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Willows homeowner no fan of proposed wind turbine  

Credit:  The Salem News, www.salemnews.com 9 January 2012 ~~

First, let me begin by thanking all the folks who have taken the time to write letters or otherwise express their opinion either for or against the proposed wind turbine at Winter Island. There can never be too much information when making a decision of this magnitude.

Though I do not agree with much of what has been written, I do respect your right to express your opinion and hope you will respect mine, as well. And yes, before I begin, I am willing to state that I am a resident of Salem Willows.

What does offend me are those of you who think you know what’s best for me and my neighborhood.

If this were being proposed for your neighborhood, I am sure you would be reacting in the same manner.

You would research all aspects of wind turbines to be sure that your health and the health of your family would be safeguarded. I also have no doubt that if there was one mention of any type of health risk you would be up in arms and not want it to be placed in your neighborhood.

Remember, some 50 years ago when the power plant was proposed, surrounding residents were told, “Don’t worry, it only burns coal – the same coal you burn in your homes for heating.” Look what has been proven since.

Not so healthy for anyone even miles from the plant, never mind the neighborhoods surrounding it!

I have learned much from reading all the letters and articles and attending meetings. I have also taken the time to research wind turbines and would like to express my thoughts on the subject and its placement at Winter Island.

I would like to know why out of eight proposed sites, four are located in the Willows neighborhood. It seems to me this neighborhood was targeted from the beginning. And why not? Everything else lands here. We have the power plant, South Essex Sewerage, Cat Cove Marine Lab and every road race, walk, concert, etc. So why not add one more to the mix?

Why were no sites tested in the Highland Avenue area or North Salem? Certainly you have all been to the Salem Home Depot. On the hottest, driest day of the year, there are winds up there that will knock you over. Or what about McCabe Park and Marina? Plenty of land far from homes, and transmission lines to boot!

Yet not one site was tested in those areas. Interesting. Why would we choose the beautiful, peaceful oasis of Winter Island for this?

It is not only a city and state treasure, but a national gem in terms of history, scenic beauty and location.

Salem has very little usable waterfront and, by placing the wind turbine here, much of the island will become unusable. Once again, we are rushing to accomplish a goal that will have long-term effects on our city and its residents. And for what? A less expensive electric rate for the city? I certainly won’t receive a lower electric rate for having to live with the turbine. Also, I sincerely doubt that my taxes will stay the same or be lowered by the wind turbine.

There are no guarantees that this project will pay for itself and generate a profit for the city, just speculation. On the other hand, we are sure that there will be noise, our view will be altered, there will be flickering, access to certain areas of Winter Island will be limited or denied, and a host of other negative issues.

One issue I am greatly concerned with is ground vibration. For those of you who are unaware, most of the area of Salem Willows and Winter Island sits on a ledge. As a matter of fact, this ledge comes up into my basement and the basements of many other homes here.

When blasting for SESD occurred, I had every floor tile in my home crack from the vibrations. When Danversport blew up, not only did my roof come unhinged from the pressure exerted on the ledge, but several cracks appeared in my walls. Even the barely noticed vibrations from the tankers that deliver coal to the power plant shake my home and cause pictures to tip and items to move.

At a recent meeting, I asked about ground vibration and was told that it had never been brought up before and that in many other cases none had been reported. Wrong!

Not quite believing what I was told, I researched wind turbine ground vibration. Though several cases have occurred abroad, they have occurred. It is a serious problem. At the very least, there will have to be blasting of some sort to install the wind turbine on Winter Island.

Add to this constant pounding on ledge as the blades turn, and many – if not most – of us will have serious physical problems with our homes.

At this point, I would like to address the comments made by Jeff Barz-Snell in his recent letter to the editor. His complete disregard of and contempt for the residents of Winter Island and Salem Willows was at best disparaging.

As a member of the Renewable Energy Task Force, he should be open to all comments and suggestions, whether positive or negative, from all residents of Salem.

We all have a stake, some of us more than others, in a decision of this magnitude. In particular, those of us that have a true, personal, monetary stake in this city and who will be negatively impacted in so many ways should be heard clearly and understood – not lectured to, called names or ridiculed. Singling out “12 wealthy households in the Willows and Marblehead” was childish and unnecessary, and showed jealousy and contempt for those who have worked hard and done well in their lives.

For the record, I am one of those households and I can assure you, Mr. Barz-Snell, I am not wealthy. I chose to continue living in my home of 20 years after the unexpected death of my husband. For me to pay my mortgage, taxes, etc., I have a full-time career and own my own business, and also work part time when possible just to make ends meet.

I certainly would not need to do this if I was as wealthy as you claim. What I am is a woman trying to keep my property attractive for myself, my family and future potential buyers. My taxes increase each year just like everyone else’s in the city, and mine are among the highest.

Your mistruth about taxes going down if we put the wind turbine on Winter Island is inexcusable and offensive. Property taxes never go down. Anyone who owns property knows this. I find it disturbing that a person with no permanent roots here is telling (or should I say demanding) that tax-paying citizens get over our “NIMBY” ways and allow the wind turbine to be placed at Winter Island.

Mr. Barz-Snell, can you guarantee me that my home won’t be damaged, my health won’t be affected and my taxes will go down? I sincerely doubt it!

When both you personally and the city of Salem can guarantee in an enforceable legal document and agree to pay any and all damages and health costs and increases in my taxes, I will agree to a wind turbine being built somewhere in Salem.

So that you understand me clearly, I work very hard for what I have. That was and is my choice. I will do everything within my power to protect my property just as our forefathers protected their lands. It’s known as the American Way, and if you don’t like the Willows folks expressing their opinions and protecting their investment in their homes, I would suggest you set out for “greener” pastures and better opportunities now. I am relatively sure that once you are gone cooler heads will prevail and an honest and open discussion will take place.

In conclusion, I would like to say that wind turbine technology is still in its infancy and it will be years before it is perfected.

I do not believe that we should build a wind turbine on Winter Island or anywhere in our city. I have only touched on a few of the negative issues, but believe that these far outweigh any positives.

If only one resident of Salem will be negatively impacted by a wind turbine, then we should not build it.

There are many websites that offer information on this subject, and I urge every citizen in Salem to investigate them. Two I would recommend for information on the negative impacts associated with wind turbines are www.windaction.org and www.salemwind.org.

For information on ground vibration, simply Google “wind turbine ground vibration” for hundreds of articles on the subject, or for general information, simply Google “wind turbines.”

Kathie Driscoll-Gauthier

Salem

Source:  The Salem News, www.salemnews.com 9 January 2012

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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