"Like standing, walking, sleeping on a perpetually moving surface." (Ontario, Canada)

Oct 21, 2009

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Kay Armstrong lives on the north shore of Lake Erie, with a sprinkling of 1.65 MW Vestas turbines nearby.  She’s a 54-year-old, formerly very fit woman, as you will see when you read the following.  

She’s “fit” no more.  I have presented her emails in a kind of stream of consciousness manner.  Begin at the top and read on—Editor.

Mary Michael Shelley
“Me sailing on Cayuga Lake,” Mary Michael Shelley (with appreciation)

Three times I have driven 20 km to the north of the wind farm [surrounding my home] and felt the vibrations through the couch I slept on those nights. These vibrations are not continuous, but they are strong enough at times through the night to wake me up when I sleep there.  I can tell the vibrations are from the turbines because of their cyclic rhythm. The same rhythm, the same rumbling through my pillow that I experience here at home, like thunder coming through the ground. Who would know this rhythm better than a person who lives adjacent to a wind farm?

Armstrong house 
Kay Armstrong home

When I first realized that the turbines were affecting my health, I discussed the sleepless nights, waking up early, with the resident at the above home.  She responded that she too woke up at 3 or 4 in the morning, so I passed it off as a natural aging process. Now I know better. Now I wonder if she too is not being woken up by them. She also suffers from sore joints, another symptom associated with low frequency & infrasound.

I have talked to residents here in Clear Creek who say “the turbines don’t bother me.”  While I’m talking to them, in their kitchen, I can feel their floor vibrate with that same rhythm, but they can’t sense this. I see their displays of rage, anxiety, dementia, dizziness, hearing loss—all symptoms of Wind Turbine Syndrome. They do not associate any of this with the turbines, but I do.  They are in fact close friends of hosts of turbines, and the effects get passed off as a natural aging process, whatever.

Even our local doctor is not supportive of us. He is all too ready to treat the symptoms and not address the cause.

My mother while visiting my place noted that her eyes were bothering her after about a 1/2 hour, an indication of oscillating eyeballs, but she couldn’t hear anything.  I’ve even told Stephana [Johnston] herself that her floor is vibrating, but she doesn’t sense that. She only senses the dizziness and other symptoms associated with Wind Turbine Syndrome.  [Note from Stephana Johnston:  “The reason Kay can feel the LFN when she is in my home, and I cannot, is that the peripheral neuropathy as a side effect of my mostly well controlled diabetes has left me with lack of sensation in my feet.”]

This is the insidious part about industrial wind turbines. Most people cannot hear the low frequency sound or feel the vibrations caused by it. That doesn’t mean it’s not there. Low frequency & infrasound are not attenuated (weakened) by trees, walls, windows or anything solid. That means the nine I currently see from my back window, not to mention the others surrounding me that I can’t see, are sending these pulsing noises right through my body which I can feel all the time, at times with an unbearable intensity. 

Armstrong house
Kay Armstrong home

I know the degenerative health I have experienced. I haven’t worked since the end of June and I should feel completely restored. Instead I feel worse, weaker than ever. It’s all I can do to walk my dog around my 2.4 acres. My hearing is going downhill. When I look in the mirror I see one eye drooping slightly. The symptoms get scarier & scarier. 

I see no frogs in my pond this year.  I see killdeer eggs that never hatched.  I hear killdeer flying around in the middle of a night when vibrations were very intense, for 4 hours because they have no place to land. 

Twenty kilometers.  You tell me how close is too close!  And keep in mind that sound moves 1000 times faster through water.

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Having said that, I am a 54 year old female. I am reasonably fit. I am presently laid off but, when I’m working, I work as a greenhouse grower. This entails managing a 7 acre greenhouse including the 80,000 hanging baskets overhead, keeping them alive, fed & watered, free of pests, and monitoring the labour involved to get things done. It’s an intensive job, both mentally & physically. I either walk at a fast pace or hop on a bike & pedal as fast as I can to get from end to end. On weekends I am responsible for the entire 50 acre facility. I tell you this so you can appreciate my physical & mental capabilities.

I live in Clear Creek, Ontario, on the north shore of Lake Erie. If there is no corn growing in the field across the road, I can see you guys [in America] across the lake.

View out to Lake Erie
View to Lake Erie in the distance 

Here in Clear Creek, there are 6 wind turbines per each of the Frogmore, Cultus and Clear Creek wind farms. They are really only one wind farm comprised of 18 Vestas 1.65 MW turbines, this done by Aim Powergen to work around the rules & regulations so they could get them all in. This wind farm is really just an extension of the Erie Shores wind farm, also commissioned by Aim, but now sold to I can’t remember who.

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The turbines in my area (the closest ones 460m away) were not moving last night, but still there was a powerful & constant low humming or buzzing sound when I went to bed last night at 11:30. It seemed to be coming right through the walls, through the frame of my bed, through my pillow, then into my head, my body. It was very distressing & led to a panicky feeling, and I could feel my pulse rate picking up. Appliances when running seemed to amplify the noise. I called in to the Ministry of the Environment [hotline]. The turbine directly behind me was moving slowly this morning and I couldn’t really pick up on the buzzing sound anymore.

Kay Armstrong property
Kay Armstrong property

What’s happening when the turbines are turned off? Is this sound coming from the generators inside the turbines? Is this the buzzing sound of electricity? Is this sound always there but masked & interrupted by the aerodynamic noise made by blade movement? I certainly felt the vibrating sensation that one can associate with low-frequency noise.

Could it be another source of low-frequency sound that is not as detectable when the turbines are in action? Shouldn’t this noise also be monitored on a dBC level; when the turbines are not in motion & doing whatever they do when they’re turned off and generating this particular noise?  By the way, the same noise was noticed by myself & a neighbour early Sunday morning, probably why I woke up at 3-4 AM that day. Too dark to see if the turbines were actually turning.

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The effects of noise from wind turbines are insidious & cumulative. I should feel completely restored after being home and not working for the past 2 months. Instead I feel exhausted, with feet & leg muscles that are always sore, as if they’ve been overworked. It’s an effort to stand straight anymore because I’m continually trying to maintain balance, clinging with my toes, hanging on with my feet & legs. It’s like standing, walking, sleeping on a perpetually moving surface.

Its only right to disclose the fact to a prospective buyer that the turbines are affecting my health. But will my property sell if I disclose this? Not likely.  If I don’t disclose this, I go away feeling guilty & morally corrupt, feelings the government & wind industry should be shouldering.  If I don’t disclose this maybe I could be sued for withholding such information. I dont’t know. I can’t afford a lawyer.  Financial circumstances dictate that I can only hold on for a little longer.  Health circumstances dictate that I need to move ASAP.

How do I escape this dilemma? The only possible answer is for the government & the wind industry to be held responsible for their actions, to practice due diligence, to be held accountable and forced by law to compensate anyone who has been negatively affected by industrial wind turbines, existing and proposed.

My sanity won’t last if I have to call the Spills Action Centre on a nightly basis, then email each & every ministry, parliament member involved, each & every executive of each & every wind company, anybody who cares—just to “document” the evidence and justify compensation for myself & others. This just isn’t right. Why should I have to take such efforts to prove how debilitating the effects of industrial wind turbines are, results that are so blatantly obvious? Criteria that should have been ascertained by the government before construction of industrial wind turbines even started, not after the fact. Why should I be their guinea pig?

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Dear Doug, you are correct. We need to search for a balance in life. I will not, however, accept the fact that I and other victims of industrial wind farms be considered “collateral damage” as a part of this balance.

I can tell you don’t really believe what I am suffering is being caused by the wind farm; but I can tell you that while the symptoms I suffer do happen as part of the natural aging process, as part of living with life’s daily stress, they are being greatly accelerated and intensified by living in close proximity to this wind farm.

For one thing, it is not normal to hear a constant buzzing in the atmoshpere, through my pillow at night. It is not normal to be constantly dizzy. It is not normal to get blurry-eyed from oscillating eyeballs. It is not normal to drift off to sleep then wake up because of sharp snapping sounds and flashes of light inside your head, nor to wake up with a tightening in the chest, accelerated pulse rates or to the sound of your heart pounding in your ears. This pounding has been so loud at times that I went to shout at my neighbour across the road to turn down her radio, only to find that it was my own body making the racket.

It isn’t normal to go to sleep wondering if it will be your final one, wondering if the above are indicators of an oncoming stroke. The small amount of sleep I do get has little benefit. It is not normal to feel so weak, such a lack of energy or initiative. It is not normal to have constantly sore muscles in the legs & feet when I haven’t even been doing anything physically strenuous. Considering the fact that I have not had to report to work since the end of June this year, that I can and do sleep whenever I feel the need; I should be fully rested and restored.

I should have been able to enjoy the fine weather we’ve had this past summer [2009]. I too enjoy the outdoor life—gardening, hiking. I enjoy playing guitar, needlework of many types, reading. I am currently unable to enjoy any of this. I can barely make it around my 2.4 acres to walk my dog. I can’t concentrate enough to finish a single page of a good book because of the disruption of cognitive abilities.

Armstrong property
Armstrong property

It is not normal to have one’s hearing degenerate at such a fast pace. It isn’t normal to go into a grocery store and be bothered by the sound of coolers & freezers running; to feel dizzy from this noise as if I have yet to gain my land legs after a long boat ride. It is not normal to have my ears hurt when my dog barks. I can hear a car coming, but I can’t tell which direction it’s coming from anymore. Will I regain my hearing if I’m ever fortunate enough to move away?

Nor will I accept the fact that our environment be considered as collateral damage. The wind farm I live adjacent to started up in July of 2008, giving time for the frogs’ eggs of spring that year to hatch & develop. Lots of frogs in the summer of 2008. Now the summer of 2009—no frogs—none. Killdeers’ eggs that did not hatch this year. Because the vibrations from the industrial wind turbines are making them non-viable.


See Your Guide to Wind Turbine Syndrome.com

Does this not scare you? Especially in light of the fact that over 1000 have been proposed for Lake Erie alone, this just on the Canadian side? It is not normal to feel my house, my bed, me vibrating. Nor is it normal to feel these vibrations 20 km away on a night when I escaped very intense vibrations.

I fear that well-intentioned people like you & your wife will never know the devasting effects of the low-frequency and infrasound generated from these industrial wind farms until it is too late, when there are 1000’s across our province and in our lakes. I do not understand how we can even fathom continued construction, when there is even the tiniest bit of doubt as to the effects on the environment, including humans.

I fully appreciate your concern for the environment, but I am very alarmed when people like you, teachers who are listened to with trust & respect, advocate existing industrial wind farms, and further construction of them without fully investigating the full environmental impact; without listening to, without believing the people who are experiencing first hand their full effects in their immediate surroundings.

I don’t know what it will take to convince you, but, believe me, I don’t sleep in my truck, I don’t drive away from my bed in the middle of the night, just for the fun of it.

Kay Armstrong
Clear Creek—Turbine Town
Ontario, N0E 1C0

September 2009
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  1. Comment by Rural Grubby on 10/25/2009 at 11:01 am

    Your letters are heart wrenching, Kay, and I am absolutely fed up with the greenies/windies response, “We have to move forward because the sky is falling, and all we have to do is isolate the few problems and pass them off as completely solvable issues.” The continual lip service towards people and their health as important, yet heaven forbid if the answer is to shut the damn things down. It’s almost like they want to continue operating the turbines until they can wear you down, which will more than likely make you leave on your own. Pretty tidy solution for AIM and the MOE. No need for any kind of compensation to you or your neighbours.

    It appears as if the only recourse anymore is a lawsuit.

    Absolutely infuriating and heartless. Can someone tell me why your neighbours are not screaming at the top of their lungs and taking action like yourself to at least make attempts to resolve these problems? Have we become that apathetic as Canadians, that we must roll over and play dead when it comes to our rights and the Big Green machine?

    These are your personal rights, Canada, as well as your hard earned money. Do you simply want to move away and ignore what this all represents—your inalienable democratic right to live in a safe and healthy environment?

    Take Kay’s example. Call the MOE. Call the Spills Action Number. Call your MP. Call your MPP and call your municipal government.

The comments are closed.