The Ontario Assessment Review Board (ARB) has rejected an assessment appeal based on the proximity of wind turbines and their possible effects on property values.
The Wolfe Island wind farm, developed by Canadian Hydro Developers in 2009 soon after the Melancthon Phase 2 one was completed, is of close to 200 megawatts of nameplate capacity.
Ed and Gail Kenney appealed a $357,000 assessment on their waterfront home on the basis that the turbines had reduced their property’s value.
A Toronto Star report on the decision said the ARB found no evidence of a reduction, as there had been no property sales for a comparison and also because the presence of turbines “is not built into the model the corporation (MPAC) uses to assess properties.”
The Kenney’s property is within a kilometre of three turbines, and within three km of 27 more. They are reported to have told ARB that they can hear everything from a low whoosh to the sound of a jet flying overhead, and they have to keep their windows closed year-round.
At the Melancthon wind farm, there has been one successful assessment appeal, that of Paul Thompson, whose property is almost directly across the road from the 200-megawatt transformer substation. There have been no other known ARB appeals, although there have been some settlements between CHD/TransAlta and neighbours of turbines. Neither the number nor the nature of those is known.
Barbara Ashbee, who could not be reached for a comment had been among homeowners who had settled. In the past, she has said she couldn’t reveal her settlement because of a non-disclosure condition of the settlement.
A few months ago, she quoted Melancthon resident Roger Oliviera as complaining of similar effects as those cited by the Wolfe Island couple in their assessment appeal. Mr. Oliviera is within 480 metres of the nearest turbine.
TransAlta did outline a noise abatement program for Amaranth council a couple of years ago, and identified at least one location where it was generally shutting down the turbines on certain nights.
Melancthon Deputy Mayor Darren White said in a phone interview Wednesday that he “would agree” with the ARB’s decision.
Although the township has been lobbying for a moratorium on new developments until such time as more studies have been undertaken, Mr. White said there has been no evidence yet of reduced property values attributable to the turbines.
He said he knew of one property that CHD had purchased and then resold at a loss. “But the house and barn had been removed. “It’s not rocket science,” he said, to know the property was worth less without the buildings.
Mr. White didn’t discount health complaints. “I’m not going to say people don’t have symptoms.” But he said the World Health Organization considers annoyance as a symptom, or the cause of symptoms.
Melancthon has about 130 wind turbines of 1.5 megawatt capacity each, and another 50 either approved or in the approval stages.
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