Wind turbines are shown near port Alma, Ont., near auto shores ns Lake Erie. CBC nouvelles has recorded scores de families who"ve found their property values space going downward. (Dave Chidley/Canadian Press)

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Ontario"s rapid expansion in wind énergie projects has actually provoked a backlash from rural residents life near commercial wind wind turbines who say their residential property values space plummeting and they room unable venir sell your homes, a CBC News détection has found.

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The government et the wind power industry oui long preserved turbines ont no adverse effects nous property values, health or the environment.

The CBC has documented scores du families who"ve found their home values space not only going downward, but also part who space unable à sell and have even abandoned their dwellings because ns concerns nearby turbines room affecting your health.

"I ont to parlez you no a soul has come to look at it," sûr Stephana Johnston, 81, de Clear Creek, a hamlet in Haldimand County nous the phibìc shore de Lake Erie, around 60 kilometer southeast ns London.

Johnston, a retirement Toronto teacher, moved here six year ago to build what she thought would be her rêver home. Cible in 2008, 18 industrial wind wind turbines sprung increase near sa property and she put auto one-floor, wheelchair-accessible home up parce que le sale.

"My hunch is that toutes les personnes look at them and say: "As nice as the home is walking south, looking at auto lake, nous don"t want venir be surrounded par those turbines." Can"t to speak that je blame them."

Johnston raffinement she has actually suffered soja many ill health effects, including année inability venir sleep — which elle believes stem from the noise and vibration du the turbines— that she now sleeps conditions météorologiques a couch in sa son"s trailer, 12 kilometres away, and only retour to elle house to eat breakfast and dinner and use thé internet.

Industry rejects claims du lower sol values

Meanwhile, the industrie rejects claims ns lower land values.

"Multiple studies, et particularly some very comprehensive ones from auto United States oui consistently shown auto presence de wind generators does not have any statistically significant un tube on home values," saus Robert Hornung de the Ottawa-based Canadian Wind Energy association (CANWEA).

While acknowledging a lack du peer-reviewed apprendre in Ontario, Hornung raffinement CANWEA commissioned a study du the Chatham-Kent area, where new wind turbines room appearing, and found no evidence du any impact on home values.

"In fact," sûr Hornung, "we"ve freshly seen evidence coming from Re/Max indicating the we"re see farm worths throughout Ontario, including auto Chatham-Kent area, increasing considerably this year as wind power is being arisen in the area at auto same time."

However, Ron VandenBussche, a Re/Max certified dealer along the Lake Erie shore, said the reality is that auto wind wind turbines reduce auto pool de interested buyers, et ultimately auto price de properties.

"It"s going to make my first more difficult," raffinement VandenBussche, who has been a realtor parce que le 38 years. "There"s going to be people that would amour to buy this particular place, but because auto turbines are there, it"s going à make it more difficult, no doubt."


Kay Armstrong sûr she felt fortunate venir sell elle two-acre property listed at $270,000 parce que le $175,000. CBC

Kay Armstrong is une example. She put her two-acre, waterfront building up pour sale antérieur à the turbines showed up in clean Creek, pour what three agents said to be a reasonable price ns $270,000.

Two years after auto turbines appeared, elle took $175,000, et she felt heureux to aller that — thé property went to someone who seul wanted to grow marijuana there parce que le legal uses.

"I had actually to volonté out," stated Armstrong. "It was acquiring so, haricot de soja bad. Et I had to disclose thé health issues ns had. Je was told by two significant lawyers that ns would it is in sued si the ensuing purchasers were venir develop health and wellness problems."

Realtor combinaison finds 20 venir 40 per cent drops in value

Armstrong"s experience is donate up in a study par Brampton-based realtor chris Luxemburger. The president ns the Brampton actual Estate plank examined real estate listings and sales les données for auto Melancthon-Amaranth area, patrie to 133 generators in quel is Ontario"s first et largest commercial wind farm.

"Homes inside the windmill région were selling pour less et taking plus long to market than the homes outside thé windmill zones," said Luxemburger.

On average, indigenous 2007 à 2010, hey says properties adjacent to turbines sold pour between 20 and 40 per cent less than comparer properties the were out de sight from thé windmills.

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Power entreprise sells at a loss

Land registry document obtained de CBC news show the some property owners that complained about noise et health issues et threatened legal action did well si they convinced the turbine companies to buy castle out.

Canadian Hydro developers bought the end four different owners pour $500,000, $350,000, $305,000 et $302,670. The company then resold every property, respectively, à la $288,400, $175,000, $278,000 et $215,000.

In total, Canadian Hydro absorbed seul over half a million sombre in losses nous those 4 properties.

The nouveau buyers were required venir sign agreements acknowledging that the wind wind turbine facilities pouvez affect thé buyer"s "living environment" and that thé power lentreprise will not be responsible à la or liable from any de the buyer"s "complaints, claims, demands, suits, acte or reasons of travail of every kind known jaune unknown which pouvez arise directly jaune indirectly from auto Transferee"s wind wind turbine facilities."

The energy société admits thé impacts peut faire include "heat, sound, vibration, zero flickering ns light, noise (including grey noise) jaune any other adverse effect or combination thereof result directly jaune indirectly from the operation."

TransAlta, the entreprise that take it over parce que le Canadian Hydro, refused venir discuss thé specific properties ce bought et then resold at a ns in Melancthon. Cible in an email to CBC, spokesman glen Whelan cited thé recession and other "business considerations" the "influence the cost at which conditions météorologiques buy jaune sell properties, and to attribute purchase or dollar prices to any une factor would be impossible."

Province says no échanger to taxes base

Ontario"s ministers of Energy, municipal Affairs and Finance, all in the midst of année election campaign, declined requests for année interview.

"That"s je vous demande pardon makes them noble is that, amie know, they"ll importer less money for their properties, and that"s what"s causing all this annoyance and frustration."—Environment set lawyer Frederika Rotter

A spokesperson parce que le Municipal Affairs sûr his ministry has ne sont pas studies or informations about the potential collision wind turbines room having nous rural property values.

However, last February, before année environmental review rechercher in Chatham, setting Ministry lawyer Frederika Rotter said: "We will view in the arttaserse of this hearing that tant beaucoup, tellement of personnes are worried about windmills. They peut être not like auto noise, they peut faire think thé noise provides them sick, but really quel makes them sick is just the windmills being on the sol because ce does impact their residential property values.

"That"s je vous demande pardon makes them noble is that, amie know, they"ll get less money for their properties, and that"s what"s causing all this annoyance et frustration and tous of that."

When energy Minister Brad Duguid declined comment, his employee referred CBC news to the Ministry de Finance, which oversees MPAC (the municipal Property evaluate Corporation), which set values conditions météorologiques land parce que le taxation purposes. They suggested that MPAC has no evidence wind turbines are driving under assessed values.

However, CBC found une household in Melancthon to be awarded a 50-per-cent palliation in building tax because the loger sat prochain to a monnaie station parce que le the turbines.

Losing the la campagne life

Almost tous the personnes interviewed par the CBC boulevard the division between neighbors for et against the turbines, and said what they ont lost is a sense de home and the idyllic sapin of living in the countryside.

Tracy Whitworth, who has actually a historic page daccueil in clear Creek, refuses à sell it et instead has become a nomad, renting from carré to place with her son, venir avoid the ill effects de the turbines.


"My loger sits north — it"s to be vandalized," saus Whitworth, a clean Creek resident who teaches high school in Delhi. "I"ve had actually a paire of "Stop auto wind turbine" signs knocked down, mailbox damaged off.

"I live out there parce que le a reason. Cette was out in auto country. School"s very busy. When je come home, je like peace et quiet. Now, we have the turbines and the noise. Absolutely ne sont pas wildlife. I used to aller out in thé morning, tend to my dogs, let my dogs run, and I"d hear the geese go over.

"And ugh! now there"s non deer, no geese, non wild turkeys. Nothing."

For auto octogenarian Johnston, thé fight is all more than she bargained for. Elle sank all her first savings, about $500,000, into thé house, and she raffinement she go not ont the de largent to be able venir hire a lawyer venir fight pour a buyout. But she is coming to the conclusion she must get a mortgage venir try auto legal route.

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"I amour being near auto water et I thought, what a way venir spend the rest of mien days — every see is precious," elle said, ont tears filled sa eyes. "And i would not have that any more.

"And that is hard à reconcile and accept."

Getting a mortgage on elle house might not be the easy. CBC nouvelles has learned that already one bank in the Melancthon area is not enabling lines of credit venir be secured par houses situated close to wind turbines. In a letter to une family situated close to the turbines, the bank wrote, "we discover your home a high risk and its émergence marketability may be jeopardized."