Northland Power statements ‘disturbing and insensitive’

To the Expositor:

Mr. Martin, representing Northland Power, made some very disturbing and insensitive comments about families who are being affected by operating wind turbine projects.

His deflection to implying these people may have issues due to poor health, diet, genes or simply bad luck is beyond insulting.

I am offended that I have to reply to his simplistic remarks to set the record straight, but I will.

We are just one of many families in Ontario, and globally, who have been negatively affected. We happily supported our neighbour’s decision to participate in the towers. They came to us and asked for our input before they signed on. We thought it was a good thing. We were happy, healthy and thriving in our home as we remodelled to make it our retirement home. We had no pre-existing health conditions and took no medications.

What is happening to people is a direct effect from wind turbines being placed too close to their homes.

The loud cyclical noise, low frequency vibration, and in many cases, dirty electricity that became their new housemates is what is making them sick. When people leave their homes they get better and when they return, so do their symptoms. When your animals are affected and your children are affected, you can be sure they do not care about revenues from turbines on their neighbour’s farm. Not every household is affected but many are and what we know is just the tip of the iceberg.

Mr. Martin’s comments dovetail with Dalton McGuinty’s aspirations to be a world leader in green technology. Premier McGuinty’s unbridled enthusiasm is clouding his judgment as he ignores the citizens, the evidence from health professionals in Ontario and globally who have talked with the families and even his own Ministry of Environment field officers whose warnings to their superiors not only went unheeded, but were intentionally suppressed. This cannot be denied. It was exposed in the Freedom of Information (FOI) documents and is further reason Ontarians continue to press for the truth.

It is clear something horribly wrong is happening. I don’t know anyone who would simply walk away from their home let alone pay a second rent and utilities to sleep somewhere while paying a mortgage and utilities on their empty home. It is not logical, but it is happening. There are 11 known buyouts of affected families resulting in gag clauses and I guarantee there are many who still suffer in their homes with nowhere to go.

The notion that wind projects built after the Green Energy Act regulations were adopted will be safer is misleading and incorrect.

Reams of public input and reports by health professionals, engineers, acousticians, and the general public, including people from existing wind farms, clearly warned that 550 metres was not a safe setback. The government pushed ahead anyway in their need to hasten implementation. In their submissions to the Environmental Registry, CanWEA and some high profile developers pressed our officials to leave out the need to measure and monitor low frequency noise, known to be a significant negative aspect. The government complied with the wind industry wishes, throwing Ontarians under the bus.

Of 135 or so delegates to the standing committee hearings on the Green Energy Act, in a last minute phone call the committee refused to let me participate. Proponents galore including then Energy Minister George Smitherman lined up to support the industry and yet my family was denied the opportunity to tell them first-hand about the problems we were experiencing. This action is clearly one of bias and a desire to squelch any negatives associated with this policy.

This morally abhorrent behaviour from our government leaders, lobbyists and developers continues to be exposed by many hard working citizens across this province. Wind turbine installations must halt until the people know the truth and the impacts on human and animal health have been properly studied.

A public enquiry into wind energy development and the Green Energy Act is clearly warranted.

Barbara Ashbee