NEWS

Wind Farm Lawsuit: Michaud Family Claims Health Ruined

09/21/2011 05:19 EDT | Updated 11/21/2011 05:12 EST
CP
TORONTO - A southwestern Ontario family is suing over a wind farm they claim is damaging their health.

The Michaud family of Thamesville claims they have suffered vertigo, nausea and sleep disruption caused by the Kent Breeze wind farm.

The wind farm, which began operating in May 2011, consists of eight turbines, the closest of which is 1,146 metres from the Michaud's property.

In a statement of claim filed Tuesday in Toronto, the Michauds claim the wind farm constitutes a nuisance and is a non-natural use of the neighbouring property.

The statement of claim, which contains allegations that haven't been proven in court, says the effects of the wind farm have caused pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of normal use of their property.

The family is seeking damages totalling $1.5 million from defendants Kent Breeze Corp., MacLeod Windmill Project Inc. and Suncor Energy Services Inc. and wants the court to shut down the wind farm.

"We don't want to leave and have to start new somewhere else," Lisa Michaud said Wednesday.

Michaud, 46, said they also launched the suit for other people who might find a wind farm next to their property.

"We don't want other people who are content where they are ... (to have to) start the same process that we're going through right now," she said.

Her husband, Michel, 53, said the effect of the turbines has made him less able to concentrate on his work as a renovator.

"When you lie in bed at night you feel a vibration on your body ... you don't realize it but you haven't been sleeping well," he said. "I can't concentrate as much at work."

The Michauds contend Suncor failed to take measures to prevent noise or sound from causing a nuisance to them or to mitigate the noise once "it was reasonably known, or ought to have been known, to cause a nuisance."

The Michaud's lawyer, Eric Gillespie, said Suncor knew wind turbines can cause adverse health effects before the project went ahead.

"This case has successfully shown that the debate should not be simplified to one about whether wind turbines can cause harm to humans," the Environmental Review Tribunal stated in a report on the Kent Breeze project. "The evidence presented to the tribunal demonstrates they can, if facilities are placed too close to residents."

The tribunal heard symptoms including sleep disturbance, headache and problems with concentration and memory could be attributed to wind turbines.

Dr. G. Leventhall, a witness for Suncor at the tribunal, said there are always some people who will suffer adverse effects from the sound of wind turbines.

Last week, a southwestern Ontario couple went to court saying they are being blocked in their efforts to determine if wind turbines cause any adverse health effects.

Shawn and Tricia Drennan's farm north of Goderich sits in the proposed Kingsbridge II wind farm and one turbine will be about 650 metres from their house.

The Drennans want the court to void non-disclosure agreements so they can discuss health issues with people who sold their properties near another area wind farm.