Council seeks answers on turbine impact
Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
Municipal councillors in Plympton-Wyoming want to know what wind turbines heading their way will do to property values.
Council passed a resolution recently asking the Ontario government for information about the impact wind energy projects are having on property value assessments.
“There have been all kinds of rumours out there and we’ve been trying to get the information from MPAC (Municipal Property Assessment Corporation) or municipal affairs about the severity of it,” said Plympton-Wyoming Mayor Lonny Napper.
“We’re just looking for some answers” and haven’t received any so far from MPAC, he said.
“Council put together a motion that we put a little heat on them.”
The municipality is expected to be home to several of the up to 62 wind turbines Suncor plans to build as part of its Cedar Point wind project.
Napper said residents have been telling council they’re worried about their property values. He added councillors are also concerned because those values determine property assessments, and that impacts the tax dollars available to maintain roads and other services.
“If we’re going to have our tax base eroded, we’ve got to make some other changes,” Napper said.
He added that if councillors don’t get answers from MPAC, they’ll take their request to cabinet.
“I’m sure with the number of windmills across Ontario there must be some statistics somewhere.”
A recent report by Ben Lansink of London-based Lansink Appraisals and Consulting says residential re-sale values in two townships near Orangeville dropped an average of 38.8% in the years after a wind farm there was announced and built.
“The erection of a wind turbine creates apprehension in the general public, which makes the property less desirable and thus diminishes the prices of neighbouring property,” Lansink says in his report.
But, the Canadian Wind Energy Association says it has concerns with the study and its conclusions.
“It is neither fair nor appropriate to draw from a single case study the general conclusion that wind energy is directly responsible for significant declines in property value,” said association vice-president Chris Forrest.
“The fact is the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation is not altering property assessments in Ontario as a result of wind energy projects.”
Earlier this year, the province’s Assessment Review Board rejected a Wolfe Island couple’s claim that wind turbines in sight of their home had lowered its value.
The Canadian Wind Energy Association also points to a 2010 study of properties in the Chatham-Kent region that found no evidence wind farms caused lower sale prices.
Esther Wrightman, a member of the Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group opposing wind projects in the region, said she can see the impact in communities where turbines have been built.
“Some of them become like ghost towns.”
Wrightman said she drove through Clear Creek on Lake Erie where turbines have been built “and it’s just for sale signs and abandoned homes.”
She believes owners of small residential properties near wind farms will be hit the hardest.
“If you have large acreage, it can still be farmed. But if you have a home on it, your home won’t be worth much.”
With files from QMI Agency