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Agriculture Canada turns off wind turbine in P.E.I. after health complaints  

Agriculture Canada says it has yet to decide what to do with a noisy wind turbine in P.E.I. that was shut down less than three days after its blades started spinning because a nearby resident claimed it was making her sick.

The turbine, set up to provide power to an Agriculture Canada research station north of Charlottetown, started operating in January.

Department spokesman Mike Hennigar confirmed the $200,000, 30-metre turbine in Harrington was shut down less than three days later, after a woman living a few hundred metres away complained of migraine headaches.

“It was decided to shut it off and do an investigation rather than leave it running and further complicate her life,” he said in an interview.

Hennigar said the department is investigating three options: sell the turbine, move it farther away from neighbouring buildings or move it to another Agriculture Canada facility.

The project followed all existing regulations, and an environmental impact assessment determined noise would not be an issue for people living nearby, he said.

The department will review the case and determine whether it should adopt policies that exceed the minimum guidelines for future projects.

Complaints about wind turbine noise has emerged as an issue at several sites in the country, though there is much debate within the medical community about whether turbine noise and vibration can in fact make people sick.

A family in Lower West Pubnico, N.S., abandoned their home more than a year ago, claiming noise from a nearby wind farm was making them sick, and another family in Elmira, P.E.I., recently did the same.

Residents in Pugwash, N.S., who are battling a proposal to install up to 27 turbines near their tiny community, have been joined by singer Anne Murray, who has a cottage in the area.

Wind power developers often dismiss such complaints, noting that there is little conclusive research on the topic.

Canadian Press

27 July 2007

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