Sunday, March 13, 2016

Wind Turbines...Blowing Hot and Cold

Recently I wrote an article...Not in My Back Yard...the focus being on Wind Turbines...the pros and cons. Strange that most people don't object to conveniences for others, yet deem them inconvenient if centered too closely to their own property...whether municipal or rural.

In mid-October I visited a long time friend who runs Eagle Adventures in Beaver Valley. The autumn colours were magnificent! En route through the Georgian Bay area, the countryside became alive with wind turbines...blades turning slowly in the breeze ~ wonderful technology! The first view excited me to turn onto a rural side road to photo it. Then in the distance were dozens more. If I owned country, I'd have a couple or more of them...although I might create unfriendly neighbours!

At Richard's retreat on several wooded acres in Beaver Valley, was a colourful Spring magazine issue of Mountain Life  (referring to Collingwood's 'Blue Mountain'). In it was an article written by Paul Wilson:

Looking for Answers to the Wind Farm Conundrum
Call me a fool, but I've always wondered, “What's not to like about 'wind power'? The fuel is free and renewable...there are virtually no emissions...the technology is elegant and relatively simple (just what the doctor ordered for a beleaguered planet). I also happen to like...the look of modern windmills...and still feel a small thrill when I drive out of Shelburne (in the Georgian Bay Area) on my way home and see them on the horizon...responding to the speed of the breeze. (I know, I know, I know...they're not in my backyard, but bear with me.)

There's also the 'romance' of it. Before 'steam' and the 'internal combustion engine' it was merely wind, augmented by horse and muscle power, that drove the world's most advanced economies ~ propelled their ships ~ ground their grain ~ and powered their looms. In that sense, the recent dramatic increase in 'wind turbine farms' here in Ontario marks the return of a technology that has a long and honourable pedigree. Arguments like this may be soft-headed and hardly likely to change the mind of a die-hard 'wind-power-opponent' but I'm just saying, until I started digging into the issue, that was about where I stand. Not exactly on solid ground, you could say ~ and you'd be right.

We don't need to get rid of 'wind power' ~
we just need to be smarter about how we deploy it.
To me, the answer is quite straight forward ~
its Location and its Discussion.
Ontario is a big place with plenty of empty spaces...with plenty of technical and economic know-how...with smart people and smart ideas...and all that's missing right now is ~ the 'good will'!

Wind Turbines Have Little Impact on Property Values
(by Colin Perkel ~ The Canadian Press)

Toronto: Wind turbines generally have little effect on the value of nearby properties with possible isolated exceptions, a recent study of thousands of home and farm sales has found. The surprising findings, published in the “Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics” come amid an already fiery debate over wind farm impacts and appear to contradict widely held views among turbine critics.

The study focused on Ontario's Melancthon township ~ home to one of the country's oldest and largest wind farms and surrounding areas. “The lack of significant effects of the Melancthon wind farm is somewhat surprising, given the public outcry regarding the construction of these turbines,” the authors said. “These results do not corroborate the concerns raised by the residents regarding potential negative
impacts of turbines on property values.” The University of Guelph researchers analyzed more than 7,000 home and farm sales that occurred between 2002 and 2010 in Melancthon Township, which saw 133 turbines put up between 2005 and 2008, and 10 surrounding townships. “These turbines have not impacted the value of surrounding properties,” co-authors Richard Vyn and Ryan McCullough conclude. Further, the nature of the results, which indicate a lack of significant effects, is similar across both rural residential properties and farm properties.”
(Vyn found the results somewhat surprising
given the frequent and public criticism of turbines.)

Dave Launchbury (sales representative) who has been selling real estate for seven years in Melancthon, about 139 kilometres north of Hamilton, said there appears to be a growing stigma attached to properties near turbines. Many potential buyers won't look at them, he said. He estimated properties close to turbines sell for at least 10 per cent less.

* * * * * * *

Not mentioned in this article and comments from Dave Launchbury is the fact that property owners are paid a substantial sum monthly for the low use of the actual land involved in the erection of these turbines. The photo attached to this article in the recent newspaper, shows a bleak flat landscape with a few wind turbines which actually add some dimension and purpose to the extensive farm view.

Personally, as a Real Estate Sales Representative for many years, I've met a few challenges. The first residential listing I had was from a young couple with a son and daughter. Their semi-detached home on Enfield Road had 3 bedrooms, 2 full baths and finished basement. It sided along a slow winding creek with a weeping willow that branched over the stream...very scenic and picnic-like setting. Their home had been 'on the market for sale' with another real estate firm for several months...with no offer to purchase from a buyer. What was the drawback??? The lot, although about 210 feet deep, backed on railway tracks with several trains a day rumbling through their neighbourhood...and shunting of freight cars.

Sharon and her husband, Rich asked what I was going to do to sell their property. To me the answer was simple: “Find buyers who loved trains or buyers who were deaf.” That sold it for them! My ads, “For Train Lovers” resulted in a few showings within the month...and BINGO...their home SOLD! Of course, I 'doubled-ended' this deal by selling Sharon and Rich a fully detached home.

Dave Launchbury must know that real estate property is not always “an easy sell.”
He must appeal to buyers, who (like Paul Wilson and me )
enjoy the “Wind-Turbine Landscape” and would
appreciate the monthly 'lease of the land'
going into my piggy bank!

Merle Baird-Kerr...written December 9, 2014
Comments are to:


  1. MEG COMMENTS: "I am afraid with all I have read about them, I have to agree with the fellow in your blog. It is a matter of thinking & planning better. Wind is still the best way to go! I read an article on 'wind power' written by an oil company and it was extreme! We need to think for the betterment of our country and not what some opposition say!"

  2. Your comment is great and your thoughts are very forward-thinking into the future! Thanks for your foresight, Meg. I remember when Burlington did not want McDonald's...and I recall when the citizens here didn't want the 400 series highway running though out city! The future calls for change!