Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Mr. Smitherman

Now that the wind turbines are up and running and keeping people awake at night, you'd think the underhandedness and deceit would be over. Well, think again. This past Thursday, there was an almost secret celebration for the administrators, politicians and the occasional supporter of the wind farms. I use the word secret, in that the event was not publicized, only certain people were issued invitations, and, my favorite part, a contingency of law enforcement officers were dispatched to subdue any would be protesters!

Energy Minister George Smitherman was the catch of the day at the 'Grand Opening' of the Wolfe Island Wind Project. His impending visit was kept very quiet, apparently because Smitherman was "deathly afraid" he would face protests at the event as he did in KIncardine in April. Well, the brave and courageous Mr. Smitherman dodged that bullet with the help of dozens of policemen who really weren't needed since most of us dangerous and rebellious law breakers WENT TO WORK AS USUAL!

The government released some of the details of the visit on Wednesday afternoon confirming that Smitherman and Environment Minister John Gerretsen would be at the Wolfe Island event, but it offered no site address and told reporters they had to RSVP, but did not say how to do that.

Reporters could have found out the details had they known the prospective guests. How they would have figured that one out is anybody's guess. The couple who had to move because the quality of air was compromised by the traffic on their road was not invited. The residents who dealt daily with an overloaded boat were not invited. The people who live with the flicker of the lights from the turbines were not invited. The people who cannot sleep nights with the infinite noise of the blades were not invited. And the people who drive daily on sub standard roads were not invited. Once again, the residents of Wolfe Island are inconsequential and disrespected.

Who was invited? Lots of politicians on all levels, the higher ups of Canadian Hydro, and the upper echelons of Wolfe Island society (HAHAHA, just kidding about that part!).It was a back patting sort of affair, made to make people feel important about themselves, and, at the same time, safe from those scary protesters.

You can run Mr. Smitherman, but you can't hide...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


One of the local farmers having fun with his windmill.

With all this negative blogging, it's time to have a little fun with the windmills.  Here are a few things that just might bring a chuckle to your lips.

#1 Despite the fact that the residents of Wolfe Island were told there would be little or not bird deaths attributed to the turbines, someone has been hired whose sole job is to seek out dead birds!

#2 Some of the most ardent supporters of the wind farm are now complaining about noise!

#3  Despite being told there would be very little light pollution, some people are being kept awake at night by annoying flashing red lights.  Where are the lights?  You guessed it, on top of the windmills!

#4 In order to make the concept of electricity a little more sexy, the industrial behemoths are not located on wind farms any more, they are called wind parks! 
#5 One of the first to sign up and get their very own wind turbine, now has their house for sale, for $800,00! In a 'wind park'!

#6 To capitalize on the sexy wind parks, there is a Kingston bus company giving turbine tours! Look there's one, and there's another... and another...!

#7 One of the local restaurants (which shall remain nameless, but it rhymes with Rowns Ray), advertised daily specials but when someone I know tried to make reservations were told it was for the windmill people only. Now that the mad construction rush is over, they want us back!

#8 In reading all the comments that are posted on my blog, I have one repeat customer who HATES ME!  I have two questions to this poster; what have you got against punctuation, and why do you keep coming back?!!


A close look at one of the 86 hands

This morning, a friend of mine called to tell me that there was a sculpture out on the 2nd Line Road, a spot where one can bask under the shadow of the turbines.  She told me that the installation piece was doomed to be destroyed, and if I wanted to see it, I should get there quickly. Not even knowing what I was looking for, I immediately went out, knowing that I would recognize it when I saw it.  And I did.
This is what I saw; perfectly executed hands, in all different positions, holding rocks, poised to throw.  Since there were 86 hands, I interpreted the piece to be a protest against the 86 windmills, possibly done by someone else who got very little sleep over the weekend.  A tired mind can be a great visionary.  
My friend sees it as people buried, and reaching up from the ground to throw stones at the turbines.  Perhaps they are the same people who are rolling over in their graves over what has been done to their island.  I am reminded of the story 'The Lottery' by Shirley Jackson where the townspeople drew lots to see which of the villagers would be stoned to death as a sacrifice to insure a bountiful harvest.
Wolfe Island is home to many talented artists, my friend included, but a guerilla installation of rock throwing hands is an avant-gard concept.  Since civil disobedience is so much more difficult than it was in the sixties, we must make our statements when, where and how we can, and in ways that are legal. 
It is a given that the installation will be destroyed, if it hasn't been already.  It's a shame, a lot of work went into the piece as did, I imagine, a lot of emotion.  I hope a lot of people get to see it, to take pictures, to talk about on the boat in the morning.  Perhaps they will think of some creative forms of protest, a positive way to transform this negative experience.

Sculpted hands poised to stone the turbine

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Don't be fooled by the pastoral setting

It's not yet midnight. The sky is clear, except for a few small clouds moving across the sky.  I am standing on my back deck and I am in awe of the ominous, deep rumblings of the closest windmill.  It is a kilometre away. This is the sound they told us did not exist.
Just like the ones I saw in Loweville, the turbines sound like a jet--too high to be seen, but close enough to hear.  The difference is, the jet passes over, and the silence of the night resumes. In the case of the turbines, the noise continues into the night, and then into the day.
When I went back into the house and went to bed, I could still here the noise coming through my open window.  What was it that made the noise particularly thunderous last night? There was a soft breeze , the air was clear, atmospheric conditions, who knows?  My hearing isn't always the best, so I know I'm I am not overly sensitive.  
Many years ago, I originally came to Wolfe Island to escape the sounds of the city.  On my first night sleeping here, I was amazed at the silence.  I relished the sounds of nature, frogs, crickets, and the intermittent howl of coyotes. After decades of listening to sirens, drunks, and screaming tires, the peacefulness of Wolfe Island was heavenly. 
Residents who opposed the placement of turbines on Wolfe Island were assured that there would be no noise, which to me made not sense,  everyone knows that when a stick, a whip, a skipping rope is lashed, there is a distinct whooshing sound.  Cap'n Mike laughed at our concerns, telling us that one could stand right under a turbine and not hear a sound.  Of course, standing under a windmill is like standing under a gigantic speaker--the noise radiates out, underneath is probably the quietest place to stand. We were even told that quite often, people like to picnic under them!  Yes indeed Mr. Jablonicky and we are all idiots!
I do not feel that I should change my way of living in order to block out the sound of the turbines.  I do not want to close my windows at night; I do not want to run something that makes white noise to mask the noise; I do not want to move.  What I want is an apology, an admission from the corporations that they did in fact lie.  I want to launch a class action suit against them. I want everyone who was so eager to put  a windmill on their property to go crazy from the noise and the guilt that were it not for their greed to get money from nothing, Wolfe Island would still be a peaceful oasis in a world of noise and confusion. 

For a video of what turbines really sound like, go to

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Last week, the last of the 86 wind turbines was erected on Wolfe Island. Some of them will be turned on by the end of this week. The mayor and the council continue to tell the local media that 'although there are detractors, most people are happy with the wind farm'. Well, not true. Now that they are no longer a concept on paper but right out there, people are beginning to question whether or not this was such a good idea. Shows how much people listen.

Last night in CBC news--Canada's Voice of the People--there was a segment that voiced the concerns about the health problems that are (not may) be causing health problems. Here is the transcript in its entirety:

Wind turbines causing health problems, some Ont. residents say

14/04/2009 5:09:06 PM

Noise and vibrations caused by wind turbines are causing sleep disruptions and other health problems among people who live nearby, some Ontario residents say.

CBC News

"I'm very concerned about the victims that we've got in Ontario because they're really suffering some pretty significant, adverse health effects," said Carmen Krogh, a retired Alberta pharmacist who is conducting a survey of people living near wind turbines.

Krogh, who now lives in Cormac, Ont., about 130 kilometres west of Ottawa, said she once fell ill while vacationing near a wind turbine complex in 2005. Initially, the turbines weren't moving, but once the wind picked up the blades started turning. Within 10 minutes she began to experience vibrations through her body, an intense headache, queasiness, dizziness and heart rhythm irregularities, she told CBC's The Current on Tuesday.

"It was like my heart was trying to beat to the time of the blades."

The symptoms subsided after she left the area.

Since then, Krogh said, she has heard many stories from other people who say they have fallen ill as a result of wind turbines. She is currently distributing questionnaires in areas with wind turbines, asking residents to describe whether they have experienced any effects from the turbines, and if so, what those might be.

"We need some kind of vigilance program so people can report their adverse effects," she said.

Krogh is not the only person to document illness caused by wind turbine noise.

Last year, Dr. Nina Pierpoint, a researcher at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, published a book called Wind Turbine Syndrome describing symptoms reported by people who live near wind turbines in the United States.

In March, Dr. Michael A. Nissenbaum, a radiologist at the Northern Maine Medical Center, presented to the Maine Medical Association the results of 15 interviews of people who lived near a wind farm in Mars Hill, Maine, which found that many began experiencing sleep disturbances, headaches, dizziness, weight changes, possible increases in blood pressure, and increased prescription medication use after the turbines were turned on.

No peer-reviewed evidence: wind industry

Sean Whittaker, vice-president of policy at the Canadian Wind Energy Association, said so far there is no evidence in peer-reviewed science journals that wind turbine noise does cause adverse health effects or bothers people as much as other sources of noise. A news release put out by his group last year lists seven publications, including articles from the Lancet, the World Health Organization, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and the health branch of the Ontario Municipality of Chatham-Kent that draw similar conclusions.

Whittaker acknowledged that wind turbines are a fairly new energy technology that barely existed in Canada 10 years ago.

"So it's natural that people are going to have questions, that they're going to have concerns."

Barbara Ashbee and Denis Lormand, a retired couple who live near a wind farm outside Shelburne, Ont., about 75 kilometres northwest of Toronto, initially didn't have concerns when wind turbines were erected near their home. The nearest is 450 metres away.

"I thought they were going to be good for the environment, for the province and Canada and the whole world, really," said Ashbee. "But I also thought they were quiet and passive."

In fact, the turbines often cause a loud whooshing noise that can be heard throughout their house, they said.

"It's disturbing, it's distressing, it's totally consumed us for four months," said Ashbee.

"You can't sleep properly, you can't do your work properly รข€¦ you even lose desire to do the normal, everyday things."

Constant, cyclical noise

The noise is constant and cyclical, she said.

"If there's a storm coming and in and the winds are really starting to pick up, these three behind us here sound literally like this house is in a washing machine."

Lormand said the noise also keeps him awake at night and causes a ringing in his ears.

At other times, a low vibration comes through the walls and through Ashbee's pillow when she's trying to sleep, forcing her to get up and turn the television on in an effort to drown it out.

Geoff Leventhall, an Ontario consultant who provides analysis and advice concerning noise, vibrations and acoustics, said low-frequency wind turbine noise is below the limit of human hearing.

"We are not hearing them and I don't believe they are having any effect on us," he said, adding that wind turbine noise in general is no different from any other kind of noise.

Whether the noise is different from other noises or not, it has disturbed Ashbee and Lormand to the point that the couple plan to move.

"We've really tried hard to fix things," Ashbee said. "I don't think it's fixable."

Krogh said she thinks there need to be more evidence-based studies on the health effects of wind turbine noise and in the meantime the Ministry of the Environment should impose stricter guidelines for how far the turbines must be from homes.

She added that she has raised her concerns with the wind energy industry but they deny there is a problem.

"And I would expect that," she said. "It's pretty hard to tell people that their product might make people sick."

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Well now, imagine that. Where was the media when our concerns were first expressed? What does this mean for communities that have been destroyed by the monoliths? Who is going to compensate for illnesses and devaluation of property?

Just because they are up , doesn't mean it's over. It's just the beginning.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Wolfe Island, looking like "War of the Worlds"

Well, hell no, I don't like them, but it appears that we are stuck with them.  And as of today with 68 of them erected, it's kind of hard to ignore them.  So no matter who you are, or where you look, you see these monoliths of industry.  

Think about it.  Suppose you were one of the majority of people who did not get windmills on your property, but you weren't averse to the idea of wind energy. And say your neighbor did. And say your neighbor didn't want them ruining his view of nature, so he puts them at the back of his property which abuts your property. Now, every time you go into the kitchen to do the dishes or mix yourself a drink which you seem to be doing a lot lately, you see his windmills practically in your back yard. What do you think of "greed energy" now?

Suppose you hated the concept of  a bunch of 45 storey structures dotting the landscape of one of the few remaining pristine islands in the country.  And one evening, when you come home from work, BOOM! there it is, less than a mile away but it looks like it's in your back yard.  Your neighbor's big fucking turbine. You cry, you want to puke, you want to move, you want to destroy whoever was responsible for this travesty. But you can't.  You just have to live with, look at it, and mourn. Every. SIngle. Day.

Not only are you subject to looking at these structures outside, but think of the reflecting surfaces inside your house.  Mirrors, pictures, French doors, everything reflects what is outside ad infinitum.  Once the machines are operable, (and this is where I pray that they all blow up when the switch is eventually pulled) the reflections of the revolving blades will dominate your peripheral vision inside, outside, while you are driving, while you are relaxing on your back deck.

The people who live in Kingston, who seemed to be quite gung ho about this project and accused us of NIMBY-ism when we protested are now having second thoughts.  Perhaps they didn't consider that the turbines would be so big, perhaps they believed they wouldn't have to look at them.  Now they look over and see this once beautiful vista dominated by machines. Now they think Wolfe Island looks like "War of the Worlds".  To tell the truth, that's not such a bad idea.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Can anyone ever believe big business? Don't bet the farm on it.  Wolfe Island was promised that March 31 would be the end of the construction of wind turbines. We were assured that our roads would be back to normal, the workers would be gone, and our lives would be back to normal. Well, sort of normal, except for the 86 gigantic turbines spinning through the air above our heads.

The latest news is that the current crop of windmills will not be completed until the end of June. The excuse, according to the official spokesperson, is that construction has been delayed because of the unusually bad winter!  Only this morning we were discussing on the boat how tame a winter we have been having compared to previous years.  The lake is smooth enough to skate to town--if you were crazy enough to try--we recalled winters where the frozen lake took on an otherworldly look.  I can only wonder how much Canadian Hydro pays their weather experts. I really hope it isn't too much. 

Of course the extension is good news for the people who are renting out properties to the construction workers; the restaurants who feed them; and the young women who are seeking love in the hordes of heavily accented, fair haired Danes. Which makes me wonder... will there be a surge of little windbabies?  Turbotots?

But there is a spanner added to the works.  During the month of March, the MTO dock in Kingston will undergo an upgrading, no doubt necessary because of the abuse rent by the heavy construction equipment. At the same time, the Wolfe Islander III will go to St. Catherine's for it's five year refit, leaving residents with the considerably smaller Frontenac II. What this means is longer line-ups, longer waits to get home after a hard day's work, more cutting in line and most of all, short fuses. It is a recipe for disaster, and I can only hope the ones most affected can go home and picnic under the shade of their wind turbine!

As of today, Sea Wreck is proudly announcing there are 45 turbines erected, but not yet running. This represents slightly over half of the intended number, 86. Needless to say, the skyline of Wolfe Island will never again be photographed as an example of unblemished nature.