Report on May 24th ERT Hearing on Human Health Appeal
APPEC witness Nicole Horton completed her testimony begun on May 17. The Environmental Review Tribunal heard the full testimony of APPEC’s final two post-turbine witnesses, Janet White and Roger Olivera.
Cross-examination of Nicole Horton
Sylvia Davis, lawyer for the Ministry of the Environment (MOE), referred Ms. Horton to specific complaints in her medical records in the years before the Kruger Energy wind project commenced operations and to complaints since then. After the turbines started in fall 2008 Ms. Horton has suffered headaches, heart palpitations, internal body vibrations, fatigue, loss of concentration and memory, swollen and dry eyes, and body rashes that left permanent scarring.
Ms. Davis noted that Ms. Horton’s second child, born in 2006, screamed for the first three months. If this child had been born in 2009, isn’t it fair to say that Ms. Horton would have blamed the wind turbines? Ms. Horton replied that the difference is that her son stopped screaming after three months. She criticized Ms. Davis for creating patterns where none exists.
Bryn Gray, lawyer for Gilead Power, asked about Ms. Horton’s home in relation to the turbines. Ms. Horton said that turbines are on both sides of her home: Two are less than 700 m away and two others not much farther. There are also four turbines in each of the next two concessions over.
Ms. Horton agreed with Mr. Gray that her doctor has never told her she has wind turbine syndrome. Mr. Gray asked Ms. Horton what her doctor has said. Ms. Horton noted a referral letter written by her doctor that makes reference to secondary vibration from wind turbine exposure. Ms. Horton told Mr. Gray that, as far as she can speak for her doctor, the doctor believes she is affected by the wind turbines.
Examination of Janet White
Ms. White, a resident of Wolfe Island, spoke about her inability to sleep at night. Before the wind turbines started up Ms. White was a sound sleeper. Now she awakes every night between 1:30 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. and remains awake. Ms. White has not enjoyed her life on Wolfe Island since 2008 when the noise of the turbines began disturbing her own and her entire family’s sleep.
Ms. White explained why she waited two years to make a complaint. She said that when other residents complained she saw no one was listening. But one day when she woke up, the windows of her home were rattling. She complained to the company. The reply she received months later from the company was full of inaccuracies and did nothing to remedy her complaint.
Cross-examination of Janet White
Ms. Davis referred Ms. White to various complaints she has made during her annual physical examinations since the wind project started up, including fatigue, back pain and swelling in her hands. Ms. Davis noted that there is no mention in the medical records of wind turbines. Ms. White said that the subject was dismissed when she spoke to a doctor at the Queen’s Family Medical Centre in Kingston. She has not raised it with a doctor since.
Ms. Davis referred Ms. White to an article called “Wrecking our Heaven” in the Kingston-Whig Standard, January 2012. Ms. White said she still believes that Wolfe Islanders are lab rats and no one cares about her children. She still believes some sort of land grab is going on. The Whites live on a 400-year-old property on prime Lake Ontario waterfront. The property should have been respected for its historic significance, but it wasn’t.
Re-examination of Janet White
Ms. White’s bedroom has brick walls with no windows. Nonetheless, she is awakened by the noise of the wind turbines every night. At times she and her husband and their two children are all awake at 3:30 a.m.
Examination of Roger Olivera
Mr. Olivera confirmed his former residence as receptor 232 of Phase II of the Melancthon wind facility. Mr. Olivera, a carpenter by trade, described his dream to build his own home. In 2001 he purchased the property and started construction. He moved into his new home in 2004.
Mr. Olivera was in good health until November 2008 when the wind turbines began operating. Mr. Olivera’s sleep was severely impacted to the point where he could no longer function properly. He could no longer think straight and felt a sense of hopelessness and despair that something like this could be happening. Sleeping pills prescribed by his doctor worked at first, but then he started awakening again at night. He sought help from social workers and went to a walk-in clinic. He was advised to get away from his home. This advice was extremely upsetting; he had built his home with his own hands and was now going to lose it. He left his home because there was nothing else he could do in order to feel better. Mr. Olivera sold his home in 2011 at a loss. He is getting proper sleep now and is feeling better overall.
Cross-examination of Roger Olivera
Mr. Olivera said that when he was driving home one day in 2005 he saw the Melancthon Phase I project. He had not received any notices and had not seen anything in the newspaper. When he went to the Township office for information he was referred to a website.
Ms. Davis said that on the map it does seem that turbines are everywhere around Mr. Olivera’s property and that whenever Mr. Olivera was outside his home, no matter where he looked, he was going to see turbines. Mr. Olivera agreed with the comments. He agreed that the wind project felt like an intrusion.
Ms. Davis went on to note that Mr. Olivera was not only seeing the turbines but hearing them. Mr. Olivera said he would be awakened in the middle of the night by the noise. Whenever he woke up, he could hear the turbines.
Ms. Davis asked Mr. Olivera if the noise hadn’t been turbines but had been a highway instead would it have bothered him. Mr. Olivera thought that a highway possibly might have. Ms. Davis asked whether it would have bothered him if the municipality had thought it a good idea to erect a huge condominium. Mr. Olivera said probably not because there would be no noise.
ERT Panel Questions
Heather Gibbs asked about the impact of the turbines on the property. Mr. Olivera said that the closest turbine was 481 m from his property. Ms. Davis interrupted to ask Mr. Olivera whether this is the distance to the property or to the centre of the residence. Mr. Olivera believed it to be to the corner of his property. He was not aware that the MOE measures to the centre of a residence.