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Residents say wind farm is making them sick

A group of residents living close to one of the country’s largest wind farms near Kingston, Ont. say the turbines are making them sick.

Some residents from Wolfe Island, many whose homes stand in the shadows of the towering wind turbines, report experiencing dizziness, nausea, insomnia and heart palpitations. They say the turbines are to blame.

Resident Ron Barber says the wind farm may have caused increased stress that might have triggered his wife Pat’s arthritis.

“I haven’t had a lot of aches and pains, but my wife had arthritis pretty heavy duty last year,” he said. “I don’t know if it had anything to do with that, but arthritis is definitely stress related.”

Ron’s wife Pat Barber says the turbines are also an eyesore and cause excessive noise.

“I look out my living room window and I see… not what I use to see—fields. Now I see a wind turbine,” she said.

But other residents of the island haven’t experienced any negative side effects from the turbines.

“I’ve grown up with migraines so if anybody was going to have trouble with headaches it might be me and there’s been absolutely no issue,” said resident Kim Hulton.

Resident Kylie Etmanskie, meanwhile, says those who claim the turbines are the cause of their health problems may just be expressing their general dislike for them.

“I don’t have any issues with that. I think those people probably aren’t happy that they’re here to begin with,” she said.

“I can’t say that in 10 years with studies that there might not be a problem,” Etmanskie added.

Ongoing issue

The issue has divided several communities across the country.

Recently the Ontario panel that rules on turbine approvals said that there are “legitimate concerns and uncertainties about the effects of wind turbines on human health.”

Additionally, Health Canada recently announced it would be conducting a research study examining the relationship between wind turbines, noise and health.

The study, which was announced on July 10, will look at 2,000 homes that are in close proximity to several different wind farms.

It will ask participants, who live in the specified homes, to complete interviews and provide blood pressure measurements. The study will also take noise measurements inside and outside the homes.

While many on Wolfe Island welcome the Health Canada study, others say it comes too late.

“I’m very much so happy about that,” said Pat Barber. “But it should have been done prior to, not after the fact.”

It is estimated that by 2025, 25 per cent of the country’s electricity will be supplied by wind farms.

With files from CTV Ottawa’s Katie Griffin and The Canadian Press