Grey Highlands to fund wind farm noise study

The Flesherton, November 9, 2015

Wind Turbine Sounds Study

by Don Crosby
Grey Highlands council was about to lend $120,000 to a special interest group. Then it decided instead to approve $75,000 for a municipal study on health effects of wind turbine sounds.
Municipality of Grey Highlands council had already agreed to lend money, that it would borrow from a bank on behalf of the group, to the Grey Highlands Wind Concerns, an anti-wind turbine citizen’s group.
However, strong public objection against the municipal loan prompted council to apply some terms that the group was concerned about meeting. The group has now arranged to borrow the needed money from a private lender, Flesherton businessman Kevin O’Brien.
Stewart Halliday, deputy-mayor, announced at the November 2 council meeting that Grey Highlands Wind Concerns withdrew its request that the municipality lend it $120,000 to pay off expenses it had incurred in its failed appeal of two wind projects to the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT). On August 13, the ERT dismissed the appeal against Zero Emission People (ZEP) project – a five wind turbine project near McIntyre – and on October 16, the tribunal dismissed the appeal against Grey Highlands Clean Energy, a nine wind turbine project planned for the Brewster Lake area.
But, at the same November municipal council meeting, councilors voted to spend up to $75,000 to gather acoustical and infrasound information on a total of five sites within the ZEP project and the Grey Highlands Clean Energy. The two projects will have a combined total of 14 wind turbines.
Voting in favour of spending the $75,000 were Mayor McQueen, Deputy-mayor Halliday and Councilors Silverton and Desai. Councilors Terry Mokriy, Cathy Little and Peggy Harris voted against the motion.
Halliday, who crafted the motion calling for the study, says he wants the municipality to use the information gathered in the study to develop a bylaw protecting residents from the effects of unregulated infrasound waves.
The study would be conducted around the clock over a minimum seven days period on five homes located close to proposed wind turbine sites within the two projects prior to construction and then again once the projects are working.
Councilor Little says the proposed study is beyond the capacity of the municipality. “The $75,000 is just the initial cost to get the baseline data; there will be further studies to be conducted once the project is completed, there will be future costs. In addition the study would have to be peer reviewed and that would be an additional cost,” she says.
“If you’re committing to the $75,000 you must know you are committing to more than that because if you don’t it’s a waste of the $75,000,” she says.
Councilor Mokriy, who also voted against the expense, questioned the effectiveness of a small municipality spending $75,000 on a study.
Money for the Grey Highlands baseline study will come from the building services department. It is proposed that the money will be repaid from the future property tax revenues received from the industrial wind installations yet to be constructed.
A Health Canada study has found no evidence to support a link between exposure to wind-turbine noise and ill health effects reported by people living near the towering structures.
The Wind Turbine Noise and Health Study, conducted over a four-month period in 2013, involved more than 1,200 residents in southwestern Ontario and PEI whose homes were located at various distances from almost 400 of the electricity-generating structures in 18 wind-turbine developments.
The same study did find a relationship between increasing levels of wind turbine noise and residents’ annoyance related to that noise, as well as to vibration, shadow flicker from the rotating blades, and aircraft warning lights atop the towers.
According to a story in Canadian Lawyer magazine from September, 2015, “There have been nearly 30 hearings before the Environmental Review Tribunal, seeking to stop so-called wind farms, since the enactment of the Green Energy Act in Ontario in 2009. Each time, local residents, usually in rural areas, have been unsuccessful in meeting the legal test to revoke or change the terms of a permit issued by the province for a wind energy project.”


WIND CONCERNS ONTARIO EDITOR’S NOTE: the statements here on the Health Canada study are not accurate. The study was never designed to find a causal link between wind turbine noise and health impacts (which begs the question: what was the $2.1 million study for? to back up the wind industry’s claims their product is safe?), but it did find a link between the turbine noise and vibration and “annoyance” which when used as a medical term denotes stress or distress—Health Canada found that 16.5% of the respondents living less than 1 km from a turbine were stressed, and that number rose to 25% for people living at 550 metres, the distance Ontario claims is a safe setback.

What's your reaction?


  • Pat Cusack
    Posted November 10, 2015 10:21 am 0Likes

    How much more time and money is going to be thrown at these things?

  • Gord Schneider
    Posted November 10, 2015 10:40 am 0Likes

    Whatever it takes. These monsters must be stopped.

  • Tracy
    Posted November 11, 2015 3:58 pm 0Likes

    I commend Grey Highlands for honouring their commitment to the heallth and well being of the people of Grey Highlands county. Thank God there are still people in Ontario with enough sense, ethical standards and courage to help the people of Grey Highland County whose health will be at risk of the negative impacts created by the infrasound emitted by the iwts.
    It would be in the best interests of the residents to support this initiative and complete the study. Money put forth will be the most valuable investment in Grey Highlands. In hindsight, you will be glad you did this. Thank you members of Grey County Council for this.
    Please beware and resist “community incentives” (bribes) that may be offered by the proposed wind company. Wind companies have become notorious for this act of extortion, and need to be held accountable.
    Regarding the Health Canada Study: the study was skewed and directed to a population in which the desired results would be achieved. The study was not published in it’s entirety.
    Pat Cusak: How much more time and money is going to be thrown at these things??!
    Please broaden your scope and educate yourself about the millions of tax payer dollars that is flushed down the toilet on a regular basis in the form of subsidies and money paid to the US for taking our excess hydro.
    You are right Gord, “Whatever it takes” is the right attitude to take when your life and that of others is on the line.
    I have experienced the destruction brought on by the development of iwts to close to my home. At one time I believed, I trusted that the government would not approve the development of a project that would be harmful to my health.
    Sorry guys, three times fooled by our Liberal government…..
    You can throw the results of how ever many expensive studies that you like at me. I would testify under oath, my experience, including research conducted dating as far back as pre wind turbine development that supports my story. Obviously I am not funded (as are grad students conducting these studies) or bribed by the Ontario government; as you will note in my personal account. My findings and experience are not that presented by the half assed reports of the government. My findings are REAL. This is my life.
    Wishing Grey County all the best.
    Depending on the day, I have become strong enough and am willing to shre this with your community,

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