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Lucknow area couple to seek injunction to stop wind project

A Lucknow area couple has filed notice with the province that it plans to bring an injunction to halt further wind energy developments until a Health Canada study is complete.

Shawn and Tricia Drennan live in the middle of the K2 Wind Power Project, a proposed large-scale wind energy development in Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh that will include 140 industrial wind turbines. The project is being developed by Capital Power, Samsung Renewable Energy and Pattern Renewable Holdings, which together formed a limited partnership – K2 Wind Ontario Inc. The development is in the late stages of approval and construction is anticipated to begin in 2013.

According to a Notice of Action Against the Crown, filed by the Drennans’ law firm, Falconer Charney LLP, the couple own a 300-acre farm property, which has been in the family for 90 years. The site plans for the K2 Wind Power Project indicate that 12 wind turbines will be placed within two kilometres of the property; one as close as 650 metres. The Drennans charge that there is inadequate research to show that industrial wind turbines do not impact human or animal health. The Drennans claim that the proposed project “has the potential to adversely affect the health of the Drennan family and will effectively interrupt this intergenerational tradition, and deny their family the ability to express themselves through their chosen profession, as farmers.” Therefore, they are claiming a breach of their rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and are seeking declarations that their security of person interest is being violated by any approval of the wind project prior to the completion of a health study and that their freedom of expression is being violated. The Drennans are also making a claim of nuisance against K2 Wind Ontario Inc.

The notice indicates that the Drennans will seek a motion for an injunction to prevent the province from approving the wind energy development application until the Health Canada study is complete.

“They are really left with no choice,” the Drennan’s lawyer, Julian Falconer said during a media conference call last week. “No government is entitled to experiment with its citizens.”

The Drennans had previously tried to get answers to their questions about potential health impacts from wind energy developments from Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Arlene King and, in July, the Superior Court of Justice ordered King to appear before the couple to discuss her opinion on the potential health impacts to residents living within wind energy developments and answer questions about gag orders that were placed on residents who sold their homes to wind energy companies. The Drennans say that King has, so far, refused to meet with them.

The couple is hoping answers will come out of the Health Canada study.

“Health Canada doesn’t announce studies into things they already know about, and if they don’t know, why are the Drennans being used as guinea pigs,” Falconer asked.

Shawn Drennan said he and his wife are particularly concerned about a large substation, situated on at least 50 acres that will sit between 500 and 600 metres from their home.

“I’m very hopeful the injunction will be approved,” he said, adding that he believes legal action became necessary. “What choice do we have? We could lose our farm. I’m third generation here.”

The Drennans are being supported by Safe Wind Energy for all Residents (S.W.E.A.R.). Dave Hemingway represented the organization at the press conference and said he is convinced that the K2 project will impact the Drennans’ farm operation and property value.

“There is little to know doubt that the banks will re-assess them and they will have no credit,” he said.

“They have no say.”