By BRIAN SHYPULA BEACON HERALD STAFF
SEBRINGVILLE — Organizers of a public meeting are rallying opposition to a proposed industrial wind farm north of Sebringville.
Speakers will give presentations on the adverse effects of turbines, stray voltage and reduced property values at the Aug. 9 meeting in Sebringville.
“Our intent is if people know about it and start to speak up for their rights — in our opinion their rights are being walked on — they’ll have to speak up to the politicians and those making the rules and say, This is not right,’ ” said Tom Melady of the group West and East Perth Against Turbines.
He said the proposed 10-megawatt-per-hour project would see five turbines installed within two kilometres of Sebringville between Roads 130 and 135 to the north of the village.
Leases already have been signed, Melady said. “One of the lease holders has said he has (signed) and we’ve been told that there’s another one on that same concession.”
The leases often come with non-disclosure clauses, so there could be even more, he said.
The province’s FIT website lists the 10-mW/h Festival Zorra Wind Farm at Stratford as the 11th-ranked project of 55 awaiting an economic connection test in the Bruce Transmission Area. Its provincewide ranking is 118. The applicant is Festival Wind Farm LP.
The economic connection test assesses whether ratepayer investment for the grid upgrades required to expand the system capacity is justifiable, according to FIT’s website.
“We believe the company behind it is called Wind Works Power,” said Dean Trentowsky of WEPAT.
He said it’s frustrating trying to learn more about the project.
“They don’t give a lot of information,” he said.
So far, the possibility of wind turbines on their doorstep doesn’t seem to have people in Sebringville concerned.
John Rozic, owner of Village Market Variety, said no one has been talking about it in his store where there is a poster for the meeting at the entrance.
“Not one, and I’m here seven days a week,” he said.
A surprised Line 36 resident said if the turbines are like the tall ones he’s seen near Kincardine, he’s against living near a wind farm.
“We don’t want that, at least I don’t,” said the man, who didn’t want his name used.
“I would say it’s the low-level noise that I would be concerned about,” he said.
Speakers at the meeting will include Barbara Ashbee, who had to abandon her home near a Shelburne turbine due to a persistent hum, buzz and vibration in the house, and Lorrie Gillis of Wind Voice, a self-reporting group on the effects of wind turbines.
Farmer and electrical consultant David Colling will talk about land leases and stray voltage and Mike McMurray, a Grey County realtor, will present on the impact of turbines on real estate values.
“Sebringville, Crystal Lake and right into Stratford, certainly it’s going to dramatically impact real estate values,” Melady said.
The meeting is being held at the Sebringville Community Centre beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Wind turbines are a hot-button issue in Ontario. The province’s Green Energy Act encourages moving away from fossil fuels to cleaner sources of power like wind.
WEPAT and other opponents say the low-frequency noise turbines emit causes health consequences such as headaches, sleeplessness and heart palpitations.
WEPAT earlier this year asked Perth County to support a moratorium on wind farm development until a third-party health study has been completed. County councillors turned down the request Thursday.
Environment Minister John Wilkinson maintains that wind farms are safe when they follow the minimum setbacks and maximum noise allowances put in place by the province.
Arlene King, Ontario’s chief medical officer, also has said they’re safe.
About 300 people attended a similar meeting organized by WEPAT in Stratford last December.