Matt Metzgar’s video has gone viral.
Filmed April 28 and then uploaded, the video of the shadow flicker his parents live with at their RR 1, Dashwood home has been viewed over 44,000 times and has been shared 740 times.
Metzgar filmed and then shared the video to draw attention to the conditions in which his parents have had to endure from a nearby wind turbine. The turbine is placed 667 metres away from their home, but the shadows from the rotating blades reach their home on County Rd. 83 in Huron County.
“Most people admire a beautiful sunset, my parents not so much,” Metzgar says in the video.
The video has drawn comments from around the globe, but more importantly for Metzgar, it’s also drawn the attention of Northland Power, which owns and operates that wind turbine and others. Northland has promised to investigate, and has even offered to provide some blinds for the occupants “until a permanent solution” can be found.
The senior Metzgar have lived with the flicker problem – without complaint – since the turbine became operational in 2016. They didn’t want to be interviewed about the situation.
But their son believes the flicker needs to be corrected. Indeed, he said his parents can’t watch television without their viewing being interfered by the movement of the turbine blades.
“My parents have never been complainers,” Metzgar said. “And they don’t wish to be seen as such. They don’t have any hope that complaining will get them any results. I, however, have heard them mention the shadow flicker numerous times but never experienced it until last month. I was under the impression that the flicker is the same as what I’m experiencing at my home. That flicker lasts for about 45 minutes, and since we are not using the east part of my house in the morning for prolonged times, I just took notice of their complaints and never thought it was this extreme.”
Metzgar took his video to Northland Power’s office on April 28 and was assured that the problem would be investigated.
“After I went to Northland Power’s Grand Bend Wind Projects office and showed them the video, I had a call that same day and was asked that my parents record the dates and times the shadow flicker occurs,” Metzgar said. “I suggested they had the technology to determine that, given they have the GPS coordinates of the house and the turbines. They are supposed to get back to me. Just recently, I heard that the wind companies are allowed to subject people to this for 30 hours a year, But I have not confirmed that yet.”
Metzgar posted the video the same day he visited Northland’s office. The response was explosive. Within a week it had been shared 740 times.
“Viewers are disgusted and comments are supportive of my parents,” he said. “No one is laughing at their situation, people seem genuinely horrified.”
Asked if the turbine flicker presents a health risk or concern for his parents, Metzgar said that’s difficult to determine.
“As it stands, shadow flicker is annoying and annoyance is a serious health issue under the World Health Organization.”
Patti Kellar has been a vocal opponent of wind turbines since they were built near her Grand Bend-area home. Her family has had health issues since operations began, because of an inaudible noise, she said.
She, along with thousands of others, was moved by Metzgar's video.
"It’s profoundly touching as it shows real people suffering with shadow flicker from industrial wind turbines,” said Kellar. “Anyone with a heart could see their own family members in this situation."
She said it’s not unusual that the senior Metzgars have chosen not to complain.
“They have quietly and stoically suffered in silence as have many more people in rural Ontario,” said Kellar. “For every person that files a complaint, there are countless others who will not."
She said she believes some rural residents won’t lodge a formal complaint because they believe it will be futile, especially since the Ontario government has been adamant in its refusal to back down from Green Energy Plan.
Still, Kellar said problems of turbine flicker and other related concerns are being investigated.
“The investigation into the health effects of turbines conducted by the Huron County Health Unit, open to residents of Huron County, is currently in the hands of the ethics committee at the University of Waterloo and will be starting soon,” she said. “It will be closely watched by other health units in Ontario and I recommend people engage in this study. What some people fail to understand is that the health effects depend on individual sensitivities, length of exposure, wind speeds, geography and a host of other factors. Turbines are here, they do affect some people and that information needs to be captured.”
Northland Power has issued a response to the Metzgar situation and to an inquiry from the Lakeshore Advance. Sarah Charuk, director of communications, wrote: “Northland Power makes it a priority to directly address any concerns regarding our facilities. If/when we are made aware of a concern about ‘shadow flicker’, then we start by reaching out to the individual(s) with the concerns to request a meeting, so that we can learn first-hand about the issue. We also log any complaints that we receive with the Ministry of the Environment, so that they are aware. We then consult and work with a number of technical experts, including our turbine supplier, environmental consultants and others, to ensure we thoroughly evaluate and understand the frequency and severity. This often involves doing modeling and/or calculations on angles to determine specifically where the sun will set at different times of the year (seasonal variation) in relation to the alignment of the turbine and the affected residence. Once the issue has been assessed and we know what we are dealing with, we work with the concerned individuals to come up with a satisfactory resolution. We also offer to help with interim solutions, such as special blinds or curtains, to minimize any disruptions until the permanent solution is found.”
Those interested in viewing Matt Metzgar’s video can go to: https://www.facebook.com/matt.metzger.771/posts/10155276671868799