Rural resident sounds a warning: Wind turbines are not the solutions
ABOVE: Ruby Mekker of Finch, Ontario, wrote a letter to Council advising them to protect the health and well-being of Ottawa residents from the dangers of the proposed 700-plus industrial wind turbines planned for the city. (Photo: OLM Staff)
It's no secret that being denied a good night's sleep prevents us from firing on all cylinders; trying to work with continual irritating sounds can be just as mind-rattling. While many residents of downtown Ottawa suffered weeks of sleepless nights due to horn honking during the 2022 convoy, residents of rural Ontario have been enduring years of restless nights and are still waiting to have their grievances about wind turbines heard.
The turbines produce a low-frequency sound that is irritating. In addition to being bothersome, the disturbance can be deadly. A European Environment Agency report pinned 12,000 premature deaths yearly on noise pollution-related irritation.
Noise is not the only issue. During their rotation, the blades cause shadowing on nearby houses, creating irritating and unnatural disruption in sunlight. Imagine sitting in front of your living room and having the sun shaded every minute by a slow-moving thin strip. At night there is no relief either. In addition to the irritating sounds, bright light on the turbines, required to warn aircraft, light up the once dark country sky.
If that isn't bad enough, as a result of the manufacturing process, wind turbines emit hexafluoride, a highly poisonous greenhouse gas that is 26,000 times more harmful than carbon dioxide. They also have massive oil reserves for lubricating the machines. When wind turbines malfunction or explode, as they have, they contaminate all the soil around them with this oil. They also kill what an NBC article deemed an "alarming number" of bats needed to control pests in rural areas and birds.
The trade-off for these downsides is a massively invasive energy production system that can only be used as an auxiliary in its current state. It will never replace hydro or nuclear in Ontario anytime soon, so the question must be asked: Why so much risk for so little reward?
Ottawa Life Magazine visited Crysler resident Rubky Mekker in 2022 to investigate the impact of wind farming on her health, lifestyle, and livelihood. Mekker has been a leading advocate against wind farming in the province. Mekker and her husband built their home with plans to retire happily ever after in the countryside, but since the Nation Rise Wind Farm set up shop, they say they've been living a nightmare.
The following is a letter Ruby Mekker sent Mayor Mark Sutcliffe warning the City of Ottawa of the issues rural residents are dealing with. She suggests that Council members stop by her farm to see for themselves and at the very least, add verbiage to any contracts signed with wind companies to protect the health and safety of Ottawa residents from these corporations.
I understand the City of Ottawa is concerned with the noise made by the sport of pickleball. "But after nearby residents complained about the penetrating sound of players' paddles and hard plastic balls, the City of Ottawa has told the club that outdoor pickleball at the park will no longer be permitted."
Ottawa's Energy Evolution Plan proposes over 700 industrial wind turbines. Researching industrial wind turbines, "noise" issues are the most frequently reported; the whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, and described as a jet plane flying over and never landing.
A YouTube video was published based on Ontario's Armow Wind project which is a 179 MW project,consisting of 91 2.3 MW Siemens Energy wind turbines, and is located in the Municipality of Kincardine in Ontario.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2KJn6fRIuw You will hear the noise of the turbines. Note: the turbines in the Nation Rise project are 3.3 MW and turbines continue to increase in size.
Noise Incident Reports are the most frequently filed complaints for industrial wind turbine projects. "The Ontario government currently has almost 7,000 formal Incident Reports documenting environmental noise pollution, dating from 2006 to the end of 2018, many of which also contain citizen complaints of adverse health effects. “Since wind turbines first started operating in Ontario, people have been complaining about the noise,” https://pub-brockton.escribemeetings.com/filestream.ashx?DocumentId=14362
I encourage the Council to listen to the noise of the turbines in the video. I reiterate my invitation of a tour with stops to talk with people in the Nation Rise Wind project to learn first hand of the noise, the shadow flicker, the tinnitus experienced. Ms. Schmidt describes how her sleep was interrupted and how her health was impacted. She further detailed her experience at the Multi-Municipal Wind Turbine Working Group, December 14, 2017. Two members of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change were also in attendance. Ms. Schmidt informed the group and reminded the Ministry bureaucrats:
"I now have ischemic heart disease, no reason for it, my cholesterol is fine, other than the annoyance I have been putting up with. My doctor recommended I leave because of the serious health risk. ..Your staff was at my house Rick, they came at all hours of the night 24hrs a day they were up, many, many times. They heard the noise like a jet plane. They saw me sick, pale as a ghost, vomiting in the toilet from the nausea, the migraines horrendous. They saw me gradually lose weight, go down to 98 pounds from the vomiting, the nausea, the migraines."
These are symptoms reported globally.
I am attaching a copy of the letter sent by the Council of Arran-Elderslie Township to other Ontario townships which states: "passed by-law No. 14-10 (which amends our Municipal code) to address health and safety concerns related to the location and erection of wind generation facilities (industrial wind turbines) within the municipality.
The by-law states:
That, the Chief Building Official, at his/her discretion, may issue a building permit, in accordance with the provisions of the Ontario Building code, for the construction of any wind generation facility, when the said application is accompanied by all of the following:
a) a certificate issued by HEALTH CANADA confirming that the proposed type of wind generation facility will benefit, or will not harm, the health, safety and well-being of any resident of the Corporation of the Municipality of Arran-Elderslie…..
The bolded section is repeated three (3) times. The by-law ends with:
"That before the certificates identified in Section 1 above are issues, the stated Ministries must provide original documentation to the satisfaction of the Council of the Municipality of Arran-Elderslie that the necessary full and complete non-partisan third party independent health studies on humans are presented to determine safe setbacks and noise limits''
It is noteworthy that Arran-Elderslie Township does not have any industrial wind turbine projects.
I encourage the City of Ottawa Council to put the onus on the wind companies; to insist on letters confirming "that the proposed type of wind generation facility will benefit, or will not harm, the health, safety and well-being of any resident of theCity of Ottawa." It is that simple.
I hope you will consider this solution to the City's potential issue. The health and well being of the citizens of the City of Ottawa depends on your actions. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
(formerly of 72 Caroline Ave.)