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No property assessment reduction for Wolfe Island couple 68

By Paul Schliesmann, Kingston Whig-Standard

Thursday, January 2, 2014 6:22:36 EST PM

Wind turbines on Wolfe Island can be seen across the road from the home of Ed and Gail Kenney.<br />
Ian MacAlpine The Whig-Standard

Wind turbines on Wolfe Island can be seen across the road from the home of Ed and Gail Kenney. Ian MacAlpine The Whig-Standard

KINGSTON – A Wolfe Island couple learned late in 2013 that a re-evaluation of their cottage property, based in part on their proximity to wind turbines, would not result in an assessment reduction.

It was a last ray of hope for Ed and Gail Kenney, who had also unsuccessfully challenged the property value of their home before a Municipal Property Assessment Corporation tribunal, claiming it had been devalued since the construction of the 86-turbine project on the island.

The couple have not been alone in their efforts.

In the west end of the province, Goderich landowner Dave Hemingway got a similar letter from MPAC concerning a reassessment of 80 acres of his family farmland.

Hemingway, who is also chairman of the anti-turbine group SWEAR (Safe Wind Energy for All Residents), was skeptical of the review all along.

A University of Waterloo study released last October, he said, found that health and sleep problems were more prevalent in people the closer they live to turbines.

MPAC, on the other hand, uses “regression modelling” in its assessments.

It looks at the sale prices of similar homes within a certain distance of the property being assessed — then widens that search to assemble a large enough sampling.

“When you go further away from the turbines, the issues aren’t as great,” said Hemingway.

“They don’t take into account properties that don’t sell. Properties close to turbines don’t sell.”

MPAC informed the Hemingways and Kenneys that the assessments of their second properties would be based on a new study of industrial wind turbines it conducted.

However, the guidelines have never been made public, though MPAC officials say a report summarizing the results of the study will be released this year.

Read the full story here.