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Landmark wind turbine appeal underway in Ontario

LONDON, Ont. – Wind turbines are like “nightmare neighbours” who are “constantly noisy, constantly in your face,” says a lawyer looking to change the rules that govern turbine approvals.

Julian Falconer told a divisional court of appeal Monday that the nuisances might not be enough to burst eardrums, “but that neighbour slowly drives you crazy.”

It’s the first constitutional appeal that’s made it to divisional court on the province’s Green Energy Act process to approve the controversial turbines.

A lawyer for the Coalition Against Industrial Turbines of Ontario says the case has impact all across the province, and well beyond the three projects (in Goderich, Seaforth and Kincardine) where these disputed projects are planned.

A crowd of more than 70 people were in court to support the appeal.

Wind opponents say the prospect of health harm from turbines – the noise, annoyance and low-frequency vibration – are all enough to challenge the province’s requirement that there be proof actual harm has taken place.

“It’s constitutionally unsound, we say,” Falconer said.

“The balance has been lost,” he added, when people are driven from their homes and “have no recourse to protect themselves” because of provisions of the Green Energy Act.

One appellant, Shawn Drennan, is opposing a 140-turbine project, 12 turbines of which will be within two kilometres of his home.