Based on letters in this week’s and last week’s Times-Advocate, and very strong attendance at an information meeting in Grand Bend last week, we can safely say the hot topic of the day for our area is wind turbines.
And you can expect the debate will get even hotter in the upcoming months and years as the several large-scale industrial wind turbine farms planned for the region come closer to fruition.
It seems to us that the more people learn about wind turbines and the closer these projects come to reality, the less people want them. The concerns are many, and are detailed elsewhere in this week’s newspaper, but chief among them are the impacts on the health of those who live near turbines, what wind energy will do to our hydro bills and our economy, how they will affect wildlife and how property values will be impacted.
These are not small concerns – these are major items.
The Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group last week in Grand Bend presented a well-organized, informative meeting about wind turbines. Even if you attended the meeting not having strong feelings against wind turbines, you left the meeting with many things to think about.
Probably the most effective speakers at the meeting were members of the Michaud family, who have become sick since wind turbines were erected 1.14 kilometres from their hobby farm in the Thamesville area. Lisa Michaud and her son Josh spoke of the vertigo, headaches and other health problems they started experiencing once the turbines went online.
Other speakers last week backed up the Michauds’ claims that wind turbines can have adverse effects on the health of those who live near them.
We’ve all seen people on television claiming that wind turbines made them sick. Maybe we haven’t believed them. Maybe we thought they were making it up, or they would have become sick even without the turbines. But when you listen to these people in person and talk to them, their testimonies are more powerful.
University of Western Ontario adjunct professor Dr. Scott Petrie compared wind turbine sickness to that of seasickness – not everybody gets sick from it, but those who do get really sick. Dave Colling of the Ripley area, a farmer and electrical engineer who tests for electrical pollution such as stray voltage and dirty electricity, spoke of families he knew who became sick while living in the vicinity of wind turbines.
So what do we do for these families who get sick? Tell them it’s too bad and that they’ll have to suffer? Force them to try to sell their homes and move elsewhere? That’s not right – these are people’s homes, dreams and livelihoods we’re talking about.
The province has done a poor job informing Ontarians about wind turbines and why it is so gung-ho about bringing them to Ontario. What we’re left with is the impression that they’re being forced on us. No wonder people are concerned and upset.
If you have concerns about wind turbines, let your local MPP know about them. And educate yourself by reading as much literature – both pro and con – about wind turbines as you can.
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