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Health Canada study results show North Gower wind farm would have made more than 100 people sick

Many people were disappointed in the results contained in the summary of the Health Canada Wind Turbine Noise and Health study, which was released in a hurry on November 6th.

While the mainstream media picked up on the message as being “there is no association between wind turbine noise and health effects” what Health Canada actually said in its news release was this:

No evidence was found to support a link between exposure to wind turbine noise and any of the self-reported or measured health endpoints examined. However, the study did demonstrate a relationship between increasing levels of wind turbine noise and annoyance towards several features (including noise, vibration, shadow flicker, and the aircraft warning lights on top of the turbines) associated with wind turbines.

In fact, the study found that an average of 16.5% of people within 2 km of wind turbines, or a wind turbine (whether multiples were considered is not clear), had severe distress or “annoyance”. The closer people lived, the worse that result was: 25% of people at 550 meters or less (some people waived the setback as part of their contract with the wind power developers) had adverse health effects related to the distress or annoyance, annoyance being a medical term.

The adverse health effects from the annoyance listed by Health Canada were:migraine, tinnitus (chronic ringing in the ears), dizziness, sleep disturbance or disorder, and cardiovascular effects such as elevated blood pressure.

So, what would that mean for North Gower, if the wind power generation project proposed by Prowind in 2008 gone ahead (remember, it got as close as one could to a Feed In Tariff contract, before the government paused the subsidy program in the spring of 2013–it is NOT true that it would never have been approved, it was virtually there).

Thanks to volunteers who have mapped the area, using a schematic of the turbine locations which was leaked to us, we know this:

Number of homes within 800 meters of a turbine: 43

Number of homes within 1.6 km of a turbine: 234

TOTAL number of homes that would be most affected: 277

At an average of 2.5 people/home, that would be 692 people, and at an average of 16.5% affected by distress/annoyance, that would be 114 people.

This is considered to be a conservative figure as Health Canada did not do any follow up on the significant number of houses it discovered vacant or demolished in the study. These were “mature” turbine projects and as we know from the experience of people living in areas like Chatham-Kent, Clear Creek, Ripley and Kincardine, the people most affected leave within six months to a year.

114 people.

At least some of them children.

And yet the Ontario government continues to approve these power projects, despite evidence of harm to health, and the fact that Ontario does not need the power. And the wind power lobby group, the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) persists in the mythology that wind power is clean and good for the environment.

Health Canada is taking no action, despite these results, and has no intention of studying wind turbine noise further*. The people of North Gower have a right to expect more from the federal government, and from Health Canada, which is supposed to used sound science principles to protect citizens.

Our Member of Parliament is Pierre Poilievre at pierre.poilievre@parl.gc.ca if you have any comments on what the Health Canada study means to you and our community.

Ottawa Wind Concerns

PO Box 3, North Gower ON  K0A 2T0


*As per a personal meeting with the study team representatives, Ottawa, November 7.