Monday, September 23, 2013

Ontario Anti-Wind Forces Claimed Turbines Caused Health Problems, Refused To Provide Medical Records

Stumbled across this is an article entitled "Wind turbine syndrome: farm hosts tell very different story":

In a 2012 Ontario legal case, complainants were asked to provide their medical records going back a decade before the local wind farm commenced operation. This would have provided relevant information about any pre-existing health problems. When they failed to so, their case failed.

I hadn't previously heard of this appeal (one of Eric Gillespie's cases), so I contacted author Simon Chapman and he was able to steer me towards some of the relevant documents.  In particular:

For instance, in an earlier REA appeal, Zephyr Farms, the Tribunal granted motions by the Director and the approval holder requiring the production of (i) the complete medical records of the appellant’s proposed witnesses who claimed serious health effects due to proximity to wind turbines and (ii) all real estate records of those witnesses who alleged that they were forced to sell or abandon their homes.38 The Tribunal denied the appellant’s request for a lengthy adjournment to gather the complete medical records for each witness, given the public interest in a fair and timely resolution of the appeal. The appellant knew of the time constraints on REA appeals when it filed its Notice of Appeal in November 2011 and it had provided no explanation to the Tribunal for its inability to obtain a single medical record for any of the witnesses it proposed to call.39 After the Tribunal’s ruling regarding medical evidence and required disclosures, the appellant in Zephyr Farms withdrew its appeal.

In other words, the appellants claimed turbines had made people sick but refused to offer proof.  What is really odd, though is that the Environmental Review Tribunal has been inconsistent in demanding "medical disclosure". You'd think that if you were trying to stop a development on the basis that it might harm people's health, you wold have to at least show evidence that other, similar developments had in fact harmed people's health.


Dan Wrightman said...

Perhaps it would provide clarity to note that the reason why victim witnesses couldn't provide their medical records was because the Tribunal gave an order on February 9th to make available all relevant records by February 16th, 2012. In 3 business days the Tribunal expected witnesses to gather all medical records for the previous 10 years including medical records from general practitioners, specialists, neurologists, psychiatrists, psychologist, all doctors notes, all medical referrals and opinions, all hospital records of visits treatments and surgeries.
Obviously even someone with unlimited resources would have difficulty gathering all the relevant records required on such short notice, especially when one considers that many OHIP medical records in Ontario only go back 7 years. To expect regular lay witnesses to provide this information in such short time was just unrealistic and the appeal had to be dropped.
However many of the same victim witnesses slated for the MLWAG appeal did gather their medical records for the previous 10 years and testified at the later ERT hearing for Ostrander Point held in May 2013.

bigcitylib said...

Thanks. Worth noting that health concerns were dismissed as an issue at the Ostrander Point hearings.

Paul Kuster said...

The ERT found the witnesses "credible" in their testimony. The B. Turtle was the ERT's way out. Interesting the MoE and OPSEU are also appealing this decision. MoE would likely have to have the blessing of K. Wynne to proceed. So who's representing the environment now?

Mayo said...

It would be grand if you'd try living close to an industrial wind turbine for at least several months, preferably through a change of seasons that includes winter. That's when there are no leaves on trees to help absorb the sounds.

You might tell a different story if you were to experience this first-hand - and not by just standing under a turbine and saying there's no sound, as several 'reporters' have. Sound travels outward.