Nearly 30% of permanent or seasonal owners of St. Ferdinand, St. Sophia Halifax and Saint-Pierre-Baptiste living less than 2 km from the Maple Wind Farm claim to be highly or extremely bothered by noise wind turbines in a survey to take stock of the situation related to the perception of the soundscape.
The authors, Claude Charron and Michel Vachon of St. Ferdinand, were initially keen to stress the valuable collaboration of the Regional Directorate of Public Health (MSSS) for the development of the survey questions, the contribution of the Association home economics cooperative-Appalaches Beauce-Etchemin (ACEF-ABE) for receiving and scanning surveys and financial support from the Coalition for Sustainable Development Appalachian (RAD).
Of the 194 questionnaires sent with a return envelope, 116 questionnaires were completed and returned within the prescribed time, representing a response rate of 60%.
Only 42% of residents expressed they were satisfied with their living environment while 45% of respondents are dissatisfied. "By displaying such a low level of satisfaction with their living environment, residents of Maple Wind Farm are sending an alarm signal to all those who wish to implement industrial wind turbines in populated areas, especially to decision makers that are Municipal and provincial officials, "state the authors of the survey.
"When compared to other results in Quebec, Bromont, for example, 99% of people are satisfied with their living environment and recommend 96% live in Bromont. We are very far with this result, "added Mr. Vachon stating that this matter does not concern just the disturbing noise of wind turbines, but development that would include disturb the landscape and assessment of one's property.
The authors of the study have also expressed surprise that 40% of respondents claimed to have suffered from symptoms including migraines, headaches, dizziness, ringing and ringing in the ears, or a combination of these symptoms in the last 12 months.
For Mr. Vachon, there is no doubt that the ball is now in the Quebec government camp where it should impose a protective distance of 2 km between wind turbines and any residence, as is the case for nuclei villagers in most wind power projects in Quebec. "Wind turbines and houses, the do not mix. This is what we tell the people in our survey."
The authors of the survey also suggest other recommendations for the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment and the Fight against Climate Change (MDDELCC). They have asked that wind proponents be required to decrease production of certain wind turbines. The Department Health and Social Services is conducting a study of residents living near the Maple Wind Farm who have reported symptoms potentially related to the proximity of high power wind turbines. They also ask that the MDDELCC replace the 98-01 rating for measured noise with the measure for the characteristic sound of the wind, as it was formally agreed to do by 2008.
We note in conclusion that all survey results will be available on the site www.rdda.ca .
(Translation from French to English completed using Google Translate)