Opponents of Ontario’s burgeoning wind-power industry ought not be too concerned about a ruling by the province’s Assessment Review Board that rejected a Wolfe Island couple’s argument that nearby wind turbines had significantly decreased their home’s value.
The board found a lack of evidence to support the contention of Ed and Gail Kenney that presence of three turbines within a kilometre of their home, and 27 of the island wind farm’s 86 turbines within three kilometres, had reduced the value of their waterfront home.
It clearly remains to be seen whether a similar challenge launched by property owners in Melancthon or Amaranth township would face a similar result.
What was missing in the Wolfe Island test case was any evidence in the form of recent sales of similar properties.
Locally, it remains to be seen whether residential or farm properties close to the big turbines have lost value in the wake of all the controversy over potential health problems (real or imagined) from the low-level noise produced when the turbines are operating.
If such evidence becomes available, and if it shows dramatic decreases in property values, municipalities like Melancthon and Amaranth will stand to lose huge amounts of tax revenue – far more than the pittance produced by the mandated assessment cap on turbines of $40,000 per megawatt.