Too close for comfort

Kayla Fraser
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Wind turbines provide energy, but also frustration for Millsville homeowners

Residents of Millsville believe that wind turbines are good for renewable energy, but fear they are being placed too close to homes.

Ward and Mae Brubacher were busy this week boiling sap. They say the live in a rural area for peace and comfort, but are concerned that wind turbines have been placed too close to their home.  

Ward and Mae Brubacher live about 750 metres from the current two turbines on Tower Road and a third is going to be put there as well.

The two current turbines are experimental and produce 0.8 megawatts, said Ward.

The third one will be a 1.5 megawatt, similar to the Dalhousie Mountain turbines.

“We’ve been living with these two 0.8 turbines, one for eight years, and we were led to believe that there would be not more turbines going up in here. After we lived next to the first one for a year, it was long enough to know that it was difficult with the noise and the lights and the size to disrupt the peace and quiet of our natural setting here that we live in,” said Ward.

In 2007, the Brubachers and their neighbours urged council to put a bylaw in place that would give a set back distance from an industrial turbine to the closest dwelling be at least a kilometre. Other counties have increased their set back to that distance, but Pictou County has yet to do so.

“We’re doing this for ourselves to ensure that no other turbines go up on this hill,” Ward said. “But, as much or more, we’re doing it for all of the citizens of the county.”

He said most people are living in the country because they want the natural beauty and peace around them.

Ward and Mae are supporters for green and renewable energy by the way they live and their use solar panels.

“This is a good thing, but it needs to be done properly,” Ward says.

After their presentation at council, the councillors agreed the inquiry had to be looked into further. They are now waiting for the next meeting, hopefully sometime this month, said Ward.

He said the more people who live near the turbines, the more they will realize the effects the turbines may or may not pose.

“When you live beside or near them, daily and nightly, you realize that they may be quite incredible but they definitely need to be moved back.”

Mae said a balance is needed for the residents to still live near them and not be affected.

Both Ward and Mae said the turbines near their home have irritated them. Fortunately, their work takes them away from their home for days at a time.

“When we’re away, I noticeably feel much more relaxed,” said Ward.

The main things about the turbines that concern them are the noises and the lights that flash at the top. Ward said the lights are a necessity to warn aircrafts in poor visibility.

He said there is room for the wind industry to work, but it is costly when farther away from homes.

“It’s going to be more costly to install these turbines, because there’s going to be a necessity for more road building, there’s going to be a necessity for extending the grid to reach these areas, and this is the main concern right now… The fact is that, if they’re going to work in harmony with the citizens in this county and this province, then its just inevitable that they are going to have to do it properly.”

Ward and Mae also agree that wind turbines can decrease property value.

He said if he and Mae were to consider moving after the third turbine comes, to sell at a market price, they would have to lie or not say anything about the turbines.

“Mae and I are honest people; we wouldn’t be able to do that.”

Ward said if anyone wants to help support him and Mae, he encourages anyone to call them at 754-0996 or email at

“It would be far better for people to support us now and understand what we’re going through, to understand that it could happen to them.”

Geographic location: Millsville, Tower Road, Dalhousie Mountain Pictou County

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Recent comments

  • therepo
    April 11, 2014 - 09:58

    For all the anti NIMBY crowd, green energy is great but the people whose property values drop 30% are shouldering this. Is it a coincidence that windmills are rarely, if ever, built by major shareholders properties?

    • vikki
      April 14, 2014 - 12:10

      @therepo it is funny you would mention that for this particular comment because the major shareholder's parents live twice as close to these turbines than the brubakers!! Ward failed to mention that the new turbine that is going up is well over 1000m from his house, which is what he says he is asking the council for. It would be nice to see the news make a responsible article about wind energy that actually tells the truth and interviews residents who live near windmills and are the majority - who have absolutely no problems with them.