Posted 6 days ago
From the opinions expressed at a special meeting of Dawn-Euphemia council,
it would appear there is little support among ratepayers for a proposed
wind farm in the south Lambton community.
About 200 turned out to the Florence Community Centre on Monday
for what Mayor Bill Bilton explained was a special meeting of council
called to discuss concerns over the proposed wind farm.
Sydenham Wind Corporation, a local company working in conjunction
with IPC Energy of Mississauga, has proposed to build up to 35
wind turbines on the east side of Dawn-Euphemia that could
produce up to 70 megawatts of electricity.
At council meeting earlier this month Dawn-Euphemia council
voted to table the issue until more information could be gathered on the proposal.
On Monday, invited speakers were Dr. C.T. Greensmith,
Lambton County’s medical officer of health, and Dr. Magda Havas,
a professor of environmental and resource studies at Trent University.
Greensmith said he was asked to speak about health studies and
the prospect of doing one to determine what, if any, health problems
wind generation may have on those living near a wind farm.
However, after giving an overview of the different methods
used to conduct a health study, Greensmith concluded that
one could not be conducted in Dawn-Euphemia because there were
no existing wind generators there to use for comparison.
Rather, he said, it would have to be done in another community
where wind generation already existed and preferably one
with a larger population so the population numbers would
allow for a more conclusive outcome.
“In the main, they (health studies) are complicated, expensive
and have to done properly or they are not worth the paper they
are written on,” he said.
However, Greensmith said global warming and the fact that
the world is running out of fossil fuels are realities and alternative
methods of energy must be found.
And he suggested that more could be done in the area of conservation.
“Preventing an issue is more important than curing it,” he said.
“You can’t stop the advance of technology, but it must be regulated
with appropriate planning on where they (wind generators)
are sited . . . planning and setbacks must be adhered to,” he suggested.
Havas, who has done extensive research on the health effects of
wind generation, said many people living near wind farms get sick
from the acoustic and optical effects of the turbines.
She said many complain of headaches, insomnia, depression,
irritability and sleep disorders.
In several cases she has studied, she noted that when the people
living near turbines were removed from their homes they instantly get better.
She said the reason people living near wind generators get sick is
because of the sound and electromagnetic waves the generators emit,
which are often not visible or audible because of their low frequency.
“If you are exposed to four to eight cycles per second, your stomach
will absorb the vibrations which in some people is manifested by nausea,” she said.
Havas said the condition is called VAD or vibrocoustic disease,
and is a growing problem among people who are naturally prone to
motion sickness.Havas charged that wind turbines also have an
affect on blood sugar levels in diabetics.
She noted that a phenomenon known as dirty electricity is also
responsible for many health effects.“Wind turbines produce dirty electricity,”
she said, adding that can be corrected if the wind power companies are
willing to install electricity filters on their generators, which she said is
similar to an electronic capacitor. Havas noted that studies suggest
that set backs for wind turbines of at least two kilometres are
recommended to ensure the health of neighbours. “The answer is simple,
it’s distance and the critical distance is two miles for
a two megawatt generator,” she said. She also advised neighbours of
wind projects to ensure that generators are properly grounded
before they are hooked up to the grid. Croton-area resident Jerry Burns
said for many years he has dealt with pipeline companies and suggested
that dealing with wind companies would be similar. Burns said when dealing
with those companies the public is fighting against large amounts of money
that is supplied by that industry.“If you don’t have the money to hire an
expert you are just kidding yourself,” he said.“You have to get organized
and hire an environmental lawyer and get experts on board. If you can’t do that
then you better back off.” Resident Terry Doucette said he moved to the
country to enjoy the animals and the beauty of the landscape, and now,
he said, someone wants to stick a windmill up in his backyard.“Why does it have
to be in my backyard? I feel like we are just being used as guinea pigs,”
Doucette said. Resident Stewart Lewis said he was concerned about
locating wind farms without knowing their full consequences. He suggested
there should be a full environmental assessment of their potential ill affects.
“Putting a wind farm in populated areas is a scary thing to me,” Lewis said.
Ed Johnston of Ridgetown suggested that the former Chatham-Kent council
rushed into wind generation in his area.“The present council admits
now it was a mistake because now we have an open door policy
and that is a problem,” he said, adding that the Dawn-Euphemia
council has an opportunity to do things right.
“I urge you to be careful on this issue.” Coun. Alan Broad asked Greensmith
if the planning and set back requirements would be the best way
for council to deal with the issue.Greensmith said the best
decision that council could make is to require appropriate setbacks.
Following the meeting, Deputy Mayor Leslea Williams said the next
step for council will be to deal with the original motion to approve
the construction of the wind farm, which was tabled to allow the
council to gather more information.
“It’s like I said from the very beginning, we need to listen very
carefully to our rate payers,” Williams said. “And I think they have told
us what they want in an overwhelming way.” Coun. Harold Gray said that
based on the public meetings and phone calls he has received,
he thinks the residents of Dawn-Euphemia are 75% to 80% opposed
to the project
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