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Many area residents wrote to Farmers Forum after last month’s edition in which North Gower resident and wind power proponent Ed Schouten made remarks about wind “farms.”

Four were published; we reproduce them here.

Will sue for property loss

I intend to get my house appraised now and re-appraised if wind turbines are erected. I will have no qualms about suing both the property owner and Prowind for loss of property value at the very least. I hope others will be prepared to do the same.*

Julian Hughson, North Gower

*Blog editor note, Oh, they are, they are. Ottawa Wind Concerns has legal counsel on retainer and we have already notified Prowind of the intent to take any and all legal actions available.

Need more wind power studies

It sounds to me like a match made in heaven. Companies offer always cash-starved farms substantial funds to be allowed to build windmills on their farms. They sell the power to Ontario Hydro for enormous amounts of taxpayer money. The farmer is happy with his steady income, the windmill company is happy with its profits. But there are a lot of questions that still need answers about the effects of these monsters. In Europe and the United States, most of them are offshore or in isolated areas. Let’s get some reports from other countries of wind farms located near homes, schools and farms.

J.A. Fournier, North Gower

Blog editor: first of all, the wind power developer had a contract with the Ontario Power Authority or OPA to sell power under the Feed In Tariff subsidy program (which is now halted–a new program begins this year). Second, the farm owners, many unwittingly, gave away many rights to their land as part of the contracts including first right of refusal. An Ontario mayor noted at the August AMO conference that in effect, farmers sold their land for the lease amount. The contracts also contain “gag” clauses so that if the farm owners experience health problems or are disturbed by the noise and vibration, they are not allowed to speak of it. Last, there are problems the world over with wind turbine noise. Denmark alone has 170 community groups, and citizens are opposed in the UK, Germany, France, and the US. The global wind lobby has gone to great lengths to discredit these groups, and currently has a campaign which is based on the idea that the activities of community groups themselves are causing symptoms among turbine neighbours.

My retirement affected by wind turbines

As a resident of the proposed wind farm in North Gower, I will be adversely affected as we will be one of the homes closest to the turbines (the minimum distance is 550 meters). I will no longer be able to enjoy my back deck as the turbines will be far closer to my home than the home of the farm planning on erecting the turbines. Along with the health issues associated with turbines, so will our planned retirement of selling our property be adversely affected. The farmer from this area who said keeping the wind farm small will have no negative effects is, oh, so wrong.

Turbines in Europe a dismal failure

I would never have purchased this home if we had known there would be a turbine so close. Never, never, never. Being of European background, I have kept up-to-date on the fall of turbine desire there. They are a dismal failure. Germany, a country on the front line of energy efficiency, has decided not to erect (more) turbines but is instead returning to coal-fired generation.

What more need I say?

Gerry Courtney, North Gower

North Gower wind project is too big

Farmer Ed Schouten’s comment that the Brinston wind power project (it’s not a “farm”) could be a test case for others is interesting: with 6,700 megawatts of wind power already contracted for in Ontario, I think we have quite enough “test cases.”

What we do have is people sick from the environmental noise near wind power projects at Kincardine, Amaranth and Ridgetown, to name a few. It’s really quite simple: if the noise is so loud people can’t sleep, they become ill.

1,200 of his neighbours signed a petition against the project, that was accepted by Ottawa

I disagree with Mr Schouten’s claim that keeping a wind power project small avoids problems. The one proposed by theĀ  Germany-based developer for his farm was a 20-megawatt power plant with eight turbines close to 1,000 families. That’s not “small” in my books. It’s also the reason why over 1,200 of his neighbours signed a petition against the project, which was accepted by Ottawa City Council.

With lawsuits over property values on the rise, and concerns about the health of livestock exposed to the turbine noise and vibration, Mr. Schouten must have a few concerns he hopes the Brinston project will allay.

The question that remains, however, is why is Ontario doing this? Why are we paying millions for wind power projects that have such a high impact on Ontario communities, for power we don’t need?

Ontario never did a cost-benefit analysis on wind power, the Auditor General complained in 2011. That was the real “test case” we needed.

Jane Wilson, North Gower

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