• Outcry over Wind Turbines in Niagara Region

    Outcry over Wind Turbines in Niagara Region The preliminary hearing for Niagara Region Wind Corp’s (NRWC) wind turbine project begins this Friday at the Wellandport Community Centre. Although the Ministry of the Environment approved this project earlier in the year, Mothers Against Wind Turbines Inc. (MAWT) filed an appeal late last month to which the Environmental Commissioner hastily responded with a tribunal. The official hearing will commence on January 19th, 2015.

    NRWC intends to construct 77 wind turbines across West Lincoln, Lincoln, Wainfleet, Haldimand and West Niagara. Each will stand 135m tall with blades 101m in diameter; collectively these turbines will generate an estimated 230MW of renewable power. Turbines of this size are not typically situated so close to communities, the premise of MAWT’s rebuke.

    Traditionally, residents resist wind power because of the environmental and economic consequences. Cost aside, people worry about the community’s appearance as well as the threat posed to birds and other wildlife. Recently, however, these concerns have shifted towards human health, in particular a condition called wind-turbine syndrome. MAWT refers to a Health Canada publication in this respect, which states 16.5% of residents within 2km of wind turbines experience negative health effects.

    Wind-turbine syndrome manifests in one of four ways. First, although inaudible, infrasound can alter ear-cell sensitivity and cause pulsation—rapid volume fluctuation. Second, it can stimulate the nerves in the utricle and semi-circular canals, thus provoking eye movement and muscle tension. Third, low-level frequencies can create endolymphatic hydrops, a condition that prompts spells of dizziness, pressure or nausea. This condition, however, is easily recoverable from and has few long-standing health concerns. Lastly, research posits potential hearing loss due to infrasound. Note that wind-turbine syndrome is substantially supported, though studies have yet to fully examine prolonged exposure to infrasound.

    Categories: Hot Topics in Niagara, Medical News

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