Wind turbine neighbours could find their land at risk: wind activists

Lambton wind activists are warning landowners they could be at risk even if they don’t have a wind turbine on their property.

Lambton Shores is soon to be home to two major wind projects. Suncor Energy plans to build a solar project with 62 industrial turbines and NextEra Energy’s plan has 92 turbines. Middlesex Lambton Wind Concern spokesperson Marcelle Brooks says a little known part of the regulations for turbines allows for boundary setback reductions. It basically means the giant turbines could be placed very close to the property lines of people who don’t want turbines on their land.

Suncor is applying for 21 boundary setback reductions and NextEra is looking for 39.

“It benefits the host property owner,” says Brooks. “The companies are putting the access roads close to the turbines as close to the property line as possible so they don’t chop up the farmer’s field.”

But she says in the case of a massive failure of the turbines, they could land on the neighbour’s property. “If it did fall into the neighbours property, you’re going to have not only the blade length of 50 meters but you’re going to potentially have another 20 meters of hub and turbine tower come crashing into your field. A hub and rotor weighs 144 tonnes…that’s going to make a pretty big hole.”

Brooks adds the 750 litres of oil in the turbine will end up on the land, too. “They’ve just contaminated your field.”

But she says it may not be that dramatic. Turbines throw ice during cold weather. In Chatham-Kent, some turbine sites warn people to stay over 300 meters away for fear of ice throws. “Any grazing animals are at risk… what if you have a snowmobile trail through your property? What if you hike? What if you ski? …What if your bush happen to be tapped commercially for maple syrup? How is ice throw going to affect your trees? How are you going to be compensated?”

Middlesex Lambton Wind Concerns is holding a public meeting on the issue Friday (Feb. 8) starting at 7pm at Kimball Hall in Forest. Brooks hopes landowners will come out to hear what they may face in the future.

“Landowners have to realize their land is at risk and they have to fight for it…I can show you your land is at risk …but I can’t fight on your behalf.”

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