‘We moved away from the city to protect our son’; Wellandport family fears impacts of turbine 550 metres from home
At age three, the sound of two sides of Velcro ripping apart was enough to drive Joey Correia into hysterics.
He told his parents the sound would send a shooting pain up the back of his head.
Five years he ago he was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder.
Joey is audio sensitive. Repetitive sounds, such as white noise, the dripping of a tap or, what his mom Shellie fears, the constant swoosh of a turbine, drive him crazy.
If the proposal submitted to the province by Niagara Region Wind. Crop. is approved, a turbine will be built at the minimum provincial setback distance of 550 metres from their Wellandport home. Four more will be erected within four kilometres from the Correia’s country home, a home which they purchased to escape the noise and pollution of the city.
Correia lost a daughter there before Joey was born. At 16, her daughter died of cancer. To protect Joey, she escaped the city, offering him instead a quiet upbringing in rural Ontario. Never did she think she would be faced with an industrial operation just steps from her quiet sanctuary.
“We moved away from the city to protect our son,” said Correia, an active member of the West Lincoln Glanbrook Wind Action Group.
Joey, who has a quiet place at St. Martin Catholic Elementary School to escape the noisy classroom, will have nowhere to hide from the 40-decibel swoosh of an industrial wind turbine blade.
Also concerned for Joey’s health is Dr. Chrystella Calvert, a pediatrician from Dundas, Ont. Calvert has written a letter to Niagara Region Wind Corp. regarding her concerns over how the industrial wind turbines planned near the Correia’s home will impact Joey.
“Wind turbines concern me, given my strong knowledge of neurobiology,” writers Dr. Calvert, who diagnosed Joey, 12, with Sensory Processing Disorder, in a letter dated Oct. 5, 2012. “Due to well-documented disruption to the “normal” environment (vibration, noxious repetitive sounds) this is potentially a danger to the health.
“In children, the developing brain is exquisitely sensitive and plastic – it relies on clean inputs to develop normally. Science has no evidence that this abnormal, incessant stimulus does not have long lasting effects on the developing fetal child and adolescent brain.”
The doctor goes on to say, “I, as a “normal brain” (or typical brain) individual, would not want this risk to my mental health (or my children’s) in my neighbourhood. The placement of these devices must be thoughtful and, of course, “first, do no harm”.”
Correia and Carmen Krogh, a retired pharmacist who has dedicated the last three years to researching the health effects of industrial wind turbines, met with NRWC in February in an attempt to relocate the five turbines near the Correia’s home.
“I’m not going to hold my breath,” said Correia of the February meeting.
“Our protection was taken away. I have to go, as a mother, and fight directly with the Green Energy Act, the developers and the politicians,” she said, noting she was not hopeful the NRWC would reconsider the location of the turbine just 550 metres from her home.
She said she fears Joey won’t be able to live with one so close to home.
“If they do nothing, and my son is effected, I will have no choice but to sue the developer and anyone else who didn’t listen,” she said.
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