Letter to Chatham-Kent Development & Planning Services, June 2009

June 25, 2009

To: Municipality of Chatham-Kent,
Community Development and Planning Services
c/o Elinor Mifflin (elinorm@chatham-kent.ca)

RE: Notice of public meeting to consider proposed zoning by Invenergy Wind Canada ULC to the Raleigh Wind Energy Centre – meeting date June 15, 2009

To Whom It May Concern:

Please be advised that we plan to attend the meeting on the 15th and would like to speak at the meeting. We have great concerns we would like to express regarding the erection of further wind turbines.

THIS IS A REVISION TO THE LETTER SENT PREVIOUSLY FOR THE MARCH 3OTH MEETING AS WE HAVE NEW INFORMATION FOR YOU.

We live 600 meters from the closest current wind turbine and have three or four others very close to our home (none are on our property). Although we initially had no issues with the use of this type of green energy, we are now finding that they are not quiet and unobtrusive as promised. We do not find the turbines to be an eyesore as they stand, and in fact consider them an enhancement to the view behind our property. We do find them to be very loud, and we have concerns that they are affecting our health. We have spoken to Kruger and the Municipality about our concerns.

Our property is currently being monitored by Aercoustics Engineering Ltd hired by Kruger as a result of our complaints. It is my understanding that they are monitoring the sound levels of the wind turbines. They have also set up a high tech microphone in our home with a record button which we are able to activate when we are awakened or disturbed by the noise. The testing is ongoing so we do not yet have results. My concern is that I believe our issues come from several areas of concern generated by wind turbines including vibration, dirty electricity as well as noise. I am unsure whether this testing will be able to monitor all of those areas. As the leaves fell off of the trees, and the stronger winds of winter came, we found the turbines to be more and more disturbing. We can hear them often, even when we are inside of our home. Sometimes it is a sort of hum, and other times we can hear the “woosh, woosh” of the blades. It is a bit like living at an airport where the plane never takes off. When outside trying to enjoy our property, it is of course even louder. As we have several acres and my husband is a hunter, he found the windmills very disruptive and loud during hunting season. The shadow cast across the property is also very disturbing and gives one a “jumpy” feeling as the shadow “runs” across the corner of your eye when you are outside. These turbines are anything but silent, and when the wind blows from the West (the prevailing wind in this area), the windmills face our home and are at their loudest.

At night, there are also several lights that flash on and off. It is at night that the windmills become a problem ecstatically as when we sit in our main room, we can see 5 or 6 flashing lights consistently outside instead of the beautiful view of the stars and moon we have grown accustomed to.

We have lived on this property for over 5 years now and enjoy the peacefulness and tranquility that country living brings. We used to enjoy the sounds of birds, crickets and frogs, and now we hear the turbines.

My husband has experienced problems sleeping for several months now. When he is awakened in the night by the sound of the turbines or another noise, the sound gets into his head and he is unable to return to sleep. He has recently tried sleeping with a loud radio or television on and that seems to be helping a bit, however, I can not sleep with a radio or tv on so we are forced to sleep in different rooms.

I myself have had some issues over this past winter as well and only recently realized that they are likely also the result of improper rest. All of my life, I have been able fall asleep immediately, stay asleep and wake up feeling very rested. When awakened during the night I could easily fall back to sleep, even when my children were just babies and needed me several times in the night. I have always been a “pop my eyes open and start the day” type of person. I rarely experienced a headache unless I was ill with a cold or flu. Over these past winter months, I have found that I wake up feeling groggy and unrested. Some days to such a degree that when trying to get out of bed I actually feared that we had some type of CO leak or something in the house as my eyes felt so heavy and my body so tired. I have also experienced a few rare nights where I was awakened by something and could not fall back to sleep as I could hear the turbines and they also kept me awake. In fact, last night the wind was quite strong and I listened to the turbines from about 1am to 3:30 am. To understand, think of trying to sleep and a dog barking continuously outside and keeping you awake, it is a similar feeling of annoyance and disturbance. I have had more headaches and ill feeling days this past winter than I can remember ever having in my lifetime.

Further, I at times wake up and feel a bit dizzy, as if I have been on a rollercoaster or spinning quickly in circles. It is difficult to describe but when I shut my eyes, it is a bit like I am spinning. Sometimes, like this morning, it feels almost as if the room is vibrating when I wake in the morning. It takes a minute to realize that it is really my insides “vibrating”. This is very difficult to explain, but I believe it is my body falling into sync with the “woosh, woosh” vibration of the windmills. I have also noticed that my wrists become very sore over the course of the night and when I awake it feels as if pressure has been applied to them and my wrists are sore and achy, while my hands are a bit numb and achy. Recently we were away for a three day camping weekend and I was thrilled that we were all able to sleep through the night, and even by the second day began to feel rested and more like ourselves. The headache that I had been suffering went away by the second morning of being gone, however, within 1 day of being home, the headache returned.

I have noticed that my memory and even ability to continue with a task has been negatively affected to the extreme. This concerns me as I have always been able to retain large amounts of information and multi-task extremely affectively. I now find that I need to write things down, and in fact at times have found myself wondering what I was about to do or say as it completely leaves my mind. I am most worried about my youngest son, Wyatt who is 3 years old. Wyatt has been demonstrating some concerning symptoms. For example: Wyatt will become very upset with me for reasons such as not bringing his Teddy or his milk to him when asked. The fact is, he is holding the item as I brought it to him a few minutes before and not only does he have no recollection, I have to point out to him that it is in his hand at that moment. This is very upsetting. Note: I have tried to schedule an appointment with our local Pediatricians and the soonest appointment I could get in April was for July 6th so all we can do is wait to have him tested/examined.

Our house definitely vibrates as we have had items move their way to the edge of shelves and fall off. We have also had some issues with bees, wasps and flys finding there way into our home and I believe now that it is because the boards where their nests are on the outside walls of the house are vibrating causing them to seek a more stable surface by entering inside the walls of our home. Since my initial letter, I see that a bee keeper has come forward in the newspaper and talked about bees being extremely sensitive to vibration.

About 6 weeks ago, I made the connection that although I am not laying awake most nights, it is likely that I am not reaching a proper REM state of sleep during the night. I feel this could be the cause of my issues as well – headaches, nausea, feeling drained and tired all of the time, moodiness, not my usual self, mysterious aches and pains that seem to have no cause.

Although it is difficult to pinpoint behaviour in children as young as ours (3 and 5), because they are constantly growing and changing, I feel that they have become more whiny, short tempered and moody – similar to when they have not had enough rest, or are hungry, and it makes me wonder if their sleep is also being affected by the windmills. They have both asked on several occasions “what is that noise” and pulled at their ears – I am still not 100% sure what noise they were/are referring to, and only over this past winter, they have both developed a habit of hitting their heads with their hands….Obviously, I can not say for sure, but I am concerned of the effects windmills are having on their growing brains and bodies.

Recently our television, satellite dish and stereo which were all working fine stopped working for no apparent reason. They just “blew” causing us to have to replace them. We have neighbours in Dealtown who have also reported strange things happening with their electronics. We use Airnet internet service (satellite) and had no problems with it until this past winter. We now find that on windy days the service is up and down continually and we must keep reconnecting. There seems to be no explanation except the windmills are spinning when this happens. Recently our phones have also stopped working and we have noticed an increase in what I can only assume are “power surges” where our power flickers and our light bulbs burn out regularly, our neighbour has also stated that their light bulbs are needed to be replaced regularly.

Although I can not prove the link between things that are happening in our home conclusively, it seems that since the windmills were erected, and specifically since the leaves fell off of our trees, we are experiencing several health and mood related issues in our home. My husband can say without a doubt that it is the noise of the windmills keeping him awake, and we can all state that we can hear them almost all of the time both outside and inside of our home; especially of course at night when the house is at it’s quietest.

Since my name was mentioned in the local newspaper, I have rec’d several calls from other people who are having the same symptoms as my family. These people have commented that they were so happy to see my concerns as “they thought they were alone”. I believe stongly that there are many residents being affected by the Wind Turbines, some who likely have not yet made the connection. I also fear that as we become more sensitized to the affects that they will in fact worsen and that more and more people will come forward with health issues.

We fear that adding more windmills around us will increase the symptoms we are having and possibly affect other families in the community. We respectfully request that before going ahead with any further zoning of windmills that the municipality of Chatham-Kent conduct further research into the effects of residents in the communities that have them, including our own. There is a lot of information on the internet and many people who claim to have health problems due to wind turbines near their homes. In fact, some (including Dr. Nina Pierpont) refer to the illness as WTS – Wind Turbine Syndrome.

I hope that this letter will be taken seriously and that it helps council to realize that more research and questioning is needed before we turn Chatham-Kent into a community with serious health problems and risk the development of our children. The well-being of the residents of the community must be considered first and foremost even though the financial gains to the community may seem to be considerable by the erection of wind farms. Please ask yourselves, at what cost? Ask yourselves, would you be willing to put your own children at risk if there is a chance that wind turbines do in fact create sleep disturbances, headaches, mood disorder and slow early child development as I have recently read on the internet?

If this is truly the direction that Chatham-Kent should take, then devoting more time to research and planning is certainly worth an outcome that will include financial benefits without detriment to community health and happiness.

Thank you for your consideration. Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.

More at “My Next Door Neighbour Is a Wind Turbine”.

Dwarfed by wind turbines

Author: Anon

Reproduced from the Wind-Watch website: https://www.wind-watch.org/documents/letter-to-chatham-kent-re-mtg-june-15th/

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