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Misled by MPAC

One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.- George Orwell

Reaction to Vote on Green Energy Act
Wolfe Island wind farm. Photo by Nicole Kleinsteuber

They didn’t come to talk about industrial wind turbines. Rather, the two emissaries from the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC)—an agency of the province of Ontario—came to apologize.

MPAC is the government agency that determines the value of your home or property for municipal taxation purposes. They know they do a poor job of it. They have such low confidence in their ability to assess the value of your home, particularly in rural, heterogeneous neighbourhoods, one phone call is often all it takes to have an assessment reduced.

So the MPAC folks came to Shire Hall to say they are sorry and want to do better. Part of a dog-and-pony-apology tour across Ontario. They came with plans to improve the way they, and clerks in municipalities across the province, might work together better.

County council members, however, wanted to know about industrial wind turbines. Specifically, they wanted to know the impact on property values of 50-storey machines erected in a scenic rural shoreline. The MPAC folks were prepared for the question. They get it a lot.

Leaning heavily on MPAC’s own study based on 2012 data, the representatives assured council industrial wind turbines nearby had “no statistically significant impact on sale prices.” When it conducted the analysis, the provincial agency knew its findings would meet with a skeptical reception, so it hired an American consultant to examine the data too. It, however, found a statistically significant impact lowering the sale prices of homes near industrial wind turbines, but that the impact was small.

That was the information shared with council. Council believed it was true.

Ed and Gail Kenney have been battling MPAC for seven years. In 2008, the couple’s Wolfe Island home was valued at $200,000. The following year, 86 industrial wind turbines sprouted around his home. Fluctuating pressure caused by the turbines makes Ed uncomfortable and edgy—he finds it difficult to sleep. Yet he doesn’t want to move.

That same year MPAC determined the value of the Kenneys’ home had risen to $375,000—driving their municipal taxes much higher. They appealed. If anything, the value of their home was less because of the turbines, not more. It took several years and a small fortune, yet they lost their appeal.

“The board found that based on the evidence, in this case, there appeared to be no evidence of any negative impact to the value of the property,” concluded the MPAC appeal panel.

The case raised serious questions about how MPAC conducts its evaluations. The hard data appeared to contradict its conclusion. A small corps of amateurs pored over the data. They found a correlation between a decline in sale prices and proximity to industrial wind turbines. But they were just raising more questions. There was no hard evidence or academic research contradicting MPAC. Until now.

A new study prepared by Clarkson University and Nanos Research paints a very different picture of what happened as a result of the industrial wind turbines on Wolfe Island.

The Clarkson-Nanos study concludes that a massive wind project proposed for Galloo Island— part of a chain of islands that includes the Duck Islands stretching from Prince Edward Point to Henderson, New York—will likely depress property values of homes with a view of the turbines. The researchers calculate the impact is likely to be more than $40 million while providing the community with little value in return.

But surely the most surprising aspect of their research, for Ontario residents at least, was what they learned about property values directly across from Wolfe Island.

Clarkson-Nanos found that properties with a view of the western side of Wolfe Island, in and around Cape Vincent, prior to turbines being built, commanded a premium of about 10 per cent relative to similar properties. After the turbines were constructed, however, they found a “strong negative impact” on property values. Further, their analysis determined that industrial wind turbines reduce property values on the American mainland by about 15 per cent.

So let’s get this straight. MPAC and its consultant couldn’t detect a significant impact on property values on homes in the shadow of these looming mechanical giants—yet across the channel, an independent research body found homes are worth far less because their view includes industrial wind turbines.

It is obvious to those with eyes that industrial wind turbines impair property values. It is surely why the province wouldn’t tolerate an appeal based on economic or property losses as a result of an industrial wind project located nearby.

Yet the provincial government continues to compel its agencies to tell the public a different story…..

RICK@WELLINGTONTIMES.CA

http://www.wellingtontimes.ca/Times/Clarkson-Nanos%20study.pdf

READ FULL ARTICLE:  http://wellingtontimes.ca/misled/

Subsidy Sam the Turbine

Credit:  By Iain Ramage, Press & Journal

New cartoon character drawn up to combat Turbine mascot

Subsidy-Sam-600x603

 

Tommy the Turbine has a fictional rival to liven up the debate about windfarms.

A leading Highland objector has created “Subsidy Sam” to challenge a character used by the industry.

Sam highlights the massive public subsidies used to finance the technology.

Beauly-based Lyndsey Ward, who today publishes her story online, claims youngsters have been “indoctrinated” by a host of school activities including visits to windfarms. “Tommy the Turbine” is already online and been used in schools in Ireland.

She said: “What’s been happening is similar to what fast food and fizzy drink makers did previously – sponsoring school sports equipment and leaving us with an obesity epidemic.

“The wind industry goes into schools in Scotland and never is the other side of the story told. Youngsters are being brainwashed into thinking we’d be doomed without windfarms.

“It’s a cynical ploy to keep the subsidies flowing into the next generation.”

Caithness campaigner Brenda Herrick successfully fought to have turbines removed from school grounds after a series of incidents involving faulty towers.

She said: “They never tell children how turbines chop up birds, or about the thousands of trees felled to make way for windfarms, or how often blades fly off, or tell children in poor households why their parents can’t afford their energy bills.”

Mrs Ward’s short story is illustrated by St Andrews–based cartoonist “Josh,” who said: “I hate what’s happening to Scotland with the proliferation of turbines killing rare birds and ruining the landscape.”
Neither the SNP nor the trade body Scottish Renewables would comment on “Subsidy Sam”.

The only surviving Highland school turbine is at Scoraig Primary where it is “the primary source of power.”

https://www.wind-watch.org/documents/subsidy-sam-the-turbine/

Lessons in Community

It has become a cliche to say, towns targeted for industrial wind installations are torn apart by the experience. If it’s an experience you haven’t had, you might well wonder what’s behind the cliche. If you really want to understand, you might start by asking the question, what is the nature of the bonds that hold a community together in the first place?

I don’t know about your small town, but in ours, neighborly bonds tend to be of the feel-good type: I do you a kindness and we both benefit. You break your leg? I plow your drive. Your weed whacker is in the shop? I lend you mine. Your brother dies? I go to the funeral, even if I didn’t know him. What a dandy fellow I am, and everyone knows it.

These small acts of kindness do indeed build a sense of community. But as with other relationships, you don’t really know your community until the chips are down. You don’t know what “for better or for worse” means until you get to the “worse” part. You quickly find out, when a wind developer comes knocking on your community door. It’s very bad times, at least for some people. And the fact that people are differently affected depending on where they live is, it turns out, at the heart of what you learn about “community.”

60BE1C5E-4CA2-4E53-ABDD-BC0778470EF3You learn when the friend from over the way regards you with a steely gaze when you tell him, “My home, and my family’s home, are a half mile from five 500-foot tall wind turbines.” “I feel for you,” says your friend, quickly changing the subject.

You learn when you try to explain that your fear and sadness are keeping you awake. “All my family’s wealth is in our family farm, which would lie less than 3,000 feet from five 40-story wind turbines. We won’t be able to live here, and the land owner and developer have said they wouldn’t compensate anyone for lost use of their property.” “Please,” chuckles your friend, “it won’t be that bad.”

You learn when you look at the people who are fighting as hard as you are to stop the wind turbine project and realize that the project will probably not affect them so personally, but that they care about their neighbors who will be harmed. And you know they will be next to you, blocking the road, if the day comes when the unimaginably huge trucks arrive with wind turbine parts.

In our little town, we’ve spent nearly four years watching the company reps of the wind developer, an immense multi-national, mosey about on our ridgeline, trying to answer their precious question, is the “wind resource” on your pristine ridgeline enough for us to make lots of money by putting turbines here?

But we have a question too, and although we’ve looked equally hard for the answer, we can’t find it. Our question is, what will happen to us, as individuals and as a community, if the developer does decide we’re good enough to “host” their project? Who will care for our tattered community, and our damaged lives?

That there is no answer to, or even interest in, our question does not feel good – it feels abusive, unjust. It feels vicious, violent. It feels as if Vermont, my entire family’s beloved adopted home, were the most dangerous place in the world for me and my family to live.

So the days go on, lessons abounding. I learn about mercy, for instance, when I hear my husband on the phone with a “friend,” explaining that turbine noise at a distance of less than half a mile stands a good chance of affecting the development of my infant grandson’s brain. Then I hear my husband, suddenly fierce, say, “I’m not asking you to feel sorry for me!”

Well you know what, my friend? I am asking you to feel sorry for me. I am asking you, god forbid, to have pity on me. I am asking for your mercy. Your answer will tell me something very important about “community.”

Nancy Tips lives in Windham.

Read Article at Burlington Free Press:

http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/opinion/my-turn/2016/04/07/opinion-lessons-community-windham/82752524/

Niagara Wind Project Public Meeting

Want Answers?   Send in your questions in writing.  Meeting open to the public and you are invited to “observe.”

Wednesday April 27, 2016 at 6 pm  Wellandport Community Ctre.47137cd8-49b8-40fa-bcfd-620cb285d213

PROJECT NAME Niagara Region Wind Farm (NRWF)

PROJECT LOCATION The approved project is located within Haldimand County and Niagara Region (including the Townships of Wainfleet and West Lincoln and the Town of Lincoln). The electrical interconnection components are located within the Town of Lincoln and the Township of West Lincoln, in Niagara Region, and in Haldimand County in southern Ontario.

COMMUNITY LIAISON COMMITTEE MEETING

FWRN LP (formerly Niagara Region Wind Corporation) has established a Community Liaison Committee (CLC) for the Niagara Region Wind Farm. The purpose of the CLC is to facilitate two-way communication between Boralex and CLC members with respect to issues relating to the construction, installation, use, operation, maintenance and retirement of the facility. The first CLC meeting was held on September 21, 2015, the second of at least four meetings will be held on April 27, 2016 at 6PM at the Wellandport Community Centre – 5042 Canborough Rd, Wellandport, ON. CLC meetings will be open to the general public for observation.

Dillon Consulting has been retained by NRWF to Chair and Facilitate the CLC process. If you have any questions regarding the CLC, please contact:

Karla Kolli, CLC Chair and Facilitator at kkolli@dillon.ca or 416.229.4647 ext. 2354.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The Niagara Region Wind Farm facility received its Renewable Energy Approval (REA) in 2014. This facility would have a maximum name plate capacity of 230 MW, consisting of 77 turbines (80 potential locations identified).

Background information about the project can be found at http://www.nrwf.ca/projectdocuments/

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PROJECT CONTACT

To learn more about the project, or to communicate questions or comments, please contact:

Shiloh Berriman

Project Coordinator315B7FC2-D6F8-4520-8ED9-83FE07724E4B

Enercon Canada

4672 Bartlett Rd. S. Beamsville, ON L0R 1B1

Phone:  289-683-2563

Email:  shiloh.berriman@enercon.de

 

Board of Health Turbine Motion

Monday, April 18, 2016   by Claire McCormack
Grey Highlands Deputy Mayor keen to see turbine complaints documented

The Deputy Mayor of Grey Highlands is responsible for a motion at this week’s Grey Bruce Board of Health meeting. Grey_Bruce_Health_Unit_2_15

Stewart Halliday is keen to see Pubic Health establish a debriefing system for people who feel they’re suffering from the effects of their proximity to wind turbines.

Halliday says residents want to know their complaints are documented should there ever be some undertaking in which they would prove useful.

He’s suggesting someone at the Health Unit take on the task of documenting people’s cases.

The idea will be before the Board of Health at its April 22nd meeting.

Medical Officer of Health for Grey-Bruce, Doctor Hazel Lynn, believes there is some kind of correlation between turbines and the health of some individuals.

Doctor Lynn completed a 2013 report on the increase of reported cases of headaches, sleeplessness and nausea in areas with wind turbines.

The Huron County Health Unit is currently doing its own survey involving health complaints from residents in that area, which Huron County Medical Officer of Health Janice Owen has been careful to state is not meant to identify a cause of health issues or establish a link between them and turbines.

Meanwhile, Halliday says Grey Highlands is also separately preparing to conduct its own unique tests for infra-sound levels to establish a baseline for future studies.

READ ARTICLE:  http://www.bayshorebroadcasting.ca/news_item.php?NewsID=83833

Wacky World of Ontario Energy Policy.

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About 80 per cent of energy generated by wind turbines in Ontario gets sold ‘at a massive loss’ to the U.S., a University of Guelph professor said. (Matt Young/Associated Press)

There’s not much point in investing in heavy blankets and wool sweaters to tame your hydro bill, because in Ontario, no matter how much electricity you conserve you’ll still end up paying higher rates.

Why? Well, you have the provincial government, and its push for more green energy, to thank.

A balmy winter created a shortfall for the province’s electrical utilities, something the Ontario Energy Board will bridge with a rate hike on May 1 — a response to our collective conservation effort that’s likely to happen again, critics say.

While it may seem counterintuitive to pay more in order to use less, Brady Yauch, the executive director of the Consumer Policy Institute, says the province promised high rates to several sustainable energy providers following the Green Air Act in 2009.

Fixed costs

Those rates contribute to the electricity industry’s fixed costs — and that means those costs stay steady regardless of how much energy people are using.

“This is the wacky world of Ontario electricity policy,” Yauch told CBC’s Metro Morning. “This province has overbuilt the electricity sector significantly and it has to pass on those costs.”

For the average household bill, the latest rate hike translates into a jump of $3 a month, according to the Ontario Energy Board’s figures — or roughly 2.5 per cent for homes that use 750 kilowatt hours each month.

Utilities have some leeway if rate increases are connected to a drop in energy consumption, Yauch said, largely because they’re operating in a framework that was first set up by provincial legislation……

READ MORE @ CBC News:  http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/electricity-ontario-1.3538157

Huron County Medical Officer of Health Departs

Huron_County_Health_Unit_logoHuron County and its acting Medical Officer of Health have “parted ways,” the latest in a string of abrupt departures of senior officials from the county’s health unit.

Bluewater Mayor Tyler Hessel, chair of the Huron County Board of Health, confirmed Friday that Dr. Janice Owen was no longer in the position.

Owen was appointed a year ago.

In 2013, then Medical Officer of Health Dr. Nancy Cameron was dismissed by the board.

In 2008, the county fired the executive director of the health unit for ‘philosophical differences.’

Hessel declined to discuss reasons for Owen’s departure.

“We just parted ways, that’s all I can say,” Hessel said.

“Huron County Board of Health and Dr. Owen have now parted ways, but everything is going to continue moving forward as usual,” he said.

Owen could not be immediately reached for comment.

One of the health unit’s initiatives since her appointment has been a study of the possible health effects of wind farms in Huron County, which has some of the largest turbine installations in the province.

Hessel said Owen’s departure was unrelated to the wind farm issue and that work would be carried on by health unit staff.

Read Article: http://www.lfpress.com/2016/04/15/dr-janice-owen-was-appointed-a-year-ago-and-is-the-latest-in-a-string-of-departures