Dawn-Euphemia council hears little support for wind farm plan

 

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

Copyright © 2008 Dresden Leader

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