Monthly Archives: April 2011
By Stephanie Cattrysse, Watford Guide-Advocate
April 21st, 2011
Laura Wilde who lives on West Ipperwash Road in Kettle Point has been a resident of the area nearly her whole life. She loves the area is close to her siblings and children, all of whom live within a short distance from her house.
Another area resident “Gerry”, (his name was changed), bought a 72 acre farm just off of Proof Line in Lambton Shores with his wife and son in 2000; a place he and his wife hoped would be their retirement home years down the road.
Unfortunately these perfect strangers who live within the vicinity of the six wind turbines in Ravenswood and four Turbines in Lambton Shores, have one thing in common. They are deeply concerned about health effects caused by wind turbines. Wilde said her skepticism about turbines started before they were even built in her area.
“When the wind developers had that meeting years ago, my brother, my son and myself asked if the turbines had any effects on people or our children,” Wilde said. “They said nothing would happen and everything would be good.”
But it’s not.
Shadow flicker from the turbines in the morning reflects through their windows and into their homes. Wilde said it’s so bad she can’t be in the room when the flickering is happening. Her son who has two-year-old twins, is also concerned about whether or not this will have a negative impact on the twins.
And that is not all. Wilde said some nights she is unable to sleep because of the noise coming from the turbines.
While some nights are worse then others, she has a tall dresser leaning against the south-facing window in her bedroom to help muffle the noise. On worse nights she will throw a few pillows in between. The noise from the turbines is bothersome for Gerry as well. With one turbine less than one-kilometer away from his home and others just over that distance nearby, he said he hasn’t had a good nights sleep since the turbines started turning.
“I used to sleep like a baby, but not anymore,” he said. “At first I didn’t know if it was the turbines, but when I go to Sarnia the humming in my ears goes away.”
Gerry said the humming in his ears keeps him awake most of the night and is so exhausted at times cannot function throughout the day.
Fed up with feeling this way, he has decided to put his house on the market and hopes he can sell his home and forget all this has happened.
But Gerry is concerned about the next person to move into his home. He has written to the Minister of Environment and to the turbine companies. “All my complaints have been filed.”
Gerry believes that as more turbines are constructed and running, more complaints and health issues will arise. He is hoping his interview will open up the eyes of government as well as residents of municipalities of municipalities who are destined for wind turbines in the next couple of years such as other areas in Lambton Shores, Adelaide and Metcalfe Township
and the Township of Brooke Alvinston to name a few.
“I want proper setbacks from homes, if people will be affected. It’s too late for us, but I want to help any person who may be affected by it.”
Did you know that when a wind developer holds its final mandatory Public Meeting, they do NOT have to have a hard copy of the final draft available for the public to view?
They can have a meeting with no information available. Apparently that makes sense to the MOE- us rural folk don’t need all them big documents to look over – we’re supposed to just believe the windy baloney from the sales reps and not ask questions or read.
That’s what happened in Alvinston for the GreenBreeze project (lots of lame posters and no hard copy documents), and the MOE said that no, they don’t need to have the document available for the public to view. In most of rural Ontario, there are quite a few people who cannot access highspeed internet from their home, so when a windy in front of a poster says ‘look it up online’, that isn’t easy done. (Try downloading a 44 MB pdf document on dial-up!)
I’m REALLY stumped as to why they have a meeting at all. We have a special unit police force patrolling these meetings to make sure nobody gets in a tiff, and I don’t even know why we are there in the first place. It’s like we are being set up.
Strathroy Age Dispatch April 25th 2011
TORONTO- Ontariowas paying other jurisdictions to take its electricity on Earth Day.
“That’s the way we celebrate Earth Day in Ontario,” energy consultant Tom Adams of tomadamsenergy.com said Monday.
Ontarioexported power to neighbouring utilities at a negative price for the final two hours of Earth Day – minus 0.09 cents per kWh for one hour and minus 0.023 cents per kWh for the second.
Alexandra Campbell, a spokesperson for the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), said demand on Easter weekend was at its traditional low, so the province exported 3,230 megawatts of electricity late in the evening Friday.
The negative export price is not available to regular Ontario consumers.
Residential ratepayers in the province pay the market rate for electricity plus a special provincial global adjustment to cover extra costs, such as the guaranteed pricesOntariohas agreed to pay some producers of clean energy like solar and wind. Read the rest of this entry
In the silly world of Twitter, where you can only write 140 characters at a time, I had a ‘conversation’ with Maria VanBommel for the last week. Fortunately, I copied it before she deleted it today! I guess I’m black listed , or censored, or ignored…pick one.
At first, I guess she thought she would stick to the spin, with fancy links to pro-wind articles. Then I think she got a little ticked, and started writing personal replies, not really answers to my key questions (like why they won’t do a health study), but more desperate(?) replies.
Take a look at her last post, after all these pro-wind links she has forwarded on. At the protest VanBommel had said she has to take into account both sides of the issue. So when I asked why she doesn’t post any links about the other side, she wrote, “I will if you will”. Has she seriously forgotten that she is an MPP working for US, representing OUR concerns in legislature??? My reply: “Unfortunately for you, I’m not your employee/MPP.”
Here’s the tedious read (do a skim…you’ll get the gist pretty soon)
- MVanBommel Apr 4: ENVMIN John Wilkinson: NO scientific evidence that wind turbines harm people’s health. Superior Court upheld setback provisions. QP today.
- EstherWrightman: You are wrong, Maria. Why do you deny us a full epidemiological study on wind turbines? WHY?
- MVanBommel Apr 5: Wind energy = more investment, create jobs, revenue for municipalities, stabilize electricity prices, cut greenhouse gas emissions.
- EstherWrightman: you seem to miss that Wind Energy = More Victims
- MVanBommel Apr 5: Clean Energy Makes Ontario Business a Leader http://t.co/uH3PDpR
- MVanBommel Apr 6: “There is currently no published scientific evidence to positively link wind turbines with adverse health effects”:Australia
- EstherWrightman : There is currently nobody in the Ont. Lib. party willing to conduct a full epidemiological study on the health effects of IWT’s
- MVanBommel Apr 6: More than 100,000 respiratory ailments 200 premature deaths/yr air pollution from coal. Wind energy, says the WHO, will benefit health.
- EstherWrightman: PROVE IT. Reference? Or is this more spin-lies? You were introduced to people suffering on Saturday from neg. health effects.
- EstherWrightman: Maria Van Bommel now seems to believe we don’t need a health study on IWT’s. Does she support the gov’t funded one inWaterloo? Or not?
- EstherWrightman: WHO guidelines require less than 35 dB for learning (Ref WHO, Noise and Health 1999.) -Adelaide school? Concentration at home?
- MVanBommel Apr 6: Interesting article: http://www.windsorstar.com/opinion/Anne+Jarvis+wind+power+bargain/4565990/story.html
- MVanBommel Apr 7: Wind power clean, renewable, no greenhouse gas emissions/waste products. 1 modern wind turbine saves 4k tonnes of CO2 emissions/yr.
- EstherWrightman: Wind turbines need massive amount of cement, made from-oil and gas, transported by oil & gas, plasticized out of oil and gas.
- EstherWrightman: wind turbines only last 15 years, if you are lucky.
- EstherWrightman: Clean? Magnets in the nacelles of IWT’s have some of the most toxic rare earth elements. Blades aren’t recyclable either. Read the rest of this entry
First is Sarnia-Lambton MPP presenting and signing a local petition to parliament. This is what Maria is SUPPOSED to do, if she thought it a worthy cause. But since she is pro-turbine, she would not sign it and not present it, she would file it.
Second (this happened later on) is MPP John O’Toole supporting our petition on behalf of his area, and he signed it too!
And third, well , then there is Maria Van Bommel gushing over Arlene King and her ‘literature review’, that the Liberals like to think of as being as good as a health study. she never contacted a single person affected by turbines in Ontario.
Official Records for 6 April 2011
Mr. Robert Bailey: This petition is to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, signed by people from Strathroy, Watford, Kerwood and Mount Brydges.
“We, the undersigned, object to any approval of industrial wind turbines in our local municipalities until there is a full independent assessment performed by the provincial government to address the viability of industrial wind power, the impact of construction on wildlife and the environment, as well as the adverse effects on livestock, people’s health, quality of life and investment in our properties.
It is important for provincial and local governments to ensure that all concerns are addressed before construction of wind turbines permanently changes our community.
“Further, we require that the proponents notify all residents and landowners in the proposed project, and that the proponents will submit to full disclosure information about the proposed project.”
I agree with this petition, will affix my name to the same and send it with Madelaine.
Mr. John O’Toole: I am pleased to read a petition which also represents very much my riding of Durham. It reads as follows:
“Petition Against Industrial Wind Turbines in Rural Ontario”—I know Maria Van Bommel is affected by this too.
“We, the undersigned, object to any approval of industrial wind turbines in our local municipalities until there is a full independent assessment performed by the provincial government to address the viability of industrial wind power, the impact of construction on wildlife and the environment, as well as the adverse effects on livestock, people’s health, quality of life and investment in their properties.
“It is important for provincial and local governments to ensure that all concerns are addressed before construction of wind turbines permanently changes our community.”
Therefore, “we require that the proponents notify all residents and landowners in the proposed project and that the proponents will submit full disclosure of info about the proposed project.”
I’m pleased to sign it and support it on behalf of Bob Bailey and others.
Mrs. Maria Van Bommel: I am also very pleased to be able to speak to the comments that were made by the member for Nickel Belt. I want to first of all say thank you very much to Dr. Arlene King for being here. It gives me an opportunity to personally say thank you for the work that you have done on the health impacts of wind turbines. It has been very important for me to follow all of this along.
Official Records for 4 April 2011
Mr. Robert Bailey: My question is to the Minister of the Environment.
As recently as Saturday morning, Lambton–Kent–Middlesex residents and their neighbours rallied to send a message to you and your government that they will no longer be ignored. Countless communities across our province have told you they’re fed up with watching helplessly as your government pushes to install industrial wind farms all over, whenever and wherever it wants, with no regard for local expertise or the concern of residents.
Minister, last week you told my colleague from Wellington–Halton Hills that you “are all about ensuring that the public and municipalities have their say.” Well, Minister, are these people wrong and you’re right, or will you finally admit that you’ve stripped municipalities of decision-making powers?
In the province of Ontario, we are revolutionizing our sources of power because our children are counting on us. I say to the member opposite that the number one reason that children in your riding go to the emergency rooms is because of poor air quality.
Hon. John Wilkinson: The truth shall set them free over there. I say to them, talk to the Ontario Medical Association, talk to the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario, talk to the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment. What they tell us is that we need to clean up our sources of power because we are paying for it with needless pain and suffering in our health care system, and paying those bills as well. That’s why we are committed—
To the minister: 81-year-old Stephana Johnston, slowed by her walker but energized by her passion, joined this protest which marched in Strathroy Saturday last. Her message to you and your government is this: “We are suffering and it is a horror story, and you are responsible because you agreed to the Green Energy Act.” Read the rest of this entry
I was just getting over the ‘post-protest’ symptoms, when I received the press release of Ms. VanBommel’s response to our protest in legislature today. I watched the podcast on the legislature’s website, just to confirm that it was as disappointing as it sounded in writing.
Her response is a taunt. Although I didn’t really expect her to actually help us (it’s never happened before), I didn’t think she would attack us for our concerns about our health. First, she claims that the majority of the people were not from her riding. She knows better then that. She knows our faces. The 14 or so who were not from her riding were from turbine areas such as Ridgetown (1), Harrow (1), & Clear Creek (1) – they live with these machines. Others were from areas that have turbines proposed, just like here: Grey County (3), Clinton (3), Haldimand (3) and Prince Edward County (2). Those were the only people from outside of her riding, out of 80+. And in my opinion, they have every right to be there, as her VOTES in legislature, against a moratorium on wind turbines until health studies are complete, affects them as much as us. She is trying to diminish the numbers but she KNOWS that over 250 people attended our citizen sponsored wind info meeting at our little school in Adelaide 2 years ago. And that was just Adelaide, and that was quite a while ago- who knows what it would bring today. She avoids collecting real data as to how her constituents REALLY feel about wind turbines. She is doing this to save face of her Premier, not to protect the health of my children, as Mr. Wilkinson suggests. My children’s health is not even on her radar, or she would be very concerned about their school having 14 turbines in 3 km radius of it.
I’m not sure her second question was meant to accomplish anything except to pat herself on the back. It even suggests that her constituents want to have MORE wind turbines shoved down their throats. Is 500 not enough? This was a valuable moment, where she could have asked for clarification, or reassurance, but instead, she asked that we be dismissed in the name of “Green Energy”. Makes me wonder if she has completely forgot what her job is as a MPP.
Below is Maria Van Bommel’s response in legislature to our protest at her office on Saturday. I’ll post my response to all her inaccuracies next:
Official Records for 4 April 2011
Mrs. Maria Van Bommel: My question is for the Minister of the Environment. Minister, climate change is something every government must deal with, and Ontario is no exception. The McGuinty government has already made great progress by shutting down dirty, coal-fired plants. I’m proud to say that in my riding of Lambton–Kent–Middlesex, wind, solar and bioenergy are playing a big role in cleaning up our air.
But there are still concerns about our government’s approach to renewable energies. On Saturday, a protest rally marched to my office in Strathroy to ensure that I heard those concerns. The majority of them came from other parts of Ontario, but I was pleased to meet with all of them.
They are very concerned about the scientific rigour behind our regulations for wind turbines. I made a commitment to those at the protest that I would bring their concerns to this assembly. Minister, has your ministry received any scientific evidence that wind turbines harm people’s health?
Hon. John Wilkinson: I want to thank my colleague for the question. Let’s be clear: The answer to that question is no. We undertook a rigorous and thorough study when we developed our regulations. That’s why we have legislated in the province of Ontario a 550-metre setback, which is the toughest in North America.
The Superior Court recently upheld all of our provisions, agreeing that we had reviewed and based them on peer-reviewed science and expert opinions. Dr. Hazel Lynn acknowledges in her recent report that windmills are “not that bothersome to most people” who hear or live near them. We even reviewed every report given to us by the Society for Wind Vigilance from their recent symposium. Not one report contained new peer-reviewed science about health effects that we had not already considered.
Some residents, however, are equally concerned about repeated musings by members of the party opposite about maintaining our use of coal. Ralph Ferguson, a former federal Minister of Agriculture, did a study in the Brooke-Alvinston area of my riding that clearly demonstrated the impact of dirty air on the high incidence of respiratory disorders and cancer rates in that community. Residents are willing to do their part to clean the air, but they want to know that the government is there as well.
My question to the minister is quite simple: With many Tories still supporting coal-fired generation, will the McGuinty government continue to increase renewable energy so that we can eliminate coal from our energy mix and improve the environment of my constituents?
Coal plants emit lead, mercury, dioxins, chromium, arsenic, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide. They are the number one reason that the children of Ontario are admitted to emergency rooms. We know that as a scientific fact. The Ontario Medical Association tells us that 150 of our fellow citizens die needlessly because of coal-fired generation, and that’s why we stand with the registered nurses of Ontario, with the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, with the Ontario coalition of family physicians, with the asthma society, with the lung society and with the lung association: because we know that the dirty love affair that the members opposite have with coal—those days are coming—
April 4th, 2011
The Leader of the Middlesex Wind Action Group is expressing her frustration with the provincial government, saying concerns over the health impacts of wind turbines are being ignored. Esther Wrightman organized a rally at Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Maria Van Bommel’s Strathroy office last weekend.
She says she was promised by the MPP that the concerns would be raised at Queen’s Park, but it turned out to be an opportunity for Van Bommel to advance the Liberal government’s green agenda instead.
Van Bommel disagrees.
Some 80 protestors said Saturday a moratorium on new wind farms is needed until health impact studies are completed.
By Randy Richmond The London Free Press
April 3, 2011
Grey-haired, 81-year-old Stephana Johnston is the kind of person to give the provincial Liberals fits when she waits outside Dalton McGuinty’s campaign bus this fall.
Leaning against her walker, she looks frail — except when she starts talking about wind power.
“We are suffering and it is a horror story and you are responsible because you agreed to the Green Energy Act,” Johnston tells Lambton-Kent-Middlesex Liberal MPP Maria Van Bommel.
With the next Ontario election only five months away, wind energy and the Green Energy Act is on track to become a huge issue of the campaign.
Johnston says she had to move from her home on the north shore of Lake Erie near Long Point after nearby wind turbines started interrupting her sleep.
“There are some nights when I wake up and just everything inside me is quivering. It has compromised my immune system. I am going everywhere I can go to prevent what has happened to us,” she vows.
Slowed by her walker but energized by her anger, Johnston still marched down the main street of Strathroy Saturday with about 80 others to protest wind turbines.
The peaceful protest march erupted into a raucous, hour-long confrontation with Van Bommel.
Van Bommel could barely finish a sentence without being shouted down by furious protesters who demanded she support a moratorium on turbines until research proves they are safe.
At times she had to stop and simply take the barrage of insults from protesters, some in tears and some claiming she betrayed their friendship.
“Imagine when (McGuinty’s) bus is met 28 days straight with crowds like that in Strathroy,” says John Laforet, president of Wind Concerns Ontario.
Urban dwellers and political analysts are underestimating the anger in rural and small town Ontario over wind turbines, he says. “This is the fight for the life and death of rural life. There is a huge anger out there and I think it is going to get worse.”
For wind energy opponents, the stakes are high. “This is our only shot,” Laforet says.
Wind Concerns — a coalition of 57 groups — will likely endorse either parties or individual candidates and encourage rural residents unhappy with McGuinty to work on getting him ousted.
Eighty municipalities representing two million people have called for a moratorium on wind farms, Laforet adds.
“There a lot of people looking for something to do. Direct political action is the most effective thing a resident of Ontario with concerns about wind can do.”
Hundreds of wind turbines have been installed or proposed in many areas of Southwestern Ontario, a 10-riding region dominated by McGuinty’s Liberals.
Opponents say turbines emit low-pitched sounds that disrupt the body’s rhythms and cause headaches, tinnitus, dizziness, nausea, rapid heart rate irritability and concentration problems.
Proponents say there is no proof of ill effects and turbines are better for the environment and personal health than the coal-fired generating plants they are supposed to replace.
“It’s a very emotional issue and I think we have to recognize that,” Van Bommel said Saturday after the protest. “There are many things that are going to be election issues in rural Ontario. I‘m sure the Green Energy Act will be uppermost in many people’s minds.”
Well over 100 people in opposition of area turbine development gathered for a protest march from Kenwick Mall Saturday morning down Front Street to the office of Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Maria Van Bommel. The distance of the protest itself mirrored the length Ontario Law allows for a Wind Turbine to be built from a residence being 550 metres. It did not take long for the MPP to step outside to address what quickly became a very vocal crowd that was assembled to make sure their message was heard. That message was simple, to stop the development of the turbines until the proper testing could be done to make sure there are no health issues. Many questions were asked of the MPP but none of the answers were what the assembly was looking for. After numerous requests to publicly address these concerns in Ottawa, the gathering dispersed with Van Bommel stating that she would bring the group’s concerns to the caucus
By RANDY RICHMOND, The London Free Press
Last Updated: April 2, 2011 5:11pm
STRATHROY — A peaceful march down a typical smalltown main street erupted into an angry confrontation Saturday that spells continuing trouble over Ontario’s green energy plan.
About 80 protesters, many shouting, some in tears, repeatedly drowned out beleagured Liberal MPP Maria Van Bommel as she tried to defend her government’s wind turbine policy.
No matter what the Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP tried to say, protesters cut her short, demanding she work to stop construction of wind turbines until independent research proves they’re safe.
“I am really pleased to see all of you. I think certainly the sun and weather is helping out a great deal,” Van Bommel said when she saw the crowd.
“The truth brings us out,” another shouted.
Even when Van Bommel engaged protesters one on one, she got an earful.
Stephana Johnston, 81, told Van Bommel she lives on the north shore of Lake Erie and has been forced out of her home because turbulence from dozens of nearby turbines are affecting her sleep and health.
“We are suffering and it is a horror and you are responsible because you agreed to the Green Energy Act,” Johnston said.
The protest started much as most do, with some speeches, then a march down Front Street,
Chanting “McGuinty must go!” and “We’re not your guinea pigs,” protesters marched 550 metres from a plaza to Van Bommel’s office, the closest a wind turbine can be built to a home.
Opponents say turbines emit low-pitched sounds that disrupt the body’s rhythms and cause headaches, tinnitus, dizziness, nausea, rapid heart rate irritability and problems with concentration and memory.
“She will have a lot of people affected. There are people already affected from her area.”
After the hour-long, heated debate outside her office, Van Bommel said she undertands the anger.
“It’s a very emotional issue and I think we have to recognize that. But when we look at it terms of the science we see .. there really is a need to do this.”
Van Bommel said she’d keep a promise made to protesters to take their concerns to her Liberal caucus.
With the next Ontario election only five months away, wind energy — opposition by many to the growth of wind farms, vs. proponents who believe it’s a good way to help replace dirty coal-fired power — is on track to become a huge issue.
Wind farms have been proposed in many areas of Southwestern Ontario, a 10-riding region dominated by McGuinty’s Liberals in the last election four years ago.
Protesters will march 550 metres against wind turbines this morning (Sat) which just happens to be the minimum distance a wind turbine can be from an Ontario home.
The protest kicks off at Strathroy’s Kenwick Mall and ends at Lambton Kent Middlesex MPP Maria VanBommel’s office.
Wind Action Group Leader Esther Wrightman says they want the provincial government to further study wind turbines before erecting more.
Today’s event begins at 11:00am from Kenwick Mall in Downtown Strathroy, with the march set for 11:30.