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Wind farm opponents in Oxford are ready to make their case

WOODSTOCK – Opponents of wind turbines say there are lots of misconceptions about wind farms.

The first mistake is calling them wind farms.

“They are 450-feet high. They dwarf the water towers in Woodstock. They dwarf everything except the CN Tower,” said Joan Morris of the East Oxford Community Alliance, an organization formed earlier this year to fight a proposed wind development in Norwich.

Morris prefers to call them industrial wind energy projects.

The East Oxford Community Alliance is hosting a meeting Monday evening in Oxford Centre to discuss the possible impacts of the proposed development.

Monday’s meeting is meant, in part, to educate people about wind energy.

Last month Morris attended the first international symposium of the wind industry and its health effects.

The event was held in Picton and brought together scientists, researchers and activists involved in the wind energy debate.

Morris said one of the challenges is to convince people who have seen windmills that living near them could have health impacts.

Some researchers have suggested prolonged exposure to low frequency noise has detrimental health effects.

“The misconception is that if you can’t hear it, it can’t hurt you. You can’t see or smell or taste carbon monoxide but it can kill you,” she said.

“There definitely has to be more research,” said Morris, who likened the situation with wind turbines to a time when the tobacco industry denied the health consequences of smoking.

Morris said the scale of the development could result in lowered property values and lower tax revenue in Norwich.

“That would have an impact on the whole township and the whole county,” she said.

Monday’s meeting is to feature Stephana Johnston, who is to talk about her experiences with wind energy near Port Burwell, and Central Huron councilor John Bezaire, who is to talk about wind developments along the Lake Huron shore.

A representative of Victims of Wind is also scheduled to be at the meeting.

The meeting is set for Monday at 7:30 p.m. at the Oxford Centre Hall.

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