Health Canada’s new study into health effects of wind turbines gives area wind power project opponents new ammunition
Wind turbine farm opponents are calling on the provincial government to halt new wind farms until Health Canada completes its recently announced study.
The federal agency is studying the relationship between the low-frequency noise generated by wind turbines and potential health effects for residents living near wind farms. The results of the study are expected in 2014.
The study’s long overdue, said Marion Thompson, a resident with Community Wind Concerns of Cavan Monaghan.
“If there are adverse health effects, I don’t think I’d like to see turbines going up when that possibility exists,” she said.
Thompson lives east of Millbrook, near where Energy Farming Ontario and Wind Works Power plan to build a wind farm with as many as five turbines generating up to 10 megawatts of power.
The Whispering Woods Wind Park site is south of County Rd. 21 and north of Zion 4th Line, with Hutchinson Dr. running roughly through its centre.
Wind turbine farm opponents in communities across Ontario are latching onto the Health Canada study in a bid to get the provincial government to call a moratorium on new large-scale wind farms.
In an announcement Tuesday, federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq said the study is a response to growing concerns among residents living near wind farms about possible health effects of the noise generated by wind turbines.
Ontario’s government points to reviews that show no evidence of health impacts from the technology.
This is the first actual investigation of the issue in Canada, Omemee resident Paul Reid said arguing that prior investigations were simply literature reviews.
“If they’re looking at it, there must be some fire where there is smoke,” said Reid, who’s active with Manvers Wind Concerns in the City of Kawartha Lakes. “I can’t imagine that Health Canada would investigate it if there isn’t something to investigate.”
Reid added his voice to the growing call for a moratorium.
Reid wants a minimum setback of two kilometres between homes and wind turbines instead of the current minimum setback of 550 metres.
“The City of Kawartha Lakes will be carpet bombed with wind turbines if we don’t find a way to put a stop to it,” he said.
City of Kawartha Lakes Coun. Heather Stauble has been supporting residents who are fighting against three proposed wind farms in her ward that would together have as many as 15 wind turbines.
“There are significant issues,” she said, mentioning health concerns such as sleeplessness, arrhythmia and learning difficulties for children. “As these wind turbines get bigger, the issues get bigger.”
The study needs to determine the minimum safe distance between homes and wind turbines for communities that do want wind farms, Stauble said.
“It’s something that the province should have done long ago,” she said.
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