Is the answer blowing in the wind?
Recently we had the opportunity to hear a presentation from a representative from a local group known as Clarington Wind Concerns. This group of residents is concerned about the proposed wind farms that are currently under consideration for the east Clarington area. There are two areas of study (that overlap each other in some areas) for two proposed wind farms, one that will contain fourteen wind turbines while the other will contain fifteen.
In the wake of the ongoing BP Oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, we are all crying out for an alternative energy source. The chilling real time video from CNN reminds us that this region will be suffering the effects of this ecological disaster for decades. So why then, is this group of people making so much fuss over wind energy?
Their concerns appear to be twofold - health and money. They present what they believe is evidence that there are health repercussions from living in close proximity to these wind farms. Most of these health concerns involve the effects of sleep deprivation (anxiety, listlessness, etc.) but they also have a very real concern about something called “ice throw”. Under the proposed guidelines, these windmills may be located within 500 metres from a building (in Europe they are relegated to 2 – 3 km) and the very real danger of ice forming on the blades and then being flung off during a melt is enough to give pause for thought that perhaps Europe has the right idea. The thought of these wind farms being located 500 metres from a school is frankly, alarming.
While much of the information being presented by the Clarington Wind Concerns organization focuses on the health effects of the wind turbines, you can’t help but wonder at how much of the opposition to this program is prompted by the concern that property owners may suffer a deterioration of their property values when these monstrosities are erected. Don’t think of quaint little wooden windmills of yesteryear that appear in those charming postcards from the Netherlands. The 2010 models are HUGE – some can soar as tall as 500’. The group presented evidence that property values in similar areas of the province have suffered significant losses and were understandably concerned for their hard earned equity.
Recently Clarington Municipal Council passed a resolution calling on the Province to impose a moratorium on the approval of any further developments until further study can be done to ensure that they will not pose a threat to human health or to the environment. Unfortunately, this is widely regarding as having as much effect as …well frankly…. the overwhelming opposition to the HST by the people of Ontario.
This situation is far from being resolved, but anyone considering a move to eastern Clarington, should definitely check out the location of the proposed study area to protect your health and your money!