziness, hypertension, nervousness, sleep disorder, palpitations, tiredness, suicide.  One does not need a medical degree to produce this list.
I am 64 years old. I have been happy, sad, depressed, suicidal, at war, at peace, and everywhere in-between. This town is driving some of us crazy. (I am enclosing an article that is one of the best I have seen as to why there are such wide differences in perception of wind turbine noise.)
We have real issues. We have been harmed. Nothing is being done. At the very least these machines need to be shut down until a final solution is made.
All the town officials and town boards act like the noise problem from Turbine #1 is just going to disappear. Meanwhile there is wind Turbine #2 under construction, which anyone with half a mind knows will make the noise problem only worse.
This is ludicrous! This is local government at its stupidest!
Megan Amsler, in a recent Falmouth Enterprise article, highlighted areas in town where (energy) efficiencies can be raised, and pointed out that one such area is the current wind turbine which has been shut down at various wind speeds and times of the day to address noise concerns from neighboring residents. She says this has cost the town roughly $35,000 in generation—as though the noise problems we abutters experience are only an impediment to the town’s financial bottom line. On the contrary, that wind turbine should not be in the town’s finances! It was built without the necessary special permit, sited irresponsibly, and is being operated with no regard for many citizen’s rights or well-being. Were it not for the ‘green communities’ hysteria, we would not be in this predicament.
The 1.65 MW turbines are too big for their site.  Houses are too close.  The homes were here first, some over thirty years. Our environment has been changed from a peaceful community, to being severely bothered and annoyed by an industrial power plant.  How simple is that to grasp?  Shut the turbines down and move them to a proper site.  Everyone knows this!  It’s time for the town to throw in the towel and admit a mistake was made.  Call it a day.  Sell them before everyone catches on and realizes the inefficiencies of wind power.
Persistence and “what is right” will win this issue.  I have no doubt as to the outcome.
Barry Funfar
Falmouth, MA


For an account of life at Chatham-Kent, go to

January 29, 2010

Und now…Germany: wind energy is “devoid of economic and environmental benefits”

Oh boy.

A report just out from the Rhine-Westfalia Institute for Economic Research, an independent , non-profit reseach organization based in Essen, Germany, details the economic impacts from that country’s relentless pursuit of “renewable energy” in the hope of reducing dependence on fossil fuels and  creating jobs.

You can read the entire report (in English) here:

But what it says is this:

-Germany’s efforts led to its status as being the country with the second largest wind capacity in the world after the United States

-installed capacity is NOT the same as production or contribution; by 2008 wind contributed 6.3% to Germany’s electricity production

-the total cost has been 8.4 billion Euros or $12.4 billion US

-consumers bear the cost of renewable energy production

-there are cheaper ways to reduce CO2 emissions

-the German program in terms of job creation has been a “subsidization regime” that on a per-worker basis costs as much as  $240,000

In summary, “Although Germany’s promotion of renewable energies is commonly portrayed in the media as setting a ‘shining example in prviding a harvest for the world’ (The Guardian, 2007) we would instead regard the country’s experience as a cautionary tale of massively expensive environmental and energy policy that is devoid of economic and environmental benefits.”

And yet, down this exact same road Ontario goes, and with it, the people of North Gower, their enjoyment of their property and the rural environment, their health and well-being, and their investments in their homes.

Prowind must know full well the German experience and now they are here simply to fill their pockets with ratepayer and taxpayer money, while telling us that we must do it because “coal is killing people”.  Absolutely blind greed and arrogance.

To get in touch with the North Gower Wind Action Group, please email them direct at , by mail at PO Box 485 North Gower, or by fax at 613-489-3868

January 28, 2010

Wind turbine health effects only in Ontario? Not hardly

If you believe the wind industry, most people absolutely LOVE the wind turbines and appreciate the fact that wind energy is providing much needed power cheaply, cleanly, while producing lots of jobs. People who complain, they say, are an “activist minority”.

None of those things is true.

Wind energy is expensive and unreliable, and requires the use of fossil fuel to be established and to operate. The wind energy development we have seen all over the world will in time be revealed  as a huge scam.

And jobs? No way. In Spain, a study concluded, the jobs were created solely out of government subsidies, didn’t last, and cost tax payers hundreds of thousands of dollars for each job created; the jobs that were created came at the expense of other jobs in other sectors of the economy.


But what about the effects on people including the effects of the noise?

A conference is being held in Cardiff, Wales, soon about the health hazards of wind farms, as there have been “strong objections” to wind farms and complaints about noise and sleep disturbance. It is sponsored by the Institute of Acoustics and will feature U.K. Environment Minister Jane Davidson and Dr Geoff Leventhal.

Dr  Michael Nissenbaum of New York State, and a member of the advisory council at Wind Vigilance, wrote recently in the Rutland Herald in Vermont that in his study of residents of Mars Hill, 82 percent reported new or worsened sleep disturbances, as opposed to just 3 percent in his control group. Ninety-five percent perceived a reduced quality of life compared to zero in the control group. “There is absolutely no doubt in my mind, and that of other physicians who have reviewed the work, that people living within 3500 feet (1100 meters) of a ridgeline arrangement of turbines in a rural environment will suffer negative effects at similar rates.”

The research —proper research that actually involves examining and talking with people—is being done now. If the wind industry had a shred of decency or a drop of business acumen, they would stop locating turbines anywhere near people. Now.

To get in touch with the North Gower Wind Action Group directly, email , mail PO Box 485 North Gower ON   K0A 2T0 or fax 613-489-3868. Please sign the petition on our documents page and send it in, and/or donate to the cause, and ask for a lawn sign.

January 11, 2010

A new view on wind turbines

A new organization has been created and is a breath of fresh air in the confusion about the effects of wind turbines. Among the luminaries on its advisory board is Dr Robert McMurtry.

Especially interesting are their comments about the recently released industry-sponsored report which concluded that not only are there no health effects from the noise produced by wind turbines, there’s no need to study the issue further. Unproefssional and utterly unfounded.

Go to

To get in touch with the North Gower Wind Action Group directly, email

January 5, 2010

Thousands more on the way

In light of the economic situation extant in many European countries and where the countries that have had wind turbine developments for decades are now coming to realize this was a very expensive and not very worthwhile experiment, all things considered (few jobs, unreliable power supply well below capacity), Ontario is plunging ahead, working hard to approve new “renewable” energy projects as quickly as possible.

Here is the current tally, according to the most recent newsletter from Willms & Shier, environmental law specialists. (OPA is the Ontario Power Authority. FIT means the Feed-in Tariff.)

As of December 1, 2009, OPA had

received 1,022 FIT applications

for projects over 10 kW and

another 1,193 microFIT

applications. Almost 80% of

applications are for wind energy

projects, 16% for solar and the

remainder for biogas, biomass,

landfill gas and water power

projects. OPA has redeployed

resources to review and verify the

applications and will give priority

to the most viable, “shovel-ready”

projects that can be in operation


In February 2010, OPA says it will

start offering FIT contracts,

beginning with Capacity

Allocation Exempt projects (those

500 kW or less), and will continue

through March with all of the rest

of the FIT projects. Economically

viable projects that do not receive

contracts will be considered when

more transmission connection

capacity is available or approved.

So, if there is a wind “farm” or “park” planned near you, i.e., VERY near and you are concerned about the effects on your environment, health and property values, we guess you can hope it’s not “shovel-ready”. On the other hand, if it isn’t, all is not lost for the wind developers and their pockets…they will be considered in the future.

In the meantime, the government is moving at a snail’s pace to establish a research chair for the long-called-for independent health study. At last look, they were creating a committee to look at which university might be best to take on this work. It will be 2012 before anything happens, if then, and by that time, there will be lots of shovels in the ground … and a lot of worried people.

If these developments were planned for Ontario’s North where there are few people and lots of wind, we would say, OK! But they are not: North Gower is a specific example of where the turbines will be within sight of almost everyone (you’d have to be living in a ravine not to see them, at 626 feet) and they will be heard by hundreds of people, including many children as there are many young families here.

Property values will decline (including farms), businesses will suffer, the spirit and fabric of the community will be changed forever…because the Ontario government is offering subsidies to foreign-owned wind developers who know full well where this industry is heading in their own countries. Canada is the land of fresh opportunity…to make buckets of money, with no accountability to its citizens.

For shame.

Put the wind turbines where the wind is, not where the people are.

To get in touch with the North Gower Wind Action Group executive directly, email

and to download and sign the petition calling for a health study, go to the documents page here. To donate funds for the awareness effort, mail to P O Box 485, North Gower ON K0A 2T0

December 28, 2009

“The Canadian Leadership vacuum”

Randall Denley of The Ottawa Citizen writes in the December 27th edition that “Canada’s political leadership scene is as bleak as a January landscape. … All we have for leaders is a group of pipsqueaks and bullies.”

He reviews the national scene and then gets to Ontario’s Dalton McGuinty who is currently enjoying an 18-per-cent approval rating. That’s due to the $24.7 billion deficit, the HST and the “truth-bending” on election promises, Denley says. He doesn’t even mention the rape of Ontario’s countryside in the name of “green energy” which is really business interests.

(Question, if this is all about producing clean renewable energy, WHY is NextEra, which is owned by Florida Power and Light, in Ontario? It’s not about producing clean energy for the citizens of Florida. It’s not about saving lives from the effects of air pollution…it’s about the money our provincial government is handing out like Hallowe’en candy.)

Denley concludes that “…our governments too often think thay can limit the damage by hiding the information they do have. Sorry, it doesn’t work. What we desperately need are leaders who have fresh ideas, a real sense of the common good and a willingness to tell the truth. In a country of 33 million people, surely we can generate a couple of dozen people like that. Even one would be a start.”

For those of us facing the onslaught of improperly sited industrial wind turbines, we desperately need such a leader in government or opposition. Fresh ideas? Not wind turbines: when they have been installed at breakneck speed in Europe they have proven not to be a good idea, for the economy, for the people, for power generation—nothing. An awareness of common good? That isn’t wind turbines. Telling the truth? The Ontario government isn’t telling the whole truth about wind turbines and the wind developers certainly aren’t.

Interesting sidebar. Right next to Denley’s column is an Ontario government announcement of information sessions on protecting species of birds, animals and plants at risk of extinction. Location? Alfred Taylor Centre in North Gower, a few kilometers away from where 626-foot giant towers will be killing birds and bats, and producing 40dB of noise, 24 hours a day.

Species at risk? Include people who love the rural countryside and who are now being victimized by people who see Ontario’s landscape as a resource plantation. Including the farmers who we thought had pledged to manage the land.


Put the turbines where the wind is, not where the people—and the birds and the animals—are.

To get in touch with the North Gower Wind Action Group directly, email

December 21, 2009

Our “closed minds”

A spokesperson for Prowind claims that they gave people what they wanted—a health study–and because we have “closed minds” nothing they do will ever be enough.

This will be short and sweet.

You have no idea who you are dealing with. The people in North Gower are very well educated and many are professionals who regularly either review or actually do research. We are engineers, executives, nurses, librarians, technologists in a variety of fields and, yes, farmers.

That CanWEA/AWEA review was not research; it was a review paper prepared with a pre-set bias.

To get in touch with the North Gower Wind Action Group directly, email

To download and sign the petition that asks government to do independent, third-party research into the noise that wind turbines produce and the health effects, please go to our documents page here.

December 15, 2009

Health research done? Don’t think so.

The Canadian Wind Energy Association and the American Wind Energy Association announced that they have the conclusions of a study on health effects from the noise/vibration produced by wind turbines and of course, according to The Toronto Star, turbines get a “clean bill of health.” In fact, the report concludes, not only are there no real effects in terms of illness from the constant noise, the reports of illness might be the result of media coverage…”anticipatory”, they claim.

We will refrain from further comment until we’re reviewed the report in its entirety, not just a news release. But it is interesting to see some of the names, for example the Medical Officer of Health in Chatham-Kent, who is a member of this review panel, and who conducted a review of the literature (much of it produced by and/or funded by wind proponents) and already came to the conclusion that there are not health effects from wind turbine noise.

A hand-picked selection of experts?

To get in touch with the North Gower Wind Action Group directly, please email them at

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