The following is a letter to the Standing Committee on the Green Energy and Economy Act in back in April, 2009. It could have been written a month ago. Clearly the “Economy” target of the Liberals Act took precedence over health and safety as billions have been funneled out of the tax coffers to the owners of these projects. Thousands of complaints have been suppressed. Untold number of families have been impacted. Most irreparably.
“The windmills started up at the end of November/early December 2008 and it was only after they started them up full time that we started having problems. They were so loud we could not sleep. It was aggravating and exhausting. The one closest to us is 456 metres behind us to the west and the next is just less than 700 metres to the east. We can hear them equally well and they cause terrible noise problems. We can see 11 easily from our house. The noise changes with the wind speed, blade direction and atmosphere. It changes from a loud whoosh whoosh cyclical noise to sounding like a jet going overhead that never passes and some nights like a huge outdoor washing machine. We have been through night after night without sleep and there is also a horrible underlying vibration/hum that we assumed may be from a low frequency noise that they have picked up on their numerous tests, but cannot find the source of. Some nights are absolutely maddening as it invades your body completely and makes your head feel thick like stew. There have been many, many nights I have ended up on our sofa with the TV turned up to try to drown it out, but you can still hear/ feel it. When you are trying to sleep it is coming up through the furniture and through the pillow, and ear plugs do not help. At some point this vibration has to affect the body. We have had many in our house who have heard this vibration/hum. When investigating, I always pull the main breaker switch to make sure that there is nothing electrical in our house that is causing it. You can hear it just as easily in the northeast corner of the basement where the panel box is, as you can in the southwest corner upstairs where our bedroom is. It is the worst at night, as everything is so quiet and there is no radio or TV etc. going, many nights absolutely unbearable.
Our dog has become very upset also. Her night habits changed completely at the same time that we started having problems. Many nights she goes out into the living room and whines and barks at nothing. She is not looking out a window or anything, she is just disturbed. I let her outside and then try to settle her down only to have it happen again. Some nights she will not step inside of the bedroom where she normally sleeps. I don’t know what she is experiencing but it is deeply disturbing.
Our health concerns are increasing over time. My husband is suffering tinnitus on a constant basis, mostly in his left ear. We are both suffering severe sleep deprivation and loss of energy and our cognitive and organizational skills are taking a beating. I lose my train of thought while speaking and cannot remember what it is I was speaking about. I have always been very organized in all areas of work and home duties and I find it hard to have the energy or desire to do anything anymore. This has ruined our nighttime relaxation as the moment we ready for bed we are not sure if we are actually going to be able to sleep or not, and frankly most nights, the answer is not. I am now experiencing muscle pain mostly in the legs and stomach aches and in the last week the tone of the humming has changed which has me experiencing ringing in the ears now.
We go to bed as early as 7PM some nights, and we try to catch an hour’s sleep here and there whenever we can. My husband is down 20 lbs from where he should be over the winter. Spring is here and I spend my day’s home trying to catch up on sleep instead of outside enjoying the break in the weather and raking our lawn. It is hard to function anymore and our family and social life suffers along with it. We are too tired, too physically exhausted. There is no enjoyment in our lives. Everything now is about wind turbines and lack of sleep and some days it takes everything I’ve got just to speak with people. This has completely consumed us. It has been horrible, and we feel very alone as most people do not understand that these wind turbines can cause such problems. I did not understand that there were any problems before we found ourselves in this situation. It is distressing to hear people say ‘You’ll get used to it’. Nobody can get used to this, nor should anyone have to live like this. To add to the insult, we are called NIMBYs, by our own Premier.
We have lived in our home for 4 years and it was to be our retirement home. Our home is brick all around and we have upgraded windows and doors throughout, so it is not like it is a thin-walled dated home. We are not and have never been anti-green or anti turbine for that matter but the fact is that these turbines are too close to our home. There is just no argument to that. We have really only been in this for 4 months, in the winter and all of our windows have been closed up tight. You can easily hear the turbines inside our home, inside our bedroom when we should be sleeping.
We had no issues when the turbines were going up, but we were a little nervous once they started building them when we saw the size of them and how close they were. Last summer and fall, at the same time they were building them, we put up a new fence for our dogs, a new deck on the back of the house and a double car garage with 2×6 framing and fully insulated. My husband has a 55 Chevy that he is working on restoring and this garage was a dream of his. We had no thoughts that we would be in any problem like this or we never would have spent that kind of money on home improvements.
There have been 4+ acoustical noise studies completed with monitoring equipment both outside, and inside our bedroom for 2 weeks on separate studies. They are now shutting down 5 turbines at night to mitigate the noise. During the day, when they turn 4 of the 5 on, they have reduced the RPM to keep down the noise they emit. They have also had the manufacturers of the turbines, involved in the testing but we have never seen any further results. We still have this horrible vibration/hum. There is no pattern as to when we get it. Sometimes it is mid day, sometimes night, sometimes both. This hum vibration is here as I type this at 4 in the morning. I can’t sleep.
The wind company acknowledges they have caused us a big problem and the noise study results show they exceeded limits of MOE guidelines for dBA noise. It is very disturbing that there are no set guidelines for low frequency noise, vibration or turbine noise inside the home. I have pleaded with the MOE to please try to shut down what is causing this vibration but I am told the only guidelines that they cover are dBA outside noise. What are we supposed to do? How do we find out what is causing this vibration if the MOE cannot help us? Why should the onus be on me, to find out what the problem is? I am not a professional in this industry and it appears the professionals have no idea what to do either. Instead we are left living in these conditions and we do not even have the option to move. Our house is worthless because we cannot sell it. Nor can we afford to walk from it and buy another place. How is one even supposed to renew a mortgage on their property if it’s worthless? This is a terribly distressing a position to be put in. How would each and every one of you feel if your government ignored your cries for help because they don’t have the ‘guidelines’ to help you? It is a disgrace, and Ms. Mitchell you are very well aware that my husband and I are not the only ones suffering. You have many families in your riding who have been suffering a lot longer than we have, and this government should be completely ashamed.
Throughout the complaint process, we felt isolated as we were repeatedly told we were the only complaint in the 2 phases. We found out differently as time went on. Over and over again, we heard from the MOE that everything was in compliance with their guidelines and that what was happening to us was acceptable, only to find out that was not correct. In fact, we were given erroneous information on what the MOE guidelines were. If we had not been persistent, we would be living in this forever and thinking it was just what we had to put up with. If this were my parents you were telling these things to, they would have believed you because they, like most people, trust what they are being told, especially by our government. My father was a hard worker who gave back to the community in volunteering his time in any way he could. Our parents both brought us up to work hard and help out where you can. We also were raised with a respect for politicians and the political system in our great country. He would be appalled if he could see today what this provincial government is doing to its citizens. You are forcing people from their homes and are not lending assistance to the problem in any way. No one from the government has stepped in to offer help. You should be ashamed. I have written many letters to Minister Gerretsen, Minister Smitherman and Premier McGuinty and they are not responding at all to our concerns. I have also written to many MPP’s, and municipalities, some of who support L and I and some who do not respond. Our MPP Sylvia Jones, is one of a few MPP’s, with a backbone to respond to our concerns. Our township council is also trying to help us. We are lucky because we all know that many experiencing problems have been completely ignored by their MPP’s and council.
This has to stop. Mr. McGuinty, it is unconscionable for you to continue down this road without addressing the problems these families are experiencing. There is no reason to have such a push on to get the Green Energy Act in place so fast, without addressing the residents that are having problems. I do not say everyone is having problems. I am sure there are some who are having no problems or are relatively lightly impacted, but even one family having a problem is one too many and must be given the help and attention to correct it. Our wind company continues its testing but still has no answers. Isn’t this alone a wake up call? The wind company cannot fix the problems so stop allowing these pieces of industrial machinery to be built near houses until every single problem is fixed. Quit ignoring us!
Some families have lost everything and are devastated, waiting for someone to help them. My husband and I are just one of very few who have openly been speaking out about it because we had to make a choice, and decided that with our home and property unsellable, we have nothing left to lose. What a sorry position for anyone to be put in.
Late last week we hired a professional to test our home for dirty electricity. It tested positive, and at a disturbing level, and now we need to confirm that is what is causing the humming, and where the electricity coming from. The most obvious place to start is the buried transmission cables that run up the side of our property. Why is it that we, the tax payer, who have hired you to look after our welfare, have to take the initiative and pay the money out of our pockets to investigate what is causing us distress from an industrial project this size, when it is fully supported by our government? You’re subsidizing wind energy, but you are leaving residents flailing in their polluted homes! There is something very wrong here.
Wind energy is simply not being handled properly. There are too many problems and should never be scattered throughout residences the way they are. I do not understand, if this government has to have these turbines, why you do not have the companies buy blocks of land and install a true farm of windmills, away from people. It would be far cheaper and you wouldn’t have the human health impact that is now coming forth. The vibration coming off of these turbines is also not to be taken lightly. You want to put them out in the water? Think about how the sound waves travel through water. You will kill everything aquatic with vibration in a slow torturous death. I wish the ‘decision makers’ would smarten up. It is self centered greed that allows things like this to take place. Please do not tell me there are no studies to qualify these very real health concerns. If there aren’t, then the onus is on you, every single one of you representing your ridings, to insist on a full blown health study. You have enough people with problems that you cannot continue to ignore it.
I am really tired and my thoughts are not flowing as well as they normally would, but this is the best I can do right now to try to make you understand what is going on out here.
Please. Do the right thing.