BAILEY’S BROOK – Kristin Overmyer can’t sleep at night and he says the giant in his backyard is to blame.
Kristin and Susan Overmyer were two of the members of the Eco Awareness Society, which fought against the construction of wind turbines in Bailey’s Brook, but lost an appeal in the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia to block Sheer Wind from constructing the wind field because they were too late.
The couple spoke about their experiences living in the shadow of wind turbines at a public meeting in Braeshore Saturday, where another group of concerned citizens have formed a committee to oppose the construction of a much smaller-scale wind field development.
When the Bailey’s Brook project was first proposed several years ago, said Susan, they were in favour of the plan.
“When we first heard turbines were coming to the community we thought it was a good idea – green energy, right?” said Susan.
But then they started looking deeper into other communities living with turbines in their areas, they began finding problems that alarmed them, prompting them to join with 12 other families in the area and oppose the development.
The wind field has been in operation for quite some time now, however, and the couple both say they are experiencing some health issues because of the turbine.
“I’m not sleeping because of it,” said Kristin. “It seems I’m one who can hear low-frequency noise at night.”
His wife, however, has different side-effects.
“Two days after they started turning, I was in bed, and I turned my head and experienced vertigo,” she said. “It’s not every night, but often. It depends which way the turbines are turning and the direction of the wind.”
She says she’s also experienced what doctors say is an “adrenaline surge” several times, caused by the low-frequency noise.
“It’s like a wave goes through my body,” she said. “It’s rather frightening when it happens. Your heart starts racing, I actually have heart palpitations.”
Their home is located 1,400 meters from the nearest turbine, but they say other community residents from even farther away are also experiencing problems. One family, says Susan, is two kilometers from the nearest turbine and can’t sleep at night because of the low-frequency noise.
The noise is always there, added Kristin, ranging from a low whisper during calm periods, like when he’s working in the garden, to a sound similar to a jet airplane that’s flying past but never goes away. And sometimes it becomes a loud thump when several of the turbines become synchronized, which the Overmyers say can be heard from up to three kilometers away.
“You might think a whisper isn’t much of a big deal, but it can become annoying pretty quickly when you’re used to doing things in the quiet,” he said. “That’s why we chose to live out there, and we’ve lost that now.”
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