Ottawa

Wind turbine health worries in North Gower

Hundreds of people packed a meeting organized by opponents of a proposed wind farm in Ottawa's southern outskirts.
Hundreds of local residents packed the community centre to hear about health issues experienced by people like Stephana Johnson, centre front, who has lived near a wind turbine for over a year. ((Steve Fischer/CBC))
Hundreds of people packed a meeting organized by opponents of a proposed wind farm in Ottawa's southern outskirts Tuesday night.

The North Gower Wind Action Group invited several vocal opponents of wind turbines to speak at a local community centre about reports of negative health effects caused by the noise and vibration from wind turbines.

Stephana Johnston has lived beside a wind farm near Lake Erie for a year and a half. She told North Gower residents that from inside her home, the neighbouring wind turbines sound like a Boeing 747 jumbo jet flying overhead.

"It never goes away," she said. "I can't sleep with that going on."

Carmen Crogh, a retired pharmacist, said other people who live near wind turbines suffer from headaches or experience difficulty concentrating and making decisions.

The speakers warned that such problems could affect North Gower residents once Prowind Canada Inc., a Kemptville, Ont.-based company, installs 10 turbines on a farm property in their community.  There is already a test tower on the site.

Prowind wanted to speak at meeting

Bart Geleynse, who is in charge of land acquisition for Prowind Canada, said opponents of wind turbines can't back up their health claims with scientific studies.

Prowind Canada said it has received environmental approval for wind turbines in North Gower and expects to have them running by 2013.
"It's very anecdotal," he said. "It's largely based on emotion. And in our opinion and the opinion of the medical community, it's largely based on a psychosomatic reaction to something that's different that's new in the local community."

Geleynse said he asked to speak at Tuesday's meeting, but was turned down.

The North Gower Wind Action Group argues that Ontario should halt turbine development until studies have been done on the long-term health effects of the turbines.

It invited people at Tuesday's meeting to sign petitions to stop the turbines.

Geleynse said Prowind has already received environmental approval for the turbines and expects to have them running by 2013. It has plans for similar wind farms at several nearby locations.

 

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