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The burden that is a windmill

There was some irony around City Hall yesterday. The Lake Superior Action Research Conservation (LSARC) staged a protest outside of the civic centre in objection to the building of wind turbines as elected officials gathered inside to announce a natural resources business networking conference in the fall.

Members of LSARC were standing in solidarity with other protestors across the province demonstrating against the Feed in Tariff Forum happening in the Toronto on Wednesday. The forum brought together multinationals, policy makers and developers to discuss the development of more wind farms.

George Browne, a spokesperson for LSARC, commented, “There are over 1,000 wind turbines planned in the area. There are some many problems with them and just one of them is the impact on tourism. Tourism is the second largest industry in the Sault. Last year , beginning Easter weekend, our group set up every long weekend at Scenic Lookout in Alona Bay. We surveyed tourists and 80% were dismayed that the natural landscape could be interrupted with industrial installations.We have an area, where one of these wind farms is being constructed which has 70 sites that the Group of Seven painted from. All that cultural heritage is going to be lost with this development.”

Opponents of wind farms assert that tax write offs generate big bucks for multi-national corporations such as Suncor and other fossil fuel companies. Meanwhile, small municipalities, like Prince Township, are stuck footing the bill for maintenance.

Amy Zuccato, Prince Councillor, stated, “It’s a waste of the tax payer’s money. It’s a waste to build them, to maintain them and when the day comes to decommission them that’s also going to be on the tax payer’s back.”

The health implications for people living near wind turbines can be debilitating. Research cites that most commonly experienced is the inability to sleep “owing to continuous inaudible low-frequency ‘pounding’ generated by pressure waves from the turbines. People living nearby them describe a constant vibrating or pulsing sensation felt throughout their bodies but particularly in the head and chest when the turbines are operating.”

Amy has a family home near the wind farm and has experienced the incessant drone of the turbines. “It sounds awful, it’s unnatural. But what’s worse is that there are three windmills that have been broken at Prince Farms. The regular sound is just a ‘wooosh, wooosh, wooosh’ but the broken ones- it sounds like the War of The Worlds out there. It’s like were under attack.

So now we’ve got these big, ugly broken things out there. It’s unfortunate that the power company isn’t maintaining their investment. They just built them and they’ve left them. This is just the beginning of what they’re going to leave behind.”