Landowners need to get advice before signing on with wind energy companies, says lawyer Wallace Lang.
He was speaking to about 250 people gathered Thursday evening at a wind turbine public awareness meeting held at the community centre in Oil Springs.
It was organized by Enniskillen Township resident Chad Burke and his family after representatives of wind companies began approaching landowners in the rural Lambton County community.
Mayor Kevin Marriott has said three companies are behind several proposals for wind farms in the township.
Lang was one of several speakers at the meeting Burke organized with help from local anti-wind groups.
“Take care,” Lang told the crowd about documents used by wind companies. “Because it’s a binding agreement once you sign it.
Lang said the companies have developed documents they have found to be saleable to landowners.
“You’re not dealing with a bunch of amateurs here.”
Burke said he discovered the wind companies have become active in Enniskillen when they approached his in-laws.
As well as organizing Thursday’s meeting, Burke said he expects to see an Enniskillen citizens’ group form and join forces with other anti-turbine efforts in Lambton.
“The whole idea is to spread awareness and not let these into our community,” he said.
As well as selling anti-wind turbine signs and T-shirts, volunteers at a table near the door of the community centre were collecting signatures on an anti-turbine petition.
Burke said they also plan to approach township council and ask it to follow the lead of neighbouring Plympton-Wyoming where tough bylaws have been passed in an attempt to limit wind farm developers.
Suncor, a company planning to build a wind farm in Plympton-Wyoming, is taking that municipality to court over the bylaws.
“I believe in encouraging green energy,” Burke said, “but not at the expense of my family’s health and well-being.”
Also speaking Thursday was Ridgetown area resident Monica Elmes who said a wind farm built several years ago near her home has affected the health of her family and many of their neighbours.
“The noise is bad,” she said. “Somethings it’s really bad.”
Elmes said her husband doesn’t sleep well and some neighbours report headaches and nausea, elevated blood pressure and ringing in their ears.
“It’s just devastating to people.”
As well as the health impacts, some worry about what nearby wind farms are doing to their property values, she said.
“’Who’s going to buy my home now?’ is a statement you often hear.”
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