1. 2011-04-29 Ripley Wind Project company buys out four homes
“Ripley Wind Project company buys out four homes”
By Troy Patterson | Kincardine News
‘[excerpt] Four homes within the 38-turbine, 76-megawatt Ripley Wind Power Project have been purchased by owners Suncor and Acciona Energy, as a solution to resolve the ongoing issues some residents within the project have been dealing with since it was built in 2007.
Acciona’s Paul Austin said the companies have worked with the Ripley stakeholders for some time, determining “it was in the best interest of the project, the companies and the community to purchase the homes.”
Austin said by offering the residents “market value” for their homes, it would allow them to move so the companies could resell the homes to other interested parties.
“We take the concerns of all our stakeholders seriously,” said Austin, adding they’ve been working with local stakeholders to answer questions and understand their concerns since the project began.
“After a prolonged period of consultation that involved a number of third-party studies and tests, it was agreed upon that the only solution that could meet the needs of this small group of local landowners was to purchase their homes.”
The final agreement was reached on March 16, after the prices were determined by independent appraisers.
Local anti-wind power group Huron-Kinloss Against Lakeside Turbines (HALT) jumped on the information after they were provided documents they provided to The Kincardine News that linked the sales to numbered companies, one owned by a manager with Suncor and the other a manager for Acciona.
In a HALT media release, president Mac Serra said although the homeowners have been gagged by the sale process, they know the families of the four homes sold, out of five that were dealing with health issues, have been fighting the companies for years, “over their inability to lead normal lives in their own homes caused by the Ripley Wind Power Project.”
“If there are no health effects from industrial wind turbines as their proponents claim, then why would wind plant operators buy the homes of wind victims,” said Serra.’
Julian N. Falconer, Falconer Charney LLP to Brian Shiller
August 31, 2011
‘[excerpt] It is our understanding that you acted as counsel in respect of agreements arrived at with wind turbine companies. We further understand that you represented the following six affected parties in this regard: Ross and Helen Forester, Kent Wylds, Glen Wylds, Barbara Basser, John and Sandra MacLeod, and Barbara Ashbee.
We further understand the agreements for which you were counsel pertained, in the case of the first five of the above affected parties, to residences in or around Ripley […] The wind turbine companies that were parties to these agreements were Suncor Energy Projects Inc. and Acciona Wind Energy Projects Inc.
Finally in respect of the sixth affected parties listed above […] who resided in Amaranth, the involved wind turbine company was Canadian Hydro Developers, Inc. wholly owned and operated by TransAlta Corporation. […]
Could you please obtain instructions with a view to the affected parties being interviewed by representatives of our office regarding what effects (health or otherwise), if any, that the wind turbines had on them personally?’
Brian Shiller to Julian N. Falconer
September 8, 2011
‘[excerpt] I will not be able to produce any of these individuals as they are prohibited by agreement from answering the questions referred to in your letter.’ [emphasis added]
4. 2009-04-15 Ontario Hansard Green Energy and Green Economy Act
Legislative Assembly of Ontario
First Session, 39th Parliament
Official Report of Debates (Hansard)
Wednesday 15 April 2009
Chair: David Orazietti
Standing Committee on General Government
Green Energy and Green Economy Act, 2009
‘[excerpt] Ms. Barbara Ashbee-Lormand:
“There’s this horrible hum and vibration in our house. It just drives you mad. It’s been there for the last six days. I’m sorry. It comes and goes, but it’s so loud you can’t sleep, and it’s coming through the walls. The buried cable transmission lines go up the side of our property—we’re on one acre—and I don’t know if it’s electrical coming through the ground in our house or what it is. We’re looking for a rental now because we can’t stay there.
When I hear people say, “There aren’t problems,” and “It’s all in their heads,” and they’re just unhappy because they don’t have a turbine, I don’t even know what to do. My government has not been helping. My MPP, thank God, has been active in trying to work on my behalf with the government, giving everybody my story, and my council has been good, but I’m not getting anything back from anybody.
This hum and vibration is not covered in the guide-lines. There are no guidelines for interior noise in our house. When the winds are whipping up, and we can’t sleep for days and days at a time, there’s nothing. You phone the MOE and I cannot tell you how many times I heard, “We’re in compliance. We’re in compliance.” They’re in compliance. They’re in compliance. In fact, they weren’t in compliance. Finally, we dragged it out and got the acoustics study back. It’s just been such a fight to get information. Now they’re shutting five turbines down at night, and I thank them for that because that’s helping with the noise, but this vibration in the house is horrible, it’s absolutely horrible. Nobody should have to live like that, and I can’t believe the government hasn’t intervened and sent someone to our house to test for dirty electricity or whatever it is. It’s unconscionable, it just is.
We didn’t want to speak out in December. Finally, I gave up and I started writing letters because I didn’t know what to do because now our property value is zero. If I could move out of there, I’d have a for sale sign, we’d be gone, but we can’t sell our house. We’re into the fourth month and a couple of weeks ago a wind company head office guy came and talked to us. We’ve talked to so many people. He said, “Okay, I’ll see you in a month.” I’m like, “A month? We’ve gone on far enough.”
Here we are, we can’t move. We have nobody helping us. Yes, they’re doing their best, but look at the size of the company and look at the number of turbines they have up in Canada, and they can’t fix that problem. If you guys are going to go push more through—and then, because I came out and starting speaking, I’ve got people all over the province phoning me and saying, “Help us. We’re not getting anywhere with our MPP. Nobody’s listening to us.” And I’m trying to help, I’m trying to get the word out, I’m trying to get—
Ms. Barbara Ashbee-Lormand: Excuse me? I’m just saying, they’re phoning me and I’m saying, “Phone your MPP and tell them they have to get the message to the higher-ups.” I keep getting told, “We’ve written letters, we’re getting phone calls,” and they’re having problems. My MPP’s awesome. She’s been fantastic, she’s been very helpful and I said that my town council has been trying its best to help us also. There are other people on our farm who are having problems. They’re not necessar-ily speaking out yet. They’re phoning me, and that’s fine. I have no problem with that. I would never, ever, ever put anybody’s privacy at issue or say anything, but there are lot more people than even you know or have heard from. […]Ms. Barbara Ashbee-Lormand: No. The wind com-pany is shutting five down at night. They recognize they have a problem, and finally when we got the acoustics report, it was there in black and white. It took a long time—
Mr. John Yakabuski: That’s evidence that there’s a problem, if they’re shutting them down.
Ms. Barbara Ashbee-Lormand: There’s absolutely a problem. But the one behind us is shut down permanent-ly, and then they’re running four during the day—three to four—on low rpm so that they’re not emitting as much noise as the other ones, and then they shut them down at night. But this vibration is just absolutely horrible, and it comes and it goes. Other people have heard it. We had a councillor in. We phoned her one day. Actually, I was in school and my husband phoned her to come in, because we were trying to get people to experience it that we—that’s the first time I had actually met her; I had been to council meetings, but I hadn’t actually met her. I was trying to get people to feel it. It’s a horrible, horrible feeling, and it’s a humming—‘
‘[excerpt] Ms. Sandy MacLeod:
Emotional and social stresses: We are quizzed or defending our health problems at community events such as hockey games, shopping or church. Dysfunctional community relations have been created by the wind project representatives and some community members trying to discredit the validity of our problems.
The family unit for each family has deteriorated and has been torn apart. We begged for sleep, and four families were billeted by the wind company from their homes for 90 to 180 days in motels, hotels and a rooming house. The consistent stress has broken apart the family unit—no gatherings, few or no celebrations at home. At present, one family has purchased a separate residence to live in, and two others had to, at the expense of thousands of dollars, modify their hydro connection to try and live in their homes that they’ve lived in for 19 to 35 years.
Due to concerns for the health of grandchildren, grandparents, older children, extended family members and friends, we all strongly discourage extended visits to our homes. We had to meet somewhere else other than our homes for celebrations.
Neighbours, business acquaintances and media per-sonnel from two different networks have also felt the pressure in the chest and ears and ringing in the ears while in our homes. In an open invitation to the Premier and any other politicians and their families to pack their bags and live in one of our members’ homes for two weeks, our MPP suggested that we might trade by living beside a pig barn or beside a grain elevator. […]Sleep deprivation; sleep disturbances; poor-quality sleep; humming in the head by the ears; edginess; a feel-ing as if you’ve had five cups of coffee; bad temper; heart palpitations; heaviness in the chest; pains in the chest like needles; increased blood pressure, 217 over 124; uncontrollable ringing in the ears; earaches; sore eyes, like you have sand in them; digestive problems which continued for months; headaches which caused you to be bedridden; the sensation of your skin crawling or being bitten by bugs; sore joints; nosebleeds; sores on feet that would not heal until you moved out of your home; inability to concentrate or form words; a severe feeling of being unwell; bedridden for days; depression; tiredness; anxiety; stress—these are the signs and symptoms we have experienced over the past 17 months. Note that the above all start to subside when you leave the polluted environment of your home. The health changes are individual. Even the pets are affected while in the home—losing hair, sore ears—but not when away from the home.
The long-term health effects have also started to show. There’s an increased sensitivity to certain sounds and high-frequency lighting, such as in the local stores, and in this room as well. You feel ill upon entering the building. Hearing difficulty has occurred. What other effects will occur?
Just like the first group of smokers, we counted on the government we hired and paid our tax money to, to have intelligently had all the facts determined before any wind project began.
Who is accountable for the unseen health changes occurring within our bodies from basically living in a vibrating microwave? What protection is there for a developing two-year-old who cries endlessly and pulls at her ears when she’s in her home, but not when she’s away from the project? Who’s accountable to the young family who are expecting their second child? What if there’s a deformity or a miscarriage resulting from infra-sound, low-frequency sound and the electrical pollution?
The health costs of four families have impacted the health insurance plan 61 times, strictly for health problems due to the two factors stated previously. I had a local hospital finance department calculate a rough estimate for the bill of one family member—$5,000 for one family member. Fourteen ER visits; 19 doctor visits; seven specialist visits, for ear, foot and heart; blood work, six times; audiologist, five times; CT scans, twice; heart machines and stress tests, five; Doppler testing, one; X-ray, one; urine tests, one—do the math. This is just four families so far. Who’s going to pay for the health costs due to the health effects of wind projects?‘
‘[excerpt] Mr. Glen Wylds: Thank you, Sandy. I’m Glen Wylds. I live in the middle of the Ripley wind farm. I’m going to talk about the financial impact, the cost, to us as the homeowners.
Each family has incurred additional costs from bud-gets for food, fuel, laundry and doctor visits while living away from our homes. Family events had to be held in restaurants. There is wear and tear on our vehicles. There is the extra cost of extensive phone bills from trying to get the problems fixed. There is the price of putting isolators on our homes to protect our families from the unfiltered power. There’s the cost of going to meetings. There’s loss of productivity due to sleep deprivation. A loss of three weeks from work occurred. […]My real estate agent tells me our farm is unsellable. Our homes are unsellable or of zero value. Buying a second home to live in, which I’ve done—possible lawyer fees, possible appraisal costs. Our lives are upside down for the last 18 months, and how do you put a cost on that? This is like someone committing a crime, going to jail for, say, 10 years and then finding out after DNA tests, “Oh, you’re innocent.” How do you get that time back at our ages? There have been other costs to Ontario Hydro and Hydro One for testing our problems, which were not caused by them. Values of houses near us are going down. The township lost tax base assessment. I and Sandy have appealed to MPAC to reassess our homes. The drugs are covered, and also to our own drug plans we’re going to have to pay more money—and the Min-ister of the Environment.
Communications: There has been no progress report on what is happening from the companies. Larry Bester, who is the manager at Acciona, will not return our calls. There’s no follow-up from the wind project about our health issues. Carol Mitchell had a meeting with us in Kincardine approximately two months ago. We have had no reply from her. I know she’s been talking to Suncor. I think two months is unreasonable. Ripley Wind Farm did not give us minutes of any meetings, so nothing is documented legally. No communication from the wind projects when the underground cable failed— […]I was the one with the blood pressure of 217 over 124, on the verge of a heart attack. I had no blood pressure problems prior to that. My doctor told me, “Leave the home.” I was the one with the blood pressure of 217 over 124, on the verge of a heart attack. I had no blood pressure problems prior to that. My doctor told me, “Leave the home.”
Ms. Sandy MacLeod: The same with myself.
Mr. Glen Wylds: My blood pressure is normal now, living in Kincardine. I go home to do chores. We run a feedlot of 550 cattle, so I do have to go back and forth.
Mr. John Yakabuski: I look at the report on doctors’ visits, and I cannot believe that anybody would in-tentionally—I know how much I like to go to the doctor, but I can’t believe that anybody would want to be going to the doctor this many times and that different kinds of doctors would suggest that obviously they’ve got some kind of a health issue. It just seems that the government is not interested in addressing them or responding to them.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Linda Jeffrey): Thirty seconds to respond.
Ms. Sandy MacLeod: The sound that you hear is 24/7 in my house and it’s even more intense than this; this is as close as I could find to it—non-stop, and that’s low compared to a windy night and it’s after we’ve had our house filtered. I was the one who had heart attack symptoms on February 22. I had it for the first time in 27 years of teaching; I’ve taught over 4,000 students in my 27 years. I’ve seen 17 of them pass. I’ve seen my father-in-law pass of cancer. I’ve seen my dad pass of cancer. I’ve never been so very sick. I was in the hospital with heart attack symptoms. The hospital, after seven and a half hours, was able to get all of my symptoms down to normal.
I had doctor’s orders at that time to stay away from work and also to stay away from my home until modifi-cations were done. My husband and I spent an extensive amount of money to get electrical pollution done. For ex-ample, last night the turbines were really loud. I haven’t had a chance to call the spills action centre on them, but they were loud last night. It was difficult to get to sleep, even till 3 o’clock in the morning. Helen herself also had difficulty sleeping.
Glen Wylds: The one common thing that we all have—it isn’t just the towers; it’s the transmission line with the dirty electricity going to the transformer station, going past our homes. The transmission line was 92 feet from my bed.
What happened was, they put us in different motels and paid for it, for them to bury the cable in front of our homes, which they did. In my case, it failed about two weeks later. In the middle of a snowstorm, instead of just leaving the wind farm down, they had K-Line out there jumping the insulators—because the lines were never taken down—to get the power back on.
This is all about money.
Ms. Laurel C. Broten: Thank you for your pres-entation today. I am sorry that the wind farm has caused you these health issues and has caused grief for your families.‘
Other Supporting Documents
Feb 20, 2009 HGC Engineering report, Ashbee-Lormand residence
from Howe Gastmeier Chapnik Limited (HGC Engineering), Brian Howe, PEng, and Megan Munro
to Mr. Bryan Tripp, Canadian Hydro Developers, Inc.
Re: Canadian Hydro Developers, Inc.
Melancthon EcoPower Center, Melancthon Township, Ontario
Acoustical Investigation – Lormand Residence – 335498 7th Line, Amaranth, Ontario
Page 7: “Considering these facts in the analysis of the data in Figures 2 though (sic) 4, it can be seen that in general the L90 sound level (which represents steady sound from all sources) is generally 5 to 10 dB above the numeric limits of the MOE criteria derived based on wind speed during many time periods when the wind turbines were operational. This result is consistent in both the December and January measured sound level data.”
Page 13: “Figure 2: Sound Levels Measured at the Lormand Residence.
Comparison to Wind Speeds and Criteria. Canadian Hydro, Melancthon EcoPower Center.”
(18 pages including lands titles documents & corporation profile reports)
Pages 1-11: land transfer documents, 4 properties in Huron-Kinloss, Ripley, Ontario
transferred to 2270573 Ontario Inc.
Alejandro Salvador Armendariz, Director
Christina Ellerbeck, Director
on behalf of the Transferees
Pages 12–16: Corporation Profile Report – 2270573 Ontario Inc.
Administrators: Alejandro Salvador Armendariz, Director & Christina Ellerbeck, Director
Page 17: Arizona Corporation Commission
Acciona Solar Energy Inc.
Alejandro Salvador Armendariz
333 W. Wacker Dr.
Chicago, IL 60606
Christina Ellerbeck, Manager
Marketing & Business Development, Renewable Energy
Suncor Energy Services Inc.
P.O. Box 38, 112 4th Ave SW
Calgary AB, T2P 2V5
7. 2011-03-24 Wind farm application called priority
8. 2011-04-29 Ripley Wind Project company buys out four homes
9. 2011-05-01 Acciona to remarket homes near Ripley says Austin
10. 2011-10-01 CBC Ont wind power bringing down property values
UPDATE: See interview with Sandy MacLeod in “Down Wind”, produced by Surge Media and hosted by Rebecca Thompson https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55-jBCjtJ88