THUNDER BAY – Guest Editorial – Nor’Wester Mountain Escarpment is the site of a proposed wind farm. Dan Fiorito lives in the area that will be most impacted by a proposed wind farm atop the Nor’Wester Mountain Escarpment.
Nor’Wester Mountain Escarpment
Dear Members of City of Thunder Bay Council and Honorable Members of Parliament;
I would like to share with you the results of a recent court decision which happened on the same day that Horizon Wind (registry no: 011-8937) was granted the go ahead basically for their wonderful wind farm to be located in my front yard (please review the attached photo, it’s based on information and data provided to me by Kathleen McKenzie of Horizon Wind, she wouldn’t deny that my photo was relatively accurate, so I accepted it as fact, she was given the opportunity to provide a true picture, however declined). I’ve cc’d her on this email, so please Kathleen, feel free to respond and provide a better picture if you’d like.
The lawyer involved with the court case is the same one a number of residents have spoken with at length about a potential suit against both Horizon and the City of Thunder Bay. Based on the facts in this case, I feel we would have a strong case against both of them should we opt to pursue legal action. Even the wind developer in this case clearly admitted that there is potential for both health concerns as well as the reality that property values do in fact depreciate to the tune of 22-50%, based on my research, I and the bulk of the residents on my cul-du-sac (Broad Oaks Place) will lose approximately 35-50% value in their properties.
I choose to build in this area in 1999 based on several factors, the view shed, the proximity to town, the great neighborhood and the shear fact of knowing it was one of the most desirable areas to live in. Now, based on your uneducated decision to allow this to go forward without truly seeking out the facts on these farms, now granted a lot of the information wasn’t available at the time, and yes, it was the previous council who made the decision to go ahead with it (oh wait, that was about 80% of you), I must now suffer the consequences. Since 1999 my taxes have gone from $2685 to just shy of $5000.00 I have one of the worst roads in the city, no curbs or sidewalks to speak of, a poor drainage ditch in the front, a culvert I was forced to put in and then have it heavily damaged by city employees etc.. It frustrates me to no end knowing that if this wind farm is in fact built, I will lose almost 50% value in my property, I’ll then have to fight even harder to have may taxes reduced (who wins then? No one that’s who). Well, I can assure you, someone, be it the city of Thunder Bay thru a lawsuit or Horizon thru the same, someone needs to compensate us. You can’t expect us to simply give up, accept it and go away do you? Your messing with our futures, our children’s futures.
I along with several other people have spent thousands of hours, yes it’s been that many since 2009, doing everything we can to stop this madness, we presented volumes of information to city council, you had several options available to you, but you simply caved to Horizon’s lawsuit. Now you’ll probably face several others, and who really wins? If I win, the city/Horizon loses, if you win, your loyal tax payers lose in several ways. You kept saying (city of Thunder Bay), it’s out of our hands, it’s up to the province, it was an easy cop out and you ran with it.
It’s funny how the Liberal Party was all in favor of supporting the residents at election time, we received letters of support, Linda Jeffery said in no uncertain terms would it be allowed to go ahead, recently Kathleen Wynn said something similar to the local First Nations Members at an event at Lakehead University. Cities all across this great province of ours are fighting these monstrosities in every town and village, pitting family against family, neighbour against neighbour, all in the name of big bucks for the energy companies, many of whom no doubt contribute huge sums of cash to the party. The Liberal Party didn’t fare so well in the rural area’s did they!
So Honorable Members of the City of Thunder Bay and those Honorable Members of Parliament I have addressed, thanks for costing myself and my neighbors so much. We’ll remember you all at election time. This is a legacy that will cost everyone in the end, dearly.
Dan Fiorito – a NIMBY by any other name
Ontario court allows lawsuits against wind company and landowners … just a matter of time
Court Accepts 22% to 50% Loss of Property Values is Occurring Today; Court and Wind Company also Acknowledge Health and Noise Issues in Context of Motion
TORONTO, April 23, 2013 /CNW/ – In a decision released late yesterday, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has determined that while residents of Clearview Township cannot bring claims for a proposed industrial wind project at this time, the ruling is “without prejudice to the plaintiffs’ rights to commence an action for identical or similar relief when and if the Fairview Wind Project receives the necessary approvals to be constructed.” [Para. 6]
The court has specifically recognized that claims against wind companies and against landowners who agree to host wind turbines are possible as soon as projects receive approval. [Para. 37] “There are many people who have been waiting to see how the courts would respond to these types of claims” said lawyer Eric Gillespie, whose firm acts for the plaintiffs in the actions. “It now seems clear that as soon as a project is approved residents can start a claim. This appears to be a major step forward for people with concerns about industrial wind projects across Ontario.”
In addition, Gillespie’s firm acts for other clients in areas where wind projects have been approved. “Dozens of plaintiffs who have already started actions appear to have had the right to bring claims validated” he said. “We can definitely expect more claims now that this door has been opened.”
The plaintiffs also filed extensive expert evidence, which was unchallenged by the defendant wind company WPDCanada Limited and landowners. For the purposes of the motion, the defendants took the position that this evidence should be taken as proven and the court adopted this submission. [Para. 8]
After reviewing the evidence of appraiser Ben Lansink, the court states: “(i)n summary, the plaintiffs’ evidence shows that they have already suffered harm through a loss in property values and the corresponding interference with the use and enjoyment of their properties.” [Para. 9] “The plaintiffs have filed expert appraisal evidence indicating that their properties are likely presently devalued by between 22 to 50 per cent or more, based upon the Proposal as presented.” [Para. 31] “… :(I)n this case the court accepts that the plaintiffs have suffered, and are currently suffering, losses culminating in diminished property values …” [Para. 34, emphasis added]
The court also received evidence from Dr. Robert McMurtry, a medical doctor and internationally recognized and published author on the health effects of industrial wind turbines, that in his view: “there is … a high probability that the proposal will cause one or more of the following adverse effects to the plaintiffs` properties: audible noise, low frequency noise, infrasound, visual impact and/or shadow flicker. There is also a high probability that the proposal will cause one or more of the following adverse health effects at the plaintiffs’ properties: sleep disturbance, annoyance, headache, tinnitus, ear pressure, dizziness, vertigo, nausea, visual blurring, tachycardia, irritability, problems with concentration and memory, and/or panic episodes.”
The court also had evidence from Mr. Richard James, an Institute of Noise Control Engineering (INCE) acoustician, who concluded: “[i]n my professional opinion, the [project] poses a very strong probability almost amounting to a mathematical certainty that the project will … (e)xceed the MOE 40 dBA thresholds for wind turbine noise …”
While the court concluded that since the project design etc. may change there is no way of knowing that these effects will in fact occur [see for example Para. 41], “(t)he fact that a major wind company and a court accepted this kind of evidence as being proven on this motion appears to be unprecedented” said John Wiggins, who together with his wife Sylvia commenced the initial lawsuit. “Government and wind proponents around the world have been denying for many years that turbines devalue properties and cause adverse health effects. To have a multi-national wind company and a court agree that these kinds of problems can be taken as proven elsewhere in the context of this motion, and that a court accepts property losses of 22 to 50% or more are in fact already occurring in Ontario right now, appears to be a real victory.”
SOURCE: Cunningham & Gillespie LLP
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