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Families blame transformers for ills

Two more Amaranth families have recently gone public with their complaints about TransAlta’s transformer substation on the Tenth Line at 15 Sideroad.

This time, the families are complaining about illnesses they say are caused by an electrical field from the two 100- megawatt-capacity transformers. Previously, neighbour Paul Thompson launched a lawsuit over noise from the substation. That is still before the courts and, in the meantime, Mr. Thompson has won a 50% assessment reduction on his property.

Now, Theresa Kidd and Ted Whitworth, both of whom had appeared at the Ontario Municipal Board hearings into Phase 2 of the Melancthon wind farm, have gone public with their complaints through Daisy Consulting Group, a firm co-founded by Toronto lawyer and Liberal spin-doctor Warren Kinsella.

Ms. Kidd, who had appeared as a party to the hearing, recently posted a video on YouTube showing that a fluorescent bulb glowed without being connected to any electrical source. The posted view was seen through night vision but she said the tube glowed, although less brightly, without use of night vision.

She said in an interview Tuesday that she and her husband Terry had lived at their location close to Hydro One’s 230-kv transmission line, raising “warm blooded” horses as hunter/ jumpers, for years prior to the installation of the transformers but had never had any environmental problems.

With the advent of the transformers, she said, they began to feel the electricity in the house and in their persons. And then their 23 horses became spooked. She said they began “running at the gates” in uncharacteristic fashion.

They were forced from their home, she said, for the sake of their health, and to dispose of their horses. They have sold all but eight at sacrifice prices.

Why had they waited so long to go public? Ms. Kidd said it was only at the urging of friends that she came out in the open with her story and posted the video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=faEo2-o8FGM:

She said when the OMB hearing ended, they decided simply to go on with their lives. Now their only remedy is to move. And all they are asking is that TransAlta “relocate our families and livestock to a safe environment and compensation.”

According to Daisy, the substation is 390 metres from the Kidd home and 490 metres from Whitworth’s, and that by living so close to the substation, both families have been constantly disturbed by the noise and made extremely ill by the electrical pollution coursing through their properties, homes and bodies.

Daisy quotes Ted Whitworth as saying: “We are reasonable people, but our situation is no longer liveable. Our families are sick, our farming business has been negatively affected and I fear that I or someone in my family might develop a serious illness like cancer, at any time. We feel like we are living in a microwave. TransAlta must do something to help us.”

Prior to TransAlta’s hostile takeover of Canadian Hydro Developers, it is known that CHD was in discussions with all three families but the nature of those discussions hasn’t been confirmed. Ms. Kidd did not comment on those, but did say there had been no offer since the TransAlta takeover.

Communications Director Bob Klager said in a phone interview Wednesday that TransAlta is convinced the source of the problems experienced by the Kidds and Whitworths is not the transformer substation.

He said TransAlta has been in touch with the families, and is working with them to find solutions. However, he said he hopes they would investigate other sources of the electromagnetic field of which they speak.

He said he couldn’t speak to any discussions that might have taken place prior to the TransAlta purchase of Canadian Hydro Developers.