Misery in South Marysburgh and Athol c. 2014
[Misery is a strong word. Read through this article and decide for yourself if it’s appropriate.]
If WPD’s White Pines project goes ahead, what is the future for many families in South Marysburgh and eastern Athol Wards of Prince Edward County, starting in 2014? No crystal ball is needed. The future is revealed in the testimonies of more than 100 Ontario families now suffering adverse effects from industrial wind turbines and associated infrastructure.
The following excerpts from 22 testimonies describe serious medical symptoms experienced by some Ontario residents living in the vicinity of industrial wind turbines. Almost all of the reports are from southwestern Ontario, but the first is from nearby Wolfe Island.
These families are not comfortable .. not healthy .. not safe in their own homes. And many are trapped there for financial reasons, due to an inabilty to sell out at a reasonable price — in some cases, at any price.
The primary medical risk zone (called the Turbine Risk Zone), is a 2-km circle around each industrial wind turbine (see the statement by the Society for Wind Vigilance at http://wp.me/p1M8CZ-hE ). The combined footprint of all Turbine Risk Zones from WPD turbines in South Marysburgh and eastern Athol Ward is shown on the map at http://tinyurl.com/843ure4. Within this area, it is conservatively estimated that 20% to 40% of people will experience medical symptoms, ranging from mild to severe to home abandonment.
This post is very long, but even a quick read will give you an idea of what’s in store for many South County families starting in 2014, if the WPD project is built. We need to make sure that this doesn’t happen.
Testimonies from 22 families
(Testimony T01) Eastern Ontario, Concerned Parents
Where do I start… my family and I feel as though we’ve been lied to by the wind company that has built in our community [community name] We were told that these things were whisper quiet THEY’RE NOT !!! – I have a ** year old child that has never had a headache in their life, now (after the towers came online) has a headache every week or two. My spouse has migraines, or very severe headaches several times a week, I am now taking sleeping pills to get to sleep. We would sell and move in a second, but there is no way anyone would want to purchase our property, we have about 5-7, 2.3 meg towers within a mile of our home.
But here is another problem, and I suspect there are several people in our position. We feel that if we complain there would be repercussions for our family, we have children in school. I believe that if we register a complaint with the company, the township, or the MPP that everyone in the community would know about it the next day after all meeting at the local restaurant for coffee the next morning. I wish that we could find more like minded people in our community, but we’re reluctant to ask around. Where does someone start, to try and make this right.
(T02) Lake Erie, Symptoms Dismissed
Hello. I live .5 kilometer away from a windfarm and it’s causing me to have ear ringing, headaches, sleepless nights, nausea etc. I contacted the company and had a meeting with them that was totally useless to help me. They told me my illness was not caused by the windfarm even though there was nothing wrong with me before. I’ve been to the doctor several times. There’s not much he can do either. What can you do after you have contacted all the people you have on the list of people to contact? What next?
(T03) Melancthon (Shelburne area), Person echoes what many experience
I just had someone stop in at the house because of the good old “Stop the Wind Farm” sign on my mailbox. Unfortunately he does not have an E-mail and does not use the internet. He his having problems sleeping and occasionally gets a headache that he feels is because of the turbines. It has been going on for months now and it is to the point he does not even want to return home. He did not really know who to complain to and was feeling hopeless.
He was not aware of the WCO or Wind Vigilance groups so I let him know he is not alone and I promised to have someone from Wind Vigilance contact him. It was amazing to hear a story, from someone who has never read any other accounts from other victims, which echoed everything we’ve already heard before.
(T04) Melancthon (Shelburne area), no help from Government or wind developer
My parents have worked their whole lives and invested in their homes and farms in Melancthon, now they are surrounded by wind turbines, they can’t sleep at night. I am watching their health diminish. Not to mention they can’t sell anything as no one wants to live near these turbines. They are living right in the middle and are surrounded by the turbines.
TransAlta has admitted to exceeding the MOE guidelines and they have shut down the turbines at night so they claim yet sound are still unbearable. My parents have no one on their side it seems and no one seems to want to help including MOE or and all efforts of MP’s and MPP have gotten nowhere. Any help or guidance would be much appreciated.
(T05) Lake Erie, Can’t Stand it at Home Anymore
We have that loud humming/vibration again tonight. Sounds almost like a motor right outside of our wall. Following Paul’s advice, I just went downstairs and pulled the main breaker so everything in the house went off… the hum is still in our house. (Raised) basement and upstairs. Rather unnerving……….
The tent was half over last night because it was terribly windy the last couple of days. We were too lazy and it was too late so we decided to stay inside last night. At 4 am the light hum turned into a full on loud intermittent electrical hum/vibration with the high pitched squeal in it. The whole bed was physically vibrating. As I sit hear my right ear hurts and my head is getting full. I think we’re being microwaved I swear to God.
(T06) Amaranth Families Need to Vacate
The [family] have been living in the middle of a wind turbine complex in Amaranth since late November/08. Even with the wind company’s alleged effort to try to fix a problem they can’t fix, they have had VERY few nights of full peaceful sleep since then and their health and well being is worn down to nothing. They need to get out NOW. They are so strong but they recognize that they are both at the breaking point. … Is anyone able to help with the offer of a rental property, a guest house, a anything? They are in desperate need right now
(T07) Amaranth (Shelburne area), Kidds/Whitworths
A substation was built by Canadian Hydro Developers in 2006 as part of the Melancthon EcoPower Centre featuring133 industrial wind turbines and purchased by TransAlta in 2009. The Kidds’ home is 390 metres from the station and the Whitworths’ is 490 metres. Before the substation began, the Whitworths and Kidds felt fine. But once it began, headaches and sleep deprivation soon followed. The families recently posted a video on YouTube in which a florescent light bulb is seen glowing without being plugged in, while the camera is on night vision mode. www.youtube.com/watch?v=faEo2-o8FGM
Continuing with testimionies from WindVOiCe (see www.windvigilance.com )
Everything in my life has changes since the town_x Wind Turbine Project company_x has been in operation. I feel my health has been compromised. I have felt generally unwell physically and mentally since March 24/08. Also Sensitivity to white noise and sounds has increased. My ears are either humming or feeling pressure on them / heart palpitations continue usually while sleeping. My anxiety and stress levels continue to be high.
We have discouraged our two daughters and son-in law from visiting. They have also experienced health issues when visiting. The damage that has been done to my body – scares me what will happen in the future. At 60 – I wanted to enjoy my retirement with reasonable good health and now everything has blown up in our faces. Loss of enjoyment of working outside with flower beds and yard. Our property value has been greatly decreased. We are still having problems with electrical polution. Constant reminder in every direction of our property – turbines. A very uncertain future!!
Noise levels very high. Whooshing noise is very irritating. Cannot sleep anymore. Have horrible vibration in the house and dog very upset. Spend nights on couch with TV and try to block out humming. Extremely tired and not functioning at cognitive and physical levels that I normally would. It is very distressing and invasive. My house is worth nothing now. I could never sell it. Angry, sad, disillusioned, exhausted.
Dogs & cats. 1 dog extremely antsy and whining & barking when vibration/noise levels are high. 2nd dog is just starting to show symptoms similar.
I experienced severe health effects from exposure to a single wind turbine while on vacation and never, ever want to experience these health effects ever again. The vibration and breast sensations were very frightening and debilitating.
I experienced this attack when exposed to a small wind turbine group of 2 turbines. The wind was moderate and my symptoms were very uncomfortable. I left the area very quickly and felt better within an hour or two. I will avoid these turbines when ever possible because the health effects are very uncomfortable and distressing. Turbines make me feel very sick when I get near them. I am OK when I leave the area where they are installed.
A jumpy feeling as if you have had 5 cups of coffee, humming in the head behind the ears, very painful left hip, spiking pain, loose stools, cold body temp, blurred vision when winds are high, some dizziness, increasing blood pressure, nerve pain from the left ear to jaw, 2 large coldsore masses one time, shortness of breath, tight chest and knot in left chest.
I used to be able to get a solid 6-8 hours, full of dreams and nap or snooze without any effort. I have been severely sleep deprived from Nov. 2007 to May 2008, attempted rest at billets in town paid for by wind_co_x.
When [W.C.] turned off the field your whole body felt calm and like you have had a massage, humming or ringing subsided and could deep sleep.
Again in the last week of Aug. 2008 to Feb. 2009 sleep deprived, waking up to 3 times or if the winds are high it seems like every hour and hard to drop off to sleep. Humming in the head occurring behind the ear and started wearing cotton batton, then over time orange ear plugs and head phones.(This did not stop the humming then latter ringing then buzzing and ringing*.
The ability to hear my students even while working at the board has changed to walking across the room or asking for them to repeat louder the answers or questions. I can not listen to loud T.V. or music or sounds. At the worst I struggled to go into the Sobey Store, the lights made ears ring and similar environments (i.e. C.T. store). Now I am more sensitive to vibrations and high frequency electrical pollution which means some high tech equipment is more annoying than prior to Nov. 2007. All symptoms subside with less exposure and sleep**.
I would attempt sleep in the spare room or in the basement. **As a family we shut off and unplugged as many appliances as possible prior to trying to sleep and when home. Difficult to form thoughts to come out of my mouth. I studdered on my words. When tired, I would wear a lot of extra clothes to try and warm up, too.
Have spent a massive number of hours, totally days of family time, working to get the problems resolved.
My love, [husband] ie worries and I worry about him and [daughter]. I truly miss being happy in my home. My home was my calm space where I could unwind after a day at highschool. No other space can replace the home where you have helped raise your family and had so many positive plans for the future.
Financial. did not have to worry about property value. Now our home is worthless unless someone can fix this mess. I could not in any moral consciousness sell knowing how we are affected.
Personal – have found the changes in sleep patterns reduced energy levels, levels of patience and very frustrating and draining. Dec. on there were serious, angry arguements we normally do not have. I am very worried about my partner’s, [wife], reduced sleep/rest, humming/ringing in her ears and continued deterioration of health.
When [wife] had to live away from home it was hard. She is my partner and my love. We would always chat on family plans from food to finances. Our lives were upside down at all family levels when she was billeted by the windmill company wind_co_x from May 2008 to July 17th and AGAIN now. She is living at her Mom’s in town_y a 30 minute drive away (on Dr. orders). On a very personal level I am like a widower and sad and lonely.
Our financial outlook for our property has changed. At present we can not sell knowing the possible harm that someone may experience. This is a stressor we did not have prior to the turbines.
I can’t sleep with the bedroom window open in the summer for a cool breeze due to the roaring jet sound. (This was pleasant and cooling too.) I can’t have a quiet sit on the deck without the jet or swoosh sound. And our phone has static on it which is not there when turbine were not here. CKNX am channel is staticy or weaker in the project area.
The constant changing sound changing to a horrible noise startles me, my dog and sometimes even the birds. The constant distant buzz in my head because of the substation – it’s always there. The blinking red lights at night just depresses me and ticks me off. I might as well be at an airport landing strip. The same goes when I just look around. There aren’t the same birds or their numbers anymore. I never see the deer anymore and to see the skyline no matter which way I turn ruined by the number of these things does give me a headache. I can count over 70 windmills from my property.
The cats don’t go as far out back as they used to. When they’re really noisy especially right before they shut down startles the dog. If it’s at night, he’s reluctant to go towards the noise and wants to come back in. The flyway for the swans is all windmills now so I’ll see if they come again this spring as they’ve done for years. The owls aren’t around in the numbers they were.
We keep about 20 nanny goats, for the past 20 months they have had abortions, not a single kid was born alive, all aborted before term, others died within 3 hours of birth.
Constant noise, constant headaches. Sleep disturbance since the windtowers have started.
We have recently put a 500’ addition on our home with large windows all around. Not only we get flickering from the towers we cannot open any windows due to the constant noise of the blades.
My occupation is a bookkeeper. These constant headaches are affecting my concentration, especially working with numbers. I work from my home. I simply cannot afford to be in ill health.
I can no longer sit on my back porch enjoying the beautiful sunsets. This was so relaxing to me. Now all I see is flickering blades and blinding red lights. The sunsets have disappeared into money hungry pockets of our government.
I now am a prisoner in my own home of 23 years.This is not the future I wanted! That is why I bought this property 23 years ago. Now I am going to sell and start all over again. Extremely depressing!
My horses are nervous of the noise and do not focus on what they are doing. Instead they watch the windmills making this a danger when riding or training them. My dogs and cats want to stay in the house more now. This is very unusual for them.
The measurement of one’s quality of life is something difficult to qualify. That being said, I know what my life was like before the towers went up and I know what it is like now. Aside from the aforementioned health concerns there are many other factors that are of concern for myself.
I have spent many years living on this property and making improvement to it. These improvements were compatable with the rural area in which I am located. Now I cannot enjoy quiet evenings (turbine noise), beautiful sunsets (turbines flashing on horizons – 67 can be viewed from my place) and star filled nights (bright and flashing lights in every direction).
These things may not seem important to those who don’t live here, but they are important to me and you just can’t put prices on that. My various levels of gov’t has desserted me and ignore my concerns.
This is not the future I had planned when I invested my energy, time and money in this place. I choose to live here for what it was, not what it has become. The addition of this wind project has upset the balance of this area and will, without a doubt, drive me from this area. This will happen with great financial loss to my family and the thought of starting over else where is almost intolerable, too much of me has gone into this – my home. Add this to the health concerns and we are looking at a disaster in the waiting.
I have noticed that the horses are far more nervous and more easily spooked. My dogs at times will not leave the house and are acting very out of character at times.
Prior to the installation I was always a high energy, upbeat person who slept well. Late in the fall of 2008, my wife and I started experiencing heart palpitations when trying to sleep. We can both hear our pulse in our ears. We never connected this to turbines until now.
I am less energetic, lacking in ambition, more moody and less optimistic. My whole state of mind has changed. It has impacted my work & home life. I cannot see or hear the turbines from my home. The symptoms were worse in the fall and winter and better in the spring. If our symptoms increase next fall and winter we will know it is linked to the turbines and wind speed/direction.
[nearest turbine to property] There is at least one on each corner of my home (see map attached) Nearest is 481.8 meters
In December 2008 phase two was turned on, since then I have not slept thru the night. I have had to go to the Doctor and have sleeping pills prescribed so that I can get to sleep, but I am inevitably awakened each night. My quality of life is and has been affected, I no longer look forward to coming home. I get a better night sleep in the city (go figure) and will spend some nights there, but why should I be run out of my home?
Summer is now upon us, I have always looked forward to this time of year. My home was built with summer as the focus, the positioning on my property, location of windows, all designed to enjoy having my windows open all summer long, and use Mother Nature’s air conditioning. For this reason I do not have A/C in my home (many people out here don’t.. it is (was) not necessary). Now the wind that I look so forward to each summer has become my enemy.
I have become intimately aware of the negative effects involved with living in a wind farm. It’s pretty sad that I have to put my T.V on the nature channel and close my windows and doors to hear “Nature” when I live in the middle of the Country! The more I know, the worse the scenario is. I live in the middle of what sounds like an Airport only worse, at least if I lived next to the airport I would get a break every 30 seconds, and have ‘No Fly’ times so I could sleep.
Between the constant whooshing that echoes thru the skies 24/7, and the humming sound that is omitted from the mechanics of the turbine 24/7, I have gone from being a very easy going, relaxed person to struggling on a daily basis with anything from stress to depression to anxiety. I attempted seeing a massgae therapist and chiropracotor to help relieve the tension, but this proved to only be a temporary fix, and was quite costly, so I had to stop going. Not to mention the other Health related issues that are now becoming a daily struggle. I have headaches at least every other day; and a constant ringing in my ears, I have had 2 ear infections in the course of a 3 month period, and occasionally suffer mild hearing loss. I experience digestive problems, and an upset stomach after almost every meal which will last anywhere from a few hours to days.
I have gone from being a healthy person that had to visit the doctor once, maybe twice a year (one of these visits being a regular checkup) to having all these symptoms happen at once,and persist for months on end. It is all a little too coincidental, don’t you think? Even guests to my home experience similar symptoms when they stay for more than a day.
I lay awake at night and trying to figure out why this has happened. I have come here to realize what has been my dream for over 20 years, and it has turned into what would be a nighmare if I could sleep. Where do I go from here? I am not only financially bound to my home, but emotionally torn. As I consider my options (noneof them good) I cry.
The Ironic thing about it is I am not even done yet. Just to add a little insult to injury, I have to now finish my dream so that I can walk away from it for the sake of my health.
I cannot go onto my property any time of the night or day ever again and experience the peaceful serenity, and sounds of nature that made me fall in love with this place, and want to build my dream home here.
My goal with this letter is to bring awareness to the issue that I and many others are dealing with. For those that don’t live in the middle of a wind farm, but merely drive thru once in a while, my situation would be hard to understand. It is quite an awe to see for the occasional passer-by, but there is far more to this than meets the eye.
For the land owners that have agreed to have these turbines on their property, I would be curious to know, how much was my Dream worth? Because it is worthless to me now.
I feel both my children are “different” in their behaviour – two happy, well-behaved children have become irritable and unreasonable w/tempers and aggitation – reminds me of an overtired or hungry child. This is compounded by the fact that my husband and I are affected and sleep deprived and I imagine have lower patience, tolerance and are irritable also. [Child’s name] describes “bees” in his ears – I believe ringing ringing from W.T. s.[wind turbines]
– the other night I woke up because of a very loud, insistent pounding in my ears, accompanied by a headache. As I’m waking, I wonder where that noise is coming from. I am ready to holler at my neighbour across the road to turn down her radio. I then realize with concern, that it’s me. That noise is my pulse racing, making the same sound the wind turbines make, but much faster. If you can imagine the beat of “Paint it Black” by the Rolling Stones, that would be the speed of my heart beating. It was a pleasant very still night and I was actually having a pleasant dream.
Here is our history. On April 20, 2005 we attended a public meeting at the [township] township hall to hear about the proposed installation of [wind company] transformer station. The members of the community asked the township council not to pass this installation. Our fears were for noise and health effects with such a an electrical installation so close to our home(490) metres. It was passed anyway.
[wind company] installed the first transformer and energized it on February 23, 2006. We are the adjoining property owners. For the next few days afer that date, we heard a loud, penetrating buzz/hum. We wondered what was the source of the noise. Gradually, we realized that it was the transformer. It seemed to make more noise in the evening and early morning hours. The sound was more extreme with any form of water vapour in the air, either rain, frost, or fog. The noise was heard inside our house with all the doors and windows closed. We found that we could not sleep for more than 30 or 40 minutes at a time, awakening over and over again to the sound of the transformer.
We issued many pleas to council and [wind company] for help, and attended meetings for over a year. We finally appealed to the Ministry of the Environment, and the transformer noise was found to be in excess of the legal limits. Finally they constructed a noise absorbing wall and earthen berm, topped with trees. This helped dim the noise a little, but it was still disturbing. We could not get away from the noise even in the refuge of our own home. We felt pressure on our ears, like an airplane take off. At times the intensity of the noise made my ears hurt and vibrate. We were constantly sleep deprived, exhausted and stressed. I awaken to find myself with the blankets over my head. I believe this is an unconscious action to protect myself from the effects of the noise.
The OMB hearing took place October 2007, and the original [brand] transformer was ordered to be replaced with a supposedly quieter [brand] brand. At this time a second transformer was allowed to be installed, also a [brand] model. During this time period, we co-operated with [company] Engineering to do noise recording testing inside our homes. The MOE abatement officer looked at these reports and concluded that the intrusive noise was in the low frequency range, 360 hz.
The second transfromer was energized in February 2009. The noise is still intrusive, but it is now coupled with a penetrating vibration in our home and even in our bodies. It is a terrible feeling. We have reported our distress multiple times to MOE and [wind company] via their noise reporting protocol telephone number. We have co-operated with [wind company] noise consultants [company]Engineering. They have done four season audits, first for one transformer, and now for the two of them. Our distress has not been heard, and their usual answer is “it’s in compliance”.
All of us here have suffered with many severe headaches, ringing ears, heart palpitations and unending fatigue. With the stress and anxiety we suffer, we can hardly think straight and are irritable and short tempered with each other. Our nerves are frayed. When will there be some relief? Will it ever end? When will we ever get a good night’s sleep again?
In an effort to try and help ourselves, we had [name withheld] do an electrical assessment of our house. His graphs showed a great deal of “dirty electricity” coursing through our home. He likened it to living in a microwave. He stated: “This is a bad house, a very bad house.” He felt that we were sensitized to the electricity and that was contributing to our health issues. We contacted Hydro One and they have installed monitors in our home on two different occasions. The first round of tests were inconclusive and we have not received any feedback from the second set. Our anguish is great. We feel betrayed. There is no help. This is our home, our refuge, but we can hardly stand to be here.
The cattle became very aggressive when the wind turbines where putting out the power, and there was a noticeable amount of other problems – We used to have cats but shortly after the turbines started up they disappeared with the odd stray only staying around for a short period of time. – You expect to have mice on a farm, but they have even disappeared.
[nearest to property to] substation & powerlines substation 390 meters, powerline approx 100 meters
Our residence/farm is worth nothing Windfarm has taken over our lives, there is little social activity or enjoyment as everything is to the point of overwhelming. We can no longer host friends or family at our home but must keep up a façade that all is well We have no time to relax and unwind as we continue to deal with issues; (windfarm, legal, family). the stress and anxiety is an everyday event with concerns over our children, pets and livestock I have given away our catcannot provide safe housing. We gave away 4 yearlings (horses) can’t work with them due to their stress and our lack of time.
[distance from turbines] approx 400m but there are 10 of them within 1 mile of our home.
-I now have great trouble getting to sleep in fact I now use sleeping pills, I never used to, EVER!!! -I can no longer enjoy my home outdoors, There is a constant “buzzing” that I cannot escape. The further that I walk onto my vacant land, the closer I get to the neighbors tower – these towers make me feel constantly stressed and I always am anxious or have a feeling of anxiety.
– I worry about my plummeting real estate value, and if a bank will even renew my mortgage when its time. -I’m in a position that if I complain, I fear that my property value will fall even further.
-myself and other members of my family are now getting unexplained headaches, even my [age] year old daughter who has never had a headache prior to these towers coming online.
I have a feeling of helplessness because I want to get away from the towers but we must remain due to the fact that we can’t afford to abandon our home and move.
Our dog is restless constantly pacing – We have a lot of wildlife on our property, deer, turkey…- we rent our property to a bow (deer) hunter. He told me that he has never seen such few deer in all the years that he has been hunting here, – note that this is the first hunting season that the wind turbines were active.
Notes about the testimonies
- This post is a shortened version of a post at http://ontario-wind-resistance.org/more-testimonies/ . There has been no editing of the text of the testimonies except for deletion of less relevant information.
- In some cases, homes of reporting families are located less than 550 metres from a wind turbine (e.g. 400 metres) because the project was approved prior to the Green Energy Act. However, similar symptoms may be experienced by people farther away but more sensitive, or living near multiple turbines. In the case of WPD’s project, many homes will be within 2 km of as many as 12 turbines.