October 3, 2011

Graham Saul and Ecology Ottawa

Graham Saul, volunteer Executive Director of Ecology Ottawa, appeared on CBC radio this morning to–essentially–shill for the Ontario Liberal party, in the crucial countdown to election day Thursday. Mr. Saul also works as a staff member with Climate Action Network, which counts among its members Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, the David Suzuki Foundation, and the Sierra Club.

Sounds like an elegant group of environmentalists, doesn’t it? Or… Dr Suzuki recently had to step down from the Foundation that bears his name because his partisan activities could have affected the Foundation’s charitable organization status with Revenue Canada. The Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment is the Ontario group that continues to spout nonsense figures on thousands of deaths in Ontario from air pollution due to coal-fired power generation (what pollution Ontario does have –and Canada just rated number three in the WORLD for good air quality–is from cars, and pollution that comes from south of the border). The Sierra Club? Executive Director John Bennett has been waging a nasty campaign throughout Ontario and the organization says it supports saving wildlife but, curiously, would not come out in support of said wildlife at Ostrander Point in Prince Edward County, where a Toronto-based wind power developer proposes to put industrial wind turbines on Crown land in an important migratory bird area.

Today, Mr Saul praised to Liberal government saying sometimes a government will come out and do wonderful things, in this case, get us off our dependency on “dirty oil, coal and gas.”


  1. Oil has NOTHING to do with electricity generation in Ontario.
  2. Coal-fired generation doesn’t make up much of Ontario’s capacity; what it does could have been made a lot cleaner but the Liberal government halted the implementation of cleaner technology, after millions of tax dollars had been spent on the program.
  3. Dirty natural gas? Well, maybe: but news for you, Mr Saul: Ontario is building MORE natural gas power generation facilities. Including the one Mr McGuinty said he halted but which is still under construction. In fact, industrial scale wind power is so intermittent and unreliable (i.e., NOT there when we need it) that more fossil-fuel power generation is needed to back it up.

Look at the names of some of the companies involved in industrial-scale wind power generation: Enbridge, TransAlta, NextEra (really Florida Power and Light), Suncor and the famous Mr T Boone Pickens of the U.S. Mr Pickens is honest: “it’s about natural gas,” he has said, also in a CBC interview many months ago.

The North Gower Wind Action Group asked Mr Saul if it was alright with his group if an entire community was affected by industrial scale wind power generation, which would turn the community into a factory and could cause negative health effects from environmental noise, for the (unattainable) goal of having wind power replace other forms of power generation. His answer was that everyone needs to look at the larger issue of climate change. So, in other words, yes.

The folks in North Gower don’t agree: we respect and honour the environment too and do everything we can to protect it. We just don’t think turning the land into sprawling wind power factories is the way to go.

May 16, 2011

The outcry over Hudak’s FIT announcement

It was nothing if not predictable: following Ontario Conservative leader Tim Hudak’s pledge to cancel the $7-billion deal with Samsung for wind and solar manufacturing and installation of facilities (a contract that as yet has never been seen by the public) and to halt the Feed-in Tariff or FiT program which pays exorbitant prices for power to solar and wind generators (power from hydro and nuclear in Ontario cost 6 cents a kWh; FiT pays 13.5 cents for wind and up to 80 cents for solar), the people who stood to benefit the most are now protesting.

They say “thousands” of jobs will be lost.

Not true. As Kevin O’Leary said on the Lang-O’Leary Exchange last week on CBC, “they weren’t real jobs and they should be lost.” Anything built on subsidies, the fund manager explained, is not sustainable. In other words, if the subsidy goes, so goes the business; “real” business, O’Leary said, is built on profitability. That’s not the so-called “green” energy manufacturing business.

Last year, the Ottawa Citizen’s Randall Denley calculated that–if the government’s numbers about job creation were even true–the cost to taxpayers of the jobs created was over $300,000 PER JOB. That is crazy. And not sustainable.

But now, these people, like the band of solar and wind companies in Ottawa, and like the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (in reality a government-funded lobby group) are claiming that we all must fight back and not lose Ontario’s green energy program.

The truth is, the number of jobs being created is a pipe dream, they won’t last, wind and solar can never do what the proponents say it will in terms of power supply, there are other costs in terms of the environment, lost property value etc., and–most important–everything that is being done is paid for by taxpayers and electricity ratepayers.

So, those people who claim YOU need the “green” energy business are really saying, “We want YOUR money.” You’re paying for their profits.

But don’t take our word for it: here’s what Nepean-Carleton MPP Lisa MacLeod said. “Dalton McGuinty is subsidizing these companies at the expense of people who pay for power, at the expense of families paying the bills…. There is nobody in town that thinks paying 80 cents for something that costs five cents is a good deal for taxpayers.”

March 8, 2011

Wolfe Island: not a turbine paradise

Recently, the corporate wind development lobby paid for an ad in Farmers’ Forum in which it was claimed by a restaurant owner on Wolfe Island, that life was great, profits were flowing, and tourists were flocking to Wolfe Island to see the turbines. The truth, of course, was that the restaurant mentioned is in fact closed and for sale, as is the hotel on the island, and two bed-and-breakfast establishments.

Nor, Farmers’ Forum has done a survey of Wolfe Island residents. We’re not entirely happy with the methodology and in fact the authors recognize and document their limitations, but the results are enough to show that Wolfe Island is no paradise of happiness with the 86 industrial wind turbines that now inhabit the island, near Kingston. Note especially the concerns about property values, and the 11 percent of people who say their health has been affected by the turbines.

It would have been better to survey people who spend ALL DAY and all night on the island, but…next time?

The story is here. Thank you, Farmers’ Forum.

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

December 6, 2010

“Anticipatory nuisance”: we like!

From the Huffington Post, an opinion related to gas drilling in the U.S., but applies equally to industrial wind turbines. Here is the article:

 December 6, 2010


Andrew Reinbach

Andrew Reinbach


Posted: November 24, 2010 10:21 AM

Read More: Environmentalism , Fracking , Hydraulic Fracturing , Natural Gas , Natural Gas Drilling , Green News

Basic real estate law could stop gas drilling in the Northeast.

Here’s the idea. When you bought your house you didn’t buy just dirt and bricks; you bought what your lawyer calls a bundle of rights. That includes what he or she calls the right of quiet enjoyment.

Quiet enjoyment means more than the right to sit on your porch and watch the sunset; it includes the right to enjoy the value of your property. If your neighbor does something to hurt this right, he has to pay you the before-and-after difference — to make you whole, as they say.

It’s called nuisance law, and means everybody has the right to do what they want with their property — as long and they don’t hurt anybody else. If they do, they have to pay.

So, since banks won’t lend on a house near a gas well unless the owner can prove their water supply will always be safe, and that can’t be done — i.e.: where there’s gas drilling, property values collapse — it follows as the night the day that if your neighbor leases his land for gas drilling, you can sue said boneheaded neighbor to make you whole.

“It’s just Real Estate 101,” says the co-chair of one of the American Bar Association’s practice groups. “I’m surprised nobody’s using it now.”

As it happens, it is being done now. Two recent Pennsylvania lawsuits, filed separately against Southwest Energy Co. and Chesapeake Energy Corp., claim that their gas drilling has contaminated local water supplies and harmed the related property values.

That first claim — that gas drilling contaminated the local water — is the hot button issue for anti-drilling activists. But Peter Cambs, the partner in Parker Waichman Alonso LLP fighting the suits, likes the property value issue better.

“It’s the stronger claim,” he says. “I don’t think there is a defense” against it. Nationwide, the statistical case that gas drilling depresses property values is practically bullet-proof.

On the other hand, says Cambs, defense attorneys can try to play out the clock on the water contamination claim with what you could call the tobacco defense — first deny there was any contamination, then that gas drilling caused it, then insist the issue needs more study, and finally say there’s no way to quantify the damage.

By the time they’re ready to settle, it’s many years later, and drilling’s gone on apace. He says his case will be an appeal to common sense — that the water was fine until drilling began, so it obviously caused the contamination.

How useful common sense will be in a court room remains to be seen. In any case, says Cambs, he expects the case to last at least two years — before appeals.

Of course, the problem for many property owners living near gas drilling is that they didn’t buy their rural property to live in an industrial zone. And they’re remarkably uninterested in being hurt in the first place.

Enter Gregory Alexander, A. Robert Noll Professor of Law at Cornell University. He says there’s a well-trodden legal path that could stop drilling before it begins.

Called anticipatory nuisance, it’s basically the notion that you can stop your neighbor from doing something if waiting to sue until you’re harmed is ludicrous. In a western, this is where the marshal says you shot in self-defense.

“It’s a doctrine that’s established in common law,” says Alexander. “A court would not be making new law” by supporting such a claim, and “it presents a plaintiff with a lot of ammunition.”

The beauty here is that applying the case law to gas drilling is no stretch. According to George P. Smith, II, who wrote an article about this in the Vermont Law Review, it was established in 1864 America, when a court found that one Mr.Tipping’s property rights would be harmed by a proposed smelting operation, even though there were several factories nearby. More rulings followed.

These are really two different sorts of lawsuits; one compensates you if drilling’s already taken place and the other would stop it before it happened. And anybody can tell you that what anti-drilling activists want to do is the latter — which is why they’re trying, at least in New York, to convince Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo to either throw out the regulations already drawn up by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection and start over (they’re not yet adopted), or ban modern, horizontal gas drilling — so-called “fracking” — altogether.

Only Mr. Cuomo knows if he’ll ever do that, and so far, he hasn’t committed himself. But even if he did completely disappoint the anti-drilling forces, they could use Prof. Alexander’s idea in a test case that would tie up drilling for a long time — and maybe stop it altogether. It would cost plenty; but the money and legal talent could probably be found, if it came to it.

Since each state has their own case law in these matters and states like Texas and West Virginia don’t favor such lawsuits, this leaves us with the problem of what to do in Pennsylvania, New York, and, maybe, Ohio. It’s where things will get messy and people will have to get their hands dirty.

Here’s the scenario. Most gas leases in New York, Ohio, and much of Pennsylvania are running out and need to be renewed. It’s one of the big reasons drilling’s taking place now; if they are renewed, the lease prices will jump, but if the well’s drilled before the lease expires, the old deal still holds.

This is where you get together with the neighbors who don’t want drilling around them, and then explain to the neighbor with the lease that if he does drill, he’ll have to make their neighbors whole, and if he renews, he’ll be sued for anticipatory nuisance.

If, in the first case, he’s looking forward to getting, say, $10,000 a month in lease payments, he’ll suddenly be looking at paying it all out to make his neighbors whole — not much of a deal for him. And of course, in the second case he won’t be drilling at all — just fighting a lawsuit he has a good chance of losing.

Of course, many landowners in both states have joined coalitions to get themselves the best possible deal. And in those cases, there’s a clause in the uniform lease that indemnifies each of them from legal fees.

The problem? Those indemnification clauses typically only cover the first $2 million in legal fees, with a $10 million cap on total legal expenses. That sounds like a lot, sure — but it’s not. It’s only enough to trap them in a case that could drag on for years and cost multiples of those amounts. As for the neighbor who signed an individual lease at his kitchen table; he’s out of luck, big time.

As for you and your friends willing to sue; as I said earlier; it’s not impossible you could find some group interested in backing a test case — a case that would establish a new, exact legal precedent anybody could invoke to stop their neighbor from making money at their expense.

Taking this approach probably wouldn’t make your neighbor your best friend; but a cynic might point out that he probably wasn’t thinking about you when he signed the lease in the first place. And it does offer the promise of letting you sit on your porch for years, watching the sunset.

July 31, 2010

In case you needed proof…

In case you needed proof that there ARE health effects from industrial wind turbines due to excessive noise, here’s a story from the New York Times today… a New York-based corporate wind developer is offering Oregon residents a hush fee, so they do NOT ever complain of noise and health problems.

And what’s the value of their property, enjoyment of their property, their health? $5,000.

Read it here.


So much for “community buy-in” and “engaging” communities for their support of “clean” “green” renewable energy…now it’s, OK we’re doing this anyway, you might as well take this money and shut up.

February 25, 2010

In case you didn’t get it (what the wind biz is really all about)

This is one publication you’re not likely to see, but we did, and how very amusing! Turns out the European Union (EU) is none too happy with Ontario’s subsidization of wind developers as spelled out in the Green Energy Act. Right now, Ontario has cut a sensational deal with Samsung, an Asian consortium of wind turbine suppliers, and is also thinking of going into business with another large company, but in order for the McGuinty government to make good on its claims to be creating jobs in Ontario, eventually significant portions of the industrial wind turbines will have to be built in Ontario. You can read the article here: 

The EU is afraid that other provinces will go the way of Ontario and eventually take business away from European turbine manufacturers, chiefly those in Germany and Denmark. In fact, the EU says, Ontario may be breaking rules of agreements that Canada has signed on to:Under a section entitled “Message to be conveyed,” the EU alleges that the FIT program may not be consistent with Canada’s international trade obligations under the WTO or GATT. It also states that “the acquisition of electricity at above-market prices by OPA could constitute a subsidy to electricity producers.”

The document states that “this issue has been raised both with the Canadian federal government and with the government of Ontario in the framework of the [Canada-EU trade agreement] negotiations.”  This is serious stuff.

And it all points to one thing: this wind development business is not about providing electricity to the world (wind is inefficient and unreliable), it’s not about saving the environment (wind energy does not result in any reduction of fossil fuel use or CO2 emissions), it’s not about jobs either (very few are created) it’s about one thing: money. Money into the hands of foreign-owned manufacturers.

For the people of North Gower, it will mean noise injected into the environment, the rural landscape despoiled, property values reduced, and all because of the short-sightedness and greed of a few individuals, and a provincial government desperate for votes from its urban constitutency.

February 16, 2010

Wind turbines and property values: hiding the truth(2)

You may have read it here first: last year we posted about the U.S. Department of Energy’s so-called report on the effect of wind turbine developments on property values, which our own appraisal expert pronounced as so deeply flawed as to be utterly meaningless. If anyone was planning to use that in court, he said at the time, they’re out of luck. It’s useless.

Now, out of New Hampshire, U.S. appraisal expert Albert Wilson has offered up his opinion on the study. In a word, “ditto”. The study is meaningless and not done according any standard for preparing an opinion on property value.

Here are some of the points from Mr Wilson’s analysis:

“I have no opinion concerning the effect of wind power projects on residential property values,” Wilson told “However, I was compelled to respond professionally when it became apparent that the latest report by the Department of Energy was predicated on flawed methods – flaws that are well known in the literature but apparently ignored or missed by the report’s authors.”

In his paper, “Wind Farms, Residential Property Values, And Rubber Rulers”[1] Wilson writes that the underlying methods used in the development of the DOE study raise serious questions concerning the credibility of the results. In particular, the authors failed to follow any of the well-developed and tested standards for performing regression analyses on property sales.

“There are literally thousands of possible real estate regression models. Absent published and recognized standards on the validation of data, model development and testing, and calibration of the model against the real world market, a regression may be nothing more than a rubber ruler that can be stretched to provide a desired result,” he wrote.

And since any hedonic analysis depends entirely on the accuracy and reliability of the regression used, if the underlying regression does not conform to recognized standards, Wilson argues there can be no independent assurance of that accuracy or reliability.

Offering specifics on the study’s flaws, Wilson is highly critical of DOE’s nationwide approach whereby thousands of real estate transactions were examined in communities surrounding wind power facilities spread across the United States. The authors consolidated all of these markets and treated them as the same with little consideration of basic differences. For example, sales prices in areas of declining population and therefore decreasing demand-a majority of the areas examined-are not directly comparable to sales prices in areas of increasing population and therefore increasing demand. Even within the ten communities identified in the DOE report, such aggregation of markets is questionable. In Washington State, which was used as the base for comparison to all other areas in the study, the authors aggregated the urban market of Kennewick with the rural market of Milton-Freewater — two very different areas some 42 miles apart!

Wilson was clear when he wrote, “The failure to recognize and account for the need for homogeneity of markets is a common failing of hedonics.”

You can read his entire report here:

But honestly, it just make sense that property values would decline in proximity of wind turbinedevelopments, particularly when now it is apparent the health effects are experienced by people within 2 km of turbines.

So let’s sum up:

  • taxpayer/ratepayer money going to an expensive and unreliable form of energy generation, and to foreign-owned corporations who are just about done fleecing Scandinavia and Europe
  • health effects are being experienced and increasingly reported
  • property values are declining by 10-50% depending on proximity and noise.

It is time the wind developers acted responsibly, not like the carpet-baggers they are.

January 9, 2010

Property assessment slashed in HALF? Let the legal games begin

In The Toronto Star today, a column by a Toronto real estate lawyer on the recent Assessment Review Board decision to reduce the assessed value of a property by fifty per cent, due to the reduction in value by being situated so close to a wind turbine development, specifically the transformer.

The lawyer’s conclusions? This sets an amazing precedent, that municipalities better think about. Yes, the Green Energy Act took  away your rights to plan your communities where renewable energy projects are concerned (and thus protect the health and property values of your citizens) and now, that’s going to affect your tax base, too.

He concludes that law suits and class action suits can’t be far behind. We predicted this! In North Gower, where residents could stand to lose up to $45 million in property value, it would be naive to think people are just going to stand by and let it happen. Or, to allow these huge machines to inject constant noise into our environment and keep us and our children awake at night.

The article is here:
For heaven’s sake, put the turbines where the wind is, not where the people are!

January 7, 2010

Ask questions about wind turbines

A letter to the editor this week that just about says it all. (A note about the property value issue mentioned; the study the wind developers present is deeply flawed and meaningless. Use the Appraisal Group One study for answers. [Hint: the values go DOWN.])

Ask questions about wind turbines
The Regional News This Week
January 6 2009

My family and I moved into Walpole Township 20 years ago made it home and raised our children. I have never offered my thoughts or opinions to a newspaper before, but after attending the Port Dover and Nanticoke wind farm show and tell, I feel I have to.

We enjoy rural life. We don’t have city water or sewers, sidewalks or streetlights. Being able to sit out in the evening, listening to the bullfrogs and crickets whilst staring at the stars in the dark night sky, feeling sorry for the city folk that just don’t understand we’re not living out here because we’re poor and cannot afford to live in the city, we are here because we want to be.

I then read that some large corporation has decided that they want to make a lot of money by moving large wind turbines into this area and sell the electricity to the grid. This in the name of ‘renewable energy’ and we are supposed to be good corporate citizens and welcome them with open arms.

My mother said “beware strangers bearing gifts”. I heard this corporation had already solicited local land owners paid for and got leases signed up for the land they need. My thought is, were these people fully informed of all aspects and consequences of this proposal before they agreed to sign?

I had read an article in the newspaper USA Today about five weeks ago, it told of Wind farms in the U.S. and the disastrous effects on bird and animal life, it stated that now, after the damage is done, they regret installing them.

The article talked of newer, better wind technology, vertical turbines that fit into the frame of an existing high voltage line tower with less impact on the environment and communities. They do not affect wildlife, are cheaper to install and connect to the high voltage lines at the tower.

As mentioned earlier, I went to the meeting to ask some of the questions that bother me:

1. How will this project effect the migration path of the Tundra Swans that pass over our house resting in the local ponds, spring and fall?

Their answer, firstly deer in headlights look, obvious they do not know about the swans, then the environmentalist lady said, “Ducks, geese and swans fly around the turbines, it will not affect them.”

2. Why is this technology better than the vertical turbine mounted in the hydro towers, or wave power with generators offshore?

Their answer, “We have not heard of vertical turbines”, someone else chipped in “the egg beater type?”, “yes, they probably would not be big enough” was the final answer. I was then told wave power generators would probably scare the fish so as I should see there would be problems with any type of generator.

3. I asked about the effect these turbines would have on my property value. Their answer was to direct me to a thick book on a table which I was told was a study showing property values were unaffected or even increased due to wind farms. I tried to breeze through it, what I did get from it was that this study was done in the USA. It did not say where, it could have been a remote desert area, it said values did not change but a graph I found showed a 10% – 15% decrease in property values from construction through 4 years after.

Our Canadian real estate market is different to the USA; you see that everyday during this recession. What I want to hear is feedback from the real estate agents that work in the areas of existing wind farms locally, they will know about change in values. Like a lot of residents, I do not have a company pension; the future sale of this property will be the largest part of my retirement money.

4. I asked about health issues, including noise pollution relating to the turbines. I was again directed to a technical study on the table. Again I am not a doctor but what I gleaned from the study was that about 10 people in 1000 had experienced severe medical issues due to the 1 Hz – 2 Hz low frequency sound vibrations generated by the turbine.

Also 83 people in 1000 had suffered severe sleeping problems due to the increased noise levels at night time when speeds pick up. Maybe to big corporations that is regarded as acceptable losses, to me, that is too many.

I asked the kind man if he would like to live next to a turbine, he grimaced and said that was a personal question and I was not allowed to ask that. I am sorry but this feels like a personal issue to me. I asked about the benefits to our community, maybe an increase in employment, they told me possibly four jobs will be created, will our Hydro be cheaper, they said no. I personally do not see any benefits, I see a lot of detriment for the community and profit for a corporation.

The last time a large corporation said it would be okay and they were looking out for us, trust them, we lost our steel mill.

I ask all other residents in the area to think of and ask the questions that are important to them and their families, if you do not like the answers or like me do not get any, send an email to the ministry of environment, ministry of natural resources and your local council, these turbines will be here for at least twenty five years, we need to have all the facts explained to us before we agree to anything.

M. Bancroft

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