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Emu farmers worry about windmills

The noise and vibration from heavy equipment has been known to frighten emus to death, Debi VanTassel said in a recent interview. She wonders what living near a wind turbine will be like. Ms. VanTassel has another worry, though. Her husband is an epileptic who may have grand mal seizures. They can't have wallpaper in their home because the patterns could seem to come alive and bother Mr. VanTassel.

Noise not good for birds, but couple also concerned about turbines' effect on health

GULLIVERS COVE - Emus don't like noise, Davey VanTassel says.

He and his wife Debi own Ocean Breeze Emu Farm on the Gullivers Cove Road on Digby Neck, and they're worried that at least one of 20 proposed wind turbines to be erected this year may be as close as 850 metres to their farm.

The noise and vibration from heavy equipment has been known to frighten emus to death, Debi VanTassel said in a recent interview. She wonders what living near a wind turbine will be like.

Ms. VanTassel has another worry, though. Her husband is an epileptic who may have grand mal seizures.

They can't have wallpaper in their home because the patterns could seem to come alive and bother Mr. VanTassel. And the couple won't go to a dance where a strobe light may be used.

So the vibration and strobe effect caused by the blades of a large wind turbine spinning in front of the sun are definite worries.

"I will not put Davey's life on the line for a windmill," Ms. VanTassel told a representative of the wind farm company during a public meeting March 24 in the Digby municipal council chambers.

"The light flickering through a turbine is... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Noise not good for birds, but couple also concerned about turbines' effect on health

GULLIVERS COVE - Emus don't like noise, Davey VanTassel says.

He and his wife Debi own Ocean Breeze Emu Farm on the Gullivers Cove Road on Digby Neck, and they're worried that at least one of 20 proposed wind turbines to be erected this year may be as close as 850 metres to their farm.

The noise and vibration from heavy equipment has been known to frighten emus to death, Debi VanTassel said in a recent interview. She wonders what living near a wind turbine will be like.

Ms. VanTassel has another worry, though. Her husband is an epileptic who may have grand mal seizures.

They can't have wallpaper in their home because the patterns could seem to come alive and bother Mr. VanTassel. And the couple won't go to a dance where a strobe light may be used.

So the vibration and strobe effect caused by the blades of a large wind turbine spinning in front of the sun are definite worries.

"I will not put Davey's life on the line for a windmill," Ms. VanTassel told a representative of the wind farm company during a public meeting March 24 in the Digby municipal council chambers.

"The light flickering through a turbine is adjustable," said David Patterson, a project developer with SkyPower Corp. of Ontario

Scotian Windfields Inc. plans to operate the Digby Wind Park in partnership with SkyPower.

The partners revealed during an announcement last May that they'd like to erect 20 turbines with a total of 30 megawatts of output.

Nova Scotia Power has given them a 20-year contract and they'd like to be up and running by this fall.

Digby municipal council organized the March 24 meeting when more than 30 Digby Neck residents asked for it.

Ms. VanTassel said her husband needs lots of rest to ward off seizures. She and others wondered how loud the wind turbines will be. Some said they'll be living as close as 600 metres to a turbine, according to preliminary planning maps.

Of the 32 residents who asked for the meeting, 25 said they'll have a turbine closer than a kilometre to their homes.

"They're not addressing the health issue," said Judy VanTassel, Davey's mother.

She said from what she's read, 2.4 kilometres would seem to be a safer setback.

"Put the windmills back away from homes," she said.

"I would like to see these moved to a place where they will not hurt people," said her daughter-in-law, Debi. "Our concern is just please move them back far enough that it's not going to affect our health or our way of life."

On Digby Neck, sounds bounce and echo throughout the little gully where the Ocean Breeze Emu Farm is located. The sounds come from the Bay of Fundy's rocky outcrops and the steep hillsides.

The VanTassels lost five emus this winter - five adult birds were found dead in their pens. That's unheard of, Ms. VanTassel said.

They think a test windmill on a nearby ridge is driving coyotes down from the top.

"We've had them in our yard," she said. "They've just become a pest."

Her husband agreed.

"We've never had problems with coyotes like we've had this winter," Mr. VanTassel said.

The emus were kept inside all winter and were just let out in pens in March.

"We sell emu oil, emu eggs," Ms. VanTassel said. "We sell the meat."

Now the couple are worried about more of the big birds dying.

Digby municipal council recently unveiled a proposed wind turbine bylaw. Smaller domestic turbines for personal use must be kept a minimum distance from the nearest home - a distance equal to 1.5 times the height of the turbine - and not on the same property.

But the bylaw does not list any setback distances for large commercial turbines.

"There are no specific setbacks because the process for utility-scale (turbines) is through a development agreement," Digby's chief administrative officer, Linda Fraser, said in a previous interview.

Councillors look at each development proposal on its own merit, she said.

Many residents would like to know more about the wind farm development and how things are progressing.

"They tell us nothing," Ms. VanTassel said.


Source: http://thechronicleherald.c...

APR 13 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/19801-emu-farmers-worry-about-windmills
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