Put the Brakes on the North Gower Wind Turbines
Last week, the Federal Health Minister, Leona Aglukkaq, announced that Health Canada, in collaboration with Statistics Canada, will be conducting a research study to determine the relationship between noise pollution from industrial wind turbines (IWTs) and the possible health implications for those living nearby.
The Health Canada study is of particular importance to me because of a proposal for ten IWTs in my riding. Over the past number of years, many of my constituents have raised concerns with me over the possible health implications for those living near IWTs. That is why I have been working closely with the Health Minister to ensure that this study will provide the necessary information to all levels of government when deciding on the future placement of IWTs. Set to be complete in 2014, the study will be entirely transparent and is being designed by experts in noise, health assessment, clinical medicine and epidemiology.
According to a survey compiled by The Society for Wind Vigilance, already more than 130 people in the province of Ontario have self-reported adverse health effects due to the noise pollution from IWTs. In this province, the current minimum setback distance of an IWT from the closest home is 550 metres. However, the results from the report mentioned above reveal that self-reported health complaints came from an average distance of 675 metres from an IWT, with other citizens reporting adverse health effects from as far away as five kilometres. Even a 2010 report prepared for the Ontario Ministry of Environment does not deny the health impacts of noise pollution from IWTs, saying that “sound from wind turbines can be expected to contribute to stress-related health impacts in some persons.”
The Marlborough Wind Farm, initiated in 2008 by Prowind Canada, proposes 10 IWTs in close proximity to the village of North Gower. With a population of over 2,000 people, the majority of the village is within three kilometres from one or more IWT. What is even more concerning to me is that, according to a map outlining the proposed IWT locations, there are more than 30 families living within 800 metres. There is currently no start date for construction of these IWTs; Prowind is waiting for approval from the Ontario government before proceeding with the project.
Due to increasing reports of health problems, a lack of consensus on this issue, and the need for properly designed clinical research, I am calling on Premier McGuinty to place a moratorium on the Marlborough Wind Farm project in North Gower until conclusive evidence from Health Canada can definitively show that there are no adverse health risks associated with living in close proximity to IWTs. To see my open letter to the Premier, please feel free to contact my office or consult my website.