Opponents of the invasion of industrial wind turbines into rural Ontario are calling for a full public inquiry into the provincial government’s energy policies.
Wind turbine opponents held a special public meeting at the Maxwell Community Centre on Thursday, October 25. A standing room only crowd attended the meeting.
Prior to the Maxwell meeting, a small group of turbine opponents held a protest at the Feversham Community Centre where the ZEP (Zero Emissions People) were holding a public information session about their proposal to locate five industrial wind turbines in Grey Highlands.
Several speakers made presentations at the meeting in Maxwell.
Barbara Ashbee of Victims of Wind (VOW) spoke about her experiences living near an industrial wind turbine development.
Ashbee said before wind turbines arrived in her community she was perfectly healthy, as was her husband. Seven months after the industrial turbines were built their personal health was a completely different story. She listed a number of issues they dealt with including: ringing in their ears, stomach-aches, nausea, sleep deprivation and cognitive and memory problems.
She said her pets even felt the effects. Her dog would sit in the living room and cry for no reason. Another time she found her cat hiding in the basement and vomiting.
“All of the symptoms disappeared a few days after we moved,” she said. “All of these health events are not a coincidence. They match the stories from around the province,” she said.
Ashbee called for the government to hold a full public inquiry into its energy policies. She said a public inquiry would allow honest and truthful testimony – without fear of prosecution – about the province’s energy policies.
Ashbee said the Ontario Medical Officer of Health’s claims that a health study has been conducted into the effects of industrial wind turbines are not true.
“(Arlene King) did a literature review. She did not conduct a health study, nor did she speak to the affected families. There is a cyclone of misinformation out there,” she said.
David Colling spoke to the audience about “electrical pollution” – also known as “stray voltage.”
Colling is an expert on testing farms and homes for stray voltage. He said results of tests from homes near industrial wind turbines are shocking. He said in one case families had to be moved from their homes to live in hotels due to the problems.
“Our grid was built in the 1940s. It’s outdated. It wasn’t designed to handle this stuff,” said Colling.
Doug Pedlar, a real estate agent from the Grand Bend area, also spoke at the meeting and said the addition of industrial turbines to the rural landscape is starting to show a negative impact on property values. Pedlar displayed numbers that show that homes located near industrial turbines take longer to sell and sell for lower values than normal homes.
“Days a home spends on the market double when they’re within three miles of a turbine,” Pedlar explained, who noted that he has heard of insurance companies that are now not renewing insurance policies for homes located near turbines. “Don’t let people say this is NIMBYism. Let’s not let our government turn rural Ontario into industrial Ontario,” said Pedlar.
Grey Highlands resident Lorrie Gillis, who has been researching the effects of industrial turbines also spoke at the meeting.
“You don’t get used to it. You get sick. Then you get stressed,” said Gillis.
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