The Complete Picture

Prince “Turbine” County!

“By-Law protects rural tranquility”

Good Morning from “Bethel (The house of God!) Road.” 

If you live on or have visited the “artistic haven” of Prince Edward County I am sure that you value the kind of peace and tranquility that it offers, such as this misty rural scene and big sky, that I photographed near my Sophiasburgh home, Ontario, last week.


"Big Sky Power"

"A Big Sky on Bethel Road"


A page on the PEC municipality website 1 features a 2008 Queens University report. 2 This highlights the beautiful un-commercialized “County” scenery as an important part of the “Place Factor” the driving force behind the creative rural economy that has driven PEC to success over recent years, adding an estimated $65million (2006)in additional annual revenue to the local economy  (worth over $5000 per household!)

Alongside traditional agriculture, accolades such as Ontario’s Gastronomic Capital 2008 3 peace and tranquility certainly appear to be a key part of a very valuable rural economy, one worth protecting. Fortunately for PEC residents, a local by-law 900-2002 4  does just that. It protects homes from unusual annoying noises, flashing or twinkling lights and ground vibration.


excerpt from 900-2002

excerpt from 900-2002 - click to see full document.






The  “whoosh whoosh whoosh” sound from the many proposed industrial wind turbines is certainly an unusual, alien noise within any rural landscape or even a town. There are many accounts of people living long distances of up to 2 miles (3km) that are disturbed by the continuous, pulsating and annoying sounds.

Its not just a matter of volume, the sound just isn’t like traffic, farm noises or wildlife. Most of us with children tucked up in bed will know that you don’t need the volume of a movie to be that loud for certain types of noise to send shivers down your spine!

These accounts are documented in a growing number of reports from doctors, noise and other organizations that can be found online. A recent paper by an organization called NOISE‐CON 2008, 2008 July 28‐31  “Simple guidelines for siting wind turbines to prevent health risks”  5 explains the problems clearly and calls for much greater setbacks. Distances of 1-2 miles are quiet common depending on factors like terrain and climate.

Reported in the Daily Telegraphy, a July 2008 legal battle in the United Kingdom resulted in the Davis’s having their municipal taxes reduced to the lowest amount possible because the Courts rules that an Industrial Wind Turbine, the closest being just under 1000m way significantly reduce their ability to enjoy their house, and had negatively impacted the house value. In fact local real estate agents told the courts that the house was just about un-sellable! 6 And now other municipalities across the UK are facing losing millions of $ of revenue as a result of similar claims from if they agree to allow large turbines to be built near to homes.

The current energy company proposal, combined with Ontario noise planning guidelines would require setbacks of only 450m. In Prince Edward County this would mean intrusive noise issues reaching the homes, schools and hospitals in vibrant downtown Picton, as well as negatively effecting lives, businesses and property values across much of the regions landscape.

That’s a lot of people affected by annoying noises, flashing lights and ground vibrations who may seek legal action under the local by-law. But who will be liable and risk prosecution under section 5 of the law.  Would it be the farmer for having the industrial wind turbine on his or her land, the energy company for failing to demand locations that did not annoy people with noise, flicker, or lighting issues, or even the municipality itself for failing to protect it’s residents in accordance with its own by-law?

I spent my career scanning the horizons for the potential hazards and dangers in order to make good decisions that would protect my passengers and crew. Within any community, especially a small, thriving one that has so much too lose, surely it would be best to avoid the mistakes that would lead to damaging social divisions and animosity that could result from multiple legal battles.

Rather than waste more time and money on trying to resolve the many problems and issues regarding the large industrial wind turbines, surely our creative energies and local enterprise should be looking at the other alternatives.  Alternatives that demonstrate vision, create energy and wealth with business opportunities for local companies, and reduce our carbon foot print without spoiling the precious tranquility of an un-spoilt rural environment, the bedrock underlying the current and future success of Prince Edward County.


Steven Draper





August 20, 2008 - Posted by | by-law 900-2002, Issues, Noise, Photographs, Prince Edward County | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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