An information meeting is blowing into a rural community northwest of Stratford after at least two farms signed leases with wind turbine companies.
The public meeting, which runs Aug. 9, will address the effects of wind farms pegged for the Sebringville area.
“The companies that put in the wind turbines tend not to give a lot of information to the public,” said Tom Melady, a member of West and East Perth Against Turbines, the group hosting the gathering.
“We want to give information to people so that they know what is going to be happening in their community.”
Wind farms are a contentious issue in Ontario. The provincial government touts the turbines as a viable form of green energy. Others say they lead to health issues and drive communities apart.
Melady says his group has learned of at least two farms leasing land for wind turbines in Sebringville. He says more are likely en route as farmers who make deals are often asked to sign nondisclosure agreements.
“There are going to be wind turbines within one kilometre of them (residents),” said Melady. “I’m sure none of the village knows of that except a few people.”
A real estate agent from the Flesherton area, who will outline the challenges of selling homes once wind turbines are installed, will speak at the meeting. A resident who put a wind turbine on her property and was subsequently forced from her home due to health issues will also speak, among others.
“Our intentions are not to say that the sky is falling,” said Melady. “All of the information (at the meeting) will be based on fact.”
Proponents say wind farms are key producers of clean energy and boost the economy.
“It doesn’t use any fossil fuels, no greenhouse gas emissions,” said Justin Rangooni, Ontario policy manager and legal counsel for the Canadian Wind Energy Association.
“This is harvesting something that is clean and green and good for Ontario.”
Opponents complain about reduced property values, visual pollution – Melady says some turbines are about 50-storeys high – and health issues. Some people living near turbines have complained of nose bleeds, headaches and sleeplessness from the noise emitted from the structures.
Wildlife can also be impacted with birds flying into the blades.
“Turbines have no direct impact on human health,” said Rangooni. “There are thousands of turbines in Europe and North America and thousands of people living near turbines that have had a positive experience of living near them for years and years.”
The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Sebringville Community Centre.
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